I had the hardest day of work I have ever experienced yesterday. I know, I know… you probably think I’m just saying that or exaggerating. But I promise that I really mean that. What makes a day of work hard for me? Not being able to make customers happy.
I work a customer service job that many a employee have been known to either excel at or get chewed up and spit out. Well yesterday, I experienced the latter. I’m normally pretty good at my job. I have a high level of empathy and that makes me amazing at getting on level with the customer and truly understanding their frustrations and needs.
I enjoy making people happy and some of my best days at work are ones where I can do a simple, 15 second task for a little old lady who just needs her jump ring put back onto her costume jewelry that she loves because “it may not be worth anything” but her late husband gave it to her when they were dating 50 years ago and it’s a piece of jewelry that means the world to her. To see her eyes light up when I tell her there’s no charge and wish her a nice day, is the reason I work a customer service job.
The type of work I do absolutely satisfies me to the core. There is no better feeling than the joy a customer expresses when we can fix something that they hold so dear. So when a day comes where I can quite literally please no one, it sends me home in tears.
That’s what my day was. We’re really bogged down because after Christmas is our most busy time of the year. Everyone needs watch bands adjusted and rings resized. It’s stressful. I am personally behind on some things at work that are my responsibility and when you pair that with how busy the store is, it makes for a whirlwind of trouble.
I handled customer after customer to the best of my ability. There’s always people who simply won’t be happy. Either I cannot fix something, can’t do something the way they expect or the price is higher than they were anticipating. I’ve learned to just accept those instances as part of the job. But it seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t find a way to bring satisfaction to the people I spoke to.
At one point, I had a customer that was clearly disappointed, sad and upset to the point that I was blinking back tears because there was nothing more than I could do for them. They were standing in front of me being calm, rational and I could just feel the sad radiating from their body. It tore my heart to pieces and with 10 minutes left of my shift, I told my boss “I’m done. I’m done for the day. I just can’t handle any more people right now. I’m sorry”.
I was emotionally tapped out and I went home in tears. I got home, undressed, climbed in bed and cried myself to sleep.
Why am I telling you this? It’s because you need to understand that I am the person fixing your jewelry or the person making your double cheeseburger or fixing your internet issues or waiting on you at restaurants. I am the ultimate example of customer service. I know you think I don’t care. You probably think I am paid to cater to you. I’m not. My boss pays me to talk to you and find out what you want. I give you my attention and I treat you like the human being that you are. Customer service is something a little extra I throw in because I care.
Please think before you run into a business practically waving your arms in the air. I understand what it’s like to be unhappy because you paid for a service and it isn’t what you expected or perhaps I couldn’t fix something in the way you imagined because it’s impossible to do so. We really are doing our best and we have bad or off days like everyone else. Remember that I am not paid to be your door mat – I’m simply there to answer when the doorbell rings.