PSA: Please be Nice to People Working in Customer Service

As a go-to job for students and recent graduates, customer service jobs tend to be extremely popular and designed for younger, less experienced members of the workforce. In a list of the top ten most common jobs in America, retail salespeople and cashiers take the first two spots, and waiters and customer service representatives also make the list.

Personally, in my first two “real jobs” that I’ve had, I have worked as a barista and a cashier/customer service representative. After reflecting upon my own experiences and talking with my friends who have had similar jobs, I’ve noticed that people working in these types of fields tend to repeatedly have the same types of bad days. Customer-oriented jobs can be remarkably fulfilling, but as a species, we as humans are unpredictable. In these customer service jobs, I’ve realized that how well your day goes usually depends upon how you’re treated by customers.

In our society, we have grown up with the notion that “the customer is always right.” Now, this methodology might be successful for increasing customer happiness, but is this phrase ever actually true? Given the popularity of these types of jobs, and the fact that some people might not have much of a choice in their exact job, I think we need a cultural shift to treating customer service employees with more respect. Although, on the whole, our culture could benefit from more respect and sympathy in all our interactions, here are some tips to help start this movement.

1. Realize that we’re all human and we all make mistakes

As an important reminder for all aspects of life, nobody’s perfect and we could all benefit from using more compassion every day.

2. Treat others how you’d like to be treated

Although it does sound cheesy, how often do we lash out or say something without thinking and forget to acknowledge how someone may feel? It can be hard at times, but trying to implement this idea in your everyday life can help improve your everyday interactions.

3. Don’t comment on someone’s appearance

Whether it’s a compliment or a critique of someone’s appearance, these comments can feel awkward if you don’t know the person you’re talking to. But, if you feel the need to make a comment, try to make it positive!

These three tips may seem simple, but it can sometimes be surprising just how much it seems like people need these reminders. Whether you’re ordering a coffee, finding new jeans, or even scrolling through recent news stories, try to remember to utilize more compassion and respect. If we all try our best to treat each other well, we will all be so much better off!

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