When I worked for a wholesale invitation designer straight out of college, my first job was “customer service”. I answered phones, took orders, did data entry and the like… and I HATED it. I was pretty eager to move up on the ladder (even an inch) just so I wouldn’t have to take those customer service calls! Paper stores would call in, irritated that they hadn’t received their order or looking to track it down, or mad that the wrong thing arrived… It was horrible! I hated having to be the bearer of bad news (“sorry, it looks like it’s not going to arrive today as planned”) and talking to a bunch of stressed out, unhappy people all day. It made me hate dealing with people. In general. I was annoyed and really unhappy working in “customer service” for those few years.
Now I get it. I see the difference. Customer service on the wholesale end is MUCH different than in retail.
Over the past 5 years on the OTHER SIDE as a store owner, I’ve changed. I’ve gone from hating that aspect of my job in general to actually loving most of it. (The funny/sad truth is that customers who say “I must be a pain” are actually not! It’s the ones who have no clue they are that are the worst! It’s a little like When Harry Met Sally and he says, “You’re the worst kind; you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance.” ) HA.
There’s still a little bit of “when is my order arriving” and “what I received isn’t what I ordered”, but now I get to call the wholesaler and be that grumpy person trying to track it down (kidding)!
The upside is I get to see the smiling face of customers when they pick up their order. I get t0 hear, “Oh, this is just perfect, thank you so much!”, and I get to be a part of the lives of these people. You know, the fun stuff!
It’s such an honor.
If it’s important, it’s worth doing on paper, so that means I get to be a part of the milestones – moving, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, anniversaries, birth announcements, christenings/baptisms, birthdays, proms, engagement parties… and then the circle starts all over again! It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of the most important moments in the lives of my customers. In fact, it’s a privilege. I never knew what that felt like until now, and it feels good!
I used to hate customer service, until I actually started serving CUSTOMERS (not just store representatives). When you’re directly involved with the end-user, there’s a certain level of pride that you take in your work. It’s a reward to help these loyal folks again and again, for any occasion that they’re celebrating.
I guess I used to hate customer service, but now I think I kind of like it.