Working in customer service will teach you a couple of things about the big wide world. Some of these things are going to be super important down the track when you have to deal with the whole ‘being an adult’ thing.

1. There are some crappy people out there

When you start working in customer service you realise that the customer isn’t always right and that there are some pretty crappy people out there. At the same time, you’ll come to appreciate all the people who are genuinely nice and act like decent human beings heaps more than you ever did before.

2. How not to be a bad customer

Dealing with customers yelling at you about wait times and discounts will teach you very quickly that kindness is key. You’ll learn how to be a good customer yourself, like never taking a drink off a waiter’s tray and always being polite to your cashier, and will make you understand the struggles retail and hospo workers are facing when you go shopping or eat out on your day off.

3. How to read people

After working with customers, you’ll learn how to read people and know which ones will death stare you when you ask them if they need help and which ones will understand that wait times on food aren’t your fault. A valuable skill; being able to read people will help you in pretty much any human interaction you’re faced with.

4. The fact that some people aren’t polite- but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be

We already know being nice will get you places, but 80% of interactions in a customer service role will show you that some people don’t realise this and will take every opportunity they can to be rude. Customers will show you that there’s some nasty people in the world, but they’ll also serve as a warning of ‘what not to do’ and remind you how terrible you look when you’re unnecessarily rude to someone.

5. You can’t keep everyone happy

Despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. Customer service will teach you that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, people will want to be angry at someone and that someone will be you. You’ll learn not to take it personally and brush it off.

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6. Patience is important

There are going to be times in your life where you’re faced with some sort of wait: when your pizza delivery is on the way, when your order says it needs 3-5 working days to get to your house or when some idiot is trying to take a trolley through the 12 items or less lane at Woolies. Because of this, the patience you learn from waiting for customers is pretty damn important.

7. Listening skills

Listening to orders, questions or the old lady who’s been giving you her life story for the past 15 minutes will teach you when it’s important to tune in and actively listen (90% of the time) and when you can tune out (the other 10% aka. old lady’s life story).

8. Teamwork is everything

Regardless of what you do in life, there’s going to be some form of team work. From group assignments to working in an office, you’re constantly going to be forced to work with people whether you like it or not. Your customers will teach you to band together with anyone who’s on your side, and how to bond with people when the only thing you have in common is your workplace.

9. How to get through it

Sometimes, things don’t go right. Your feet will hurt, customers will be complaining and you’ll be understaffed. But your customer service job will teach you how to knuckle down and get through it until the end of your shift when you clock out and forget about the whole thing.

10. How to keep calm

And while you’re getting through it, customer service will teach you how to do it all while keeping a smile on your face. A very useful skill for adult life.

If you’ve been out of work for more than 6 months, hit up Employment Plus on their Facebook page. They help young people from Brisbane to Melbourne get into employment, so it’s worth a look if you want to start earning some cash and get some life skills.

cover: angella

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