What I’ve Learned From Working in Customer Service

I have worked at my local sports center for the past five years and definitely have had my fair share of interesting customer interactions. To give you some background, I technically have a seasonal job. During the winter, the facility is an ice rink and over the summer, there is a pool and the ice from the rink is melted, converting the space into a recreation center. In the time I’ve worked there, I’ve held a few different positions, since I was able to change each season. I’ve worked as a pool attendant, rink guard (pretty much a lifeguard on ice), and a cashier. Through all of the good, the bad, and the ugly, here are some of the things I’ve learned. 

  1. 1. Don’t take everything so personally

    13 Going on 30 gif

    I know that sometimes I am very sensitive. When I first started working, I was certainly a people pleaser and wanted to accommodate everyone. Unfortunately, that can’t always happen and even when everything goes right, people can still find a problem. Over the years, I’ve definitely developed a thicker skin and have boosted my confidence. I know that I am competent at my job and am a good employee. When people get angry (because the customer isn’t always right), I’ve learned to stay calm and smile because I know I’m doing the right thing and, as an added bonus, it annoys the heck out of them. Instead of getting upset about the situation, I’ve learned to make fun of it because at the end of the day that angry customer interaction becomes a wild story that you can laugh at with your friends.

  2. 2. How to become a better communicator

    I have always struggled with public speaking and can be super shy when meeting new people. Since I do have a customer service position, I am required to interact with people all day. So, I’ve kind of gotten used to speaking with random people. In doing this, I’ve also learned how to better resolve problems, especially when things get busy and tensions run high. This is one skill that I am so grateful for and one that I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life. 

  3. 3. Have faith - there are some super nice people out there

    Monica and Rachel high-fiving

    I have had my fair share of “not the greatest” customers, but there have also been some real gems. Some people are very grateful for your help. For example, over the summer one of the pool patrons lost her phone. My coworker and I spent maybe 20 minutes looking for it and tracking it. The woman was freaking out (who wouldn’t be?). We looked all over the pool deck and found it right under her chair. At the end of the day she stopped by the cashier’s office and thanked us for all the help. For me, it was no big deal and a way to get out of the office, but this lady was really appreciative of our efforts and offered us a tip. We politely declined, but it was definitely a nice way to end the day.

  4. 4. We all make mistakes

    I've messed up a couple of times at work. We all do. Thankfully at my job, most mistakes can easily be fixed. In times of trouble I’ve learned that communication is key. If you make a mistake ask for help and don’t be too embarrassed. Literally, everyone messes up, I’ve even seen the most senior-level person make mistakes. 

  5. 5. Find the fun in a (sometimes) boring job

    The golden girls hugging eachother

    There are days when work is chaotic and you just want to go home and take a nap. However, there are also days when I’ve had so much fun, especially when it’s not too busy. I’ve made some amazing friends, have a work husband, and have laughed about some of the most ridiculous situations. Plus, I know that I won’t be working there forever, so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.