How to get a customer service job

Last week my friend Sara went on an interview at a very trendy boutique on Worth Avenue on the élite island of Palm Beach. She responded to an online ad looking for a “talented and devoted customer service representative capable of going beyond great service.”

If you have never been to Worth Avenue, imagine the South Florida version of Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive. Every conceivable luxurious  amenity is offered, merchandise beyond your wildest dreams and Halston, Chanel, Vuitton and Gucci beckoning for your credit cards.

“What does excellent customer service mean to you?”  This was posed to Sara the moment she walked in the door and introduced herself. Immediately Sara smiled, thought for a moment and answered that excellent customer service is the extra effort that keeps customers happy and keeps them coming back. She explained how she thought  it included the first impression someone gets  just walking in a store checking out the layout, the cleanliness, as well as the staff.

Sara went on to explain how listening to customers’ needs and asking questions without seeming intrusive is an art all to itself. She doesn’t feel that following a customer around a store is always in the best interest of the client and the store, but remains in earshot and is always ready to point the customer in the right direction; in other words the customer service representative is always paying attention.

Sara exhibited excellent knowledge of the clothing line in the store demonstrating her product knowledge. I would speculate Sara knows as much about designer labels as any fashionista.

As the interview continued, Sara was asked how she would respond to any complaints, and besides the stock answers of being polite and respectful, and listening to the customer, Sara added that if something was amiss with her  service to the client, she would apologize immediately.

There were a few questions about listening to complaints, dealing with them and Sara explained how she tries to see all sides of the problem, considers different solutions within the scope of company’s policies and comes up with the best solution to meet the customer’s needs. And the question about the one customer in Sara’s career that really tested her patience, well, that was Sara’s mother, and Sara explained that her own positive attitude, deep breaths, communicative skills and the ability to listen has brought her through the most stressful situations.

Sara started her new job this morning.

photo credit: Semaj Bryant

One Response to “How to get a customer service job”

  1. Cynthia Weber said:

    Feb 02, 10 at 8:32 am

    I agree and verify Cheryl’s article about how to wirte a complaint letter.
    It take a bit of polish but it is important to keep it simple and keep the writing and language to the point. It’s also important to have the correct spelling (spellchecker is right) If the spelling is wrong the whole letter might not be taken very seriously, and that would be a unfortunate.
    Only recently I wrote a letter to the Better Business Bureau, reporting a company who owed me a refund but would not give it to me. Wouldn’t you know it but before the week was out the company had written and mailed me that refund! Amazing what happens when the proper people are notified.

    Therefore it can work to ones advantage to write a complaint letter.
    I am the proof!