Hello, friends! I just recently finished up my summer job working at the premier theater in my city as a customer service representative. Working at this theater has been such a blessing. This organization is so impactful on the community, aiming to bring theatre and art to the public. It’s consistently brought in an incredible lineup of Broadway shows, performers, and other events to my city.
I worked here as a customer service representative, which put me in the box office or on the phones to answer patrons’ questions and help them buy tickets. I really enjoyed getting to talk to a lot of different people and interact with the community, but it wasn’t always easy at times. Here are six things I’ve learned from working in customer service:
1. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” -Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
This is probably the most important thing I’ve learned from this job. I was on phones for the majority of the past couple of weeks, answering a ton of questions and speaking with a lot of different people. Whenever I was on the phone with them, I tried to think “What does this person need from me? Why did this person call today?” Trying to understand the perspective of other people was really valuable in giving them the best service possible. People called in for a reason and they may be calling from the store, from the car, or in the midst of trying to feed their kids lunch. I wasn’t always completely aware of the patron’s situation, but trying to be sensitive to what they may be going through at that moment helped me serve them the best I could.
This mentality also helped when I was dealing with unsatisfied patrons, which was often accompanied by some frustration. It’s important to understand that these people may be going through something that has nothing to do with purchasing tickets for a show. Trying to be empathetic is something that I’m still working on, but this is probably the biggest takeaway.
2. Never assume or take anything for granted
The key to my job as a customer service representative was to verify, verify, verify. I had to make sure that what I was setting up for the patron was exactly what they wanted, so it was imperative that we were always on the same page. This is where trying to understand other people’s perspectives comes in. It was important that I took a moment to make sure that the person that I was working with understood what I was saying and that I understood exactly what they wanted. You know what they say about assuming…
3. Communication is key
As a customer service representative, I do a lot of talking and explaining. For example, one of the main attractions this season was the Broadway Lights Subscription, which many people are interested in. Explaining how this 8-show series works was often a mouthful, but all the talking I’ve been doing has helped me communicate ideas for efficiently. This job has taught me to be mindful of the words that I use when talking to people, so that they can thoroughly grasp what I’m trying to say. Developing communication skills have been vital for this job and will be especially useful throughout my college career.
4. Listening is powerful
As important as communicating was, I found that listening was even more important in customer service . I had to learn to be quiet at times and really pay attention to what the patron was saying in order to help them the best I could. This may seem obvious, but giving someone your undivided attention and really trying to understand them is really valuable. Sometimes people calling in simply wanted to be heard, whether they were looking for someone to chat with or let out their frustration at.
5. Sometimes people are rude, but it’s important to keep going
Even though I tried to see things from other people’s perspective, sometimes people were just straight up rude to me. This was pretty hard for me to deal with at first and still kind of gets to me. It’s amazing how impactful someone’s tone of voice can be, rather than the words they are saying. I’ve had to learn that even when people are rude, I just have to let it go and focus on the job that I have to do.
6. People can also be really amazing
Aside from the people that weren’t so nice, the majority of patrons I have interacted with have been absolutely wonderful. I’ve actually had some really great conversations with people about everything from family to theatre, which makes all of the other negativity a lot more bearable. I am so grateful to the patrons who were incredibly patient and understanding with me, especially when I was new to the job. From the perky customer service representative on the phone to you kind people out there, thank you so much! Patience and kindness really goes a long way.
I hope you enjoyed this post! The experiences I’ve had with a lot of different people have challenged me, but I’ve learned a lot from working in customer service.
**Disclaimer: None of my views reflect that of this organization. I have the upmost respect for this theater and its mission to bring art to the community.