The ONE Thing That Will Set You Apart


What happens when you have a really bad customer service experience? You talk about it, right? You might even blog, tweet, or review the company/individual on Yelp or TripAdvisor. That experience sticks with you for a lifetime. But what about when you have a really good experience? Do you share that with the world? Some do (most don’t.)

Where the heck am I going with this and how does it relate to your job or job search?? I’ll tell you.

It all comes down to Customer Service.

Wait a minute! I bet you’re thinking something like, “I’m not in Retail or Sales. I don’t have customers.” WRONG. We all have customers! Think about it: our customers are those we serve and interact with. Outside of what you’d consider an actual “customer,” I’ll argue that customers include family, friends, coworkers and yes, even hiring managers and recruiters!

One of my unofficial mentors, Doug Conant, shared a powerful phrase in his book, TouchPoints. Are you ready for this life-changing phrase? Here goes…

“How can I help?”

That’s it. It’s simple, yet so very effective. I’ll break it down a little further. On the job or in your job search, here are three ways to excel in customer service:

Know the customer. While some people know EXACTLY what is wrong and what they’re looking for, most don’t really know. They want YOU to figure it out. How do you do this? LISTEN. Understand the customer’s challenges and needs so that you can recommend the best solution available to them. Do you know who you’re working with well enough to recommend the ideal solution? It all comes down to listening!

Be a solution seeker. When someone comes to you with an issue (which is most of customer service), how will you respond? Will you say “I don’t know” or will you do whatever you can to help the customer? Take the phrase from “I don’t know” to “I don’t know, but I’ll find an answer for you.” Their problem is your problem. Own it and help find a solution. In your career, are you seeking solutions together or pushing the problems off on someone else?

Make it easy. That’s pretty vague, but here’s what I’m getting at: figure out how you can help make their lives easier. Whether it’s eliminating a step in the process or just being the sunshine in their day when they bring a valid complaint to your desk (i.e.: don’t be the grouch in Customer Service – it doesn’t help anyone), find a way to help the customer. As a job seeker, how can you help make it easier for the recruiter or hiring manager? What challenges can your skills help solve for the company?

While it may not be easy to find the good stuff on the internet, stellar customer service is remembered. It makes a positive impression and that can help earn you a customer for life. And, it could set you apart from the competition, helping you land that job or promotion you’re shooting for!


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