No doubt most introverts abhor the idea of working a front-facing job, dealing with customers all day long. I know I do, and I am living it. In fact, I am a complete homebody, yet I love my job as a Customer Experience Supervisor.
What’s your secret, you may ask? It’s about finding the perfect role for you (or as close to perfect as your current situation will allow). And although this may seem like an impossible task, there is hope. Up until last year, I was working a retail job that I didn’t enjoy. There was only one place in town that I wanted to work at, and I applied there 3 times. Finally, I got the job and my suspicions were right! It matches my personality and lifestyle, and so the dealing-with-customers part of the job is not bad at all. For more of an insight into my personal experience with this, read my post “Did I Manifest My Dream Job?”
I’m writing this post because I know introverts are scared as hell to be in a customer service job, but don’t realise all the benefits to it. So, I’m going to let you in on what skills you’ll learn if you decide to take on a customer service role.
Confidence is a key character-building tool that people of all ages have to embrace. Because when you do, that’s when you truly find yourself.
Sometimes, introverts live in their own little world. They love doing things on their own, chilling at home, and having indoorsy hobbies. So once in a while, whether they want to or not, they will have to go out of their comfort zone in order to learn basic life skills – like confidence. It comes naturally for some people, but others may have to learn to master it as they go. Either way, working face to face with the public every day will help individuals relax in social interactions, which is a huge benefit to those of us who find crowds and groups of extroverts intimidating.
Another great way customer service work will help an introvert’s confidence is by helping to refine the way they come across, steer conversations and command a situation. Over time, you will notice yourself becoming less of a nervous wreck when conversing with people, and more of a person who just does it.
As long as you keep going, you’ll keep getting better. And as you get better, you gain more confidence. That alone is success.Tamara Taylor
Dealing with difficult situations
Improving the way we interact with people is something that must be done, whether we are an extrovert or an introvert. And whether we are intentionally doing it or not. Being able to deal with difficult situations is a benefit in the long run but is not fun to experience as it happens. It’s one of those things you can look back on and realise that it actually served a purpose.
During my time as a retail worker, I have been in many awkward situations. Including some intense ones with rude customers shouting at me. Introverts shouldn’t let that scare them from a customer service job though! Because the best thing that comes out of those scenarios is that we grow each time it happens.
My instant reaction to rude customers was (and still is sometimes) to let them know what an asshole they were being and to defend myself. But a) that’s not professional, and b) that’s not the adult way of dealing with those people. Now, I can calmly interact with someone who is throwing a hissy fit, or has a genuine complaint. Sometimes, the outcome is positive and you can work things out. The best case scenario is when both parties apologise and leave on good terms. However, occasionally, the person will leave unsatisfied and/or in a rage and I will still think they’re an asshole. Not to worry though, the most important thing is that I tried to resolve it. And I brushed up on a skill whilst doing so.
Life isn’t all sunshine and flowers, and learning to deal with difficult situations is a big plus. It might come in handy in your personal life, or be noticed on a CV. Because not everyone has the ability to defuse a situation. So if someone has worked in a customer service job then chances are they are great at this.
Helps us to socialise
As much as we love our homes, introverts do need to get out a little. Having a job that has a social aspect to it is perfect to fulfill that need of being around people but not too much. So this is another way a customer service role benefits introverts.
Having that time to interact with other humans is a positive thing because it’s time that would not be spent socialising otherwise. And when we don’t see people for a long period of time, we can become lonely. So to gain perspective on the world, talk about current affairs, and have a much needed laugh, being in a customer service job is a benefit to introverts.
Not only is socialising in general a positive thing to have in our lives, in small doses, but if you’re in customer service then it’s very likely you will meet people from different backgrounds. This is always good as it helps us connect with people who have walked different paths in life than us, that have come from different cultures and speak different languages. If an introvert is open enough, being social with customers at work can be interesting, and be a teachable moment.
Make new friends
I put “making new friends” separately to “socialising” because to introverts the two are very different things. Socialising is something we can push ourselves to do. But making friends is a lot harder.
But here’s the good news – when working in close proximities to other people, especially of similar age groups, you start finding things you have in common and naturally making a connection. This normally isn’t easy for introverts, so to have somewhere that kind-of forces you to do it is great. Coworkers quickly become friends when you click, because you’re around them all the time. And an introvert now has someone to call if they need a buddy to go for a coffee, or go watch a movie at the cinema with etc.
If you don’t make friends with your coworkers, it could be an uncomfortable or awkward environment. There are definitely more benefits from having a good relationship with the team!
Fine-tune listening skills
Another way customer service benefits introverts is through sharpening skills we might already have.
Introverts in general have pretty good listening skills anyway, aren’t we known for it? …But being able to get better at it, and to put it to use every day is a benefit for us and for the workplace. Guests love it when you listen to their story and take an interest, they are encouraged by someone who doesn’t chat over them and who can provide them information in a calm manner. So, getting a good rep with customers this way is a win.
Don’t forget, that as introverts, we have a lot to offer employers – especially in the customer service area. We already have skills such as listening, attention to detail, thinking before we speak and reserved manner, all of which can put guests at ease, and make their experience more enjoyable. So, introverts, don’t sell yourselves short.
Acquire knowledge in a new subject
Customer service is a broad term for work such as retail, hospitality, receptionist, call centre, representative etc. And it’s not restrictive by any means. There are so many different jobs that come under the term that you could end up working somewhere you never thought you would, or somewhere you never even knew existed. And that can be a benefit!
Look at me, an introvert who has been in retail for years, working in ordinary shops. Nowadays I am a supervisor at a Lavender Farm. As you can imagine, working in a store vs a lavender farm is very very different. After 10 months of working at the farm, I know A LOT about lavender – how to grow it, what it’s good for, identifying different types of it. This is something I never thought of as being knowledgeable in, but I’m glad I am. Working somewhere different such as the Lavender Farm has given me an insight into much more than just growing lavender; how to make handmade products, gardening, animal welfare, creating tea blends and baking herbal treats. This isn’t just your average job…
So by looking for work in customer service, you’re putting yourself out there and being open-minded about where you work which is amazing. It’s always important to be open, because that’s the way to invite new opportunities.
Of course, talking to people all day long is sometimes our worst nightmare. But unless you give it a go, how will you know if it’s not for you?
I would confess that I’m only in a customer service job because I’m not sure what else to do right here and now. But I’m still glad I gave retail a try as my first job all those years ago, because I wouldn’t have ended up working at a beautiful Lavender Farm if I hadn’t. It’s an experience in itself to put yourself out there. And as you can see, there are many benefits introverts can find working in customer service.
Are you an introvert who works in customer service? Do you agree with me here?
Until Next Time,