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Yep. Parenting is a lot like working in customer service. I started working in the BPO industry back in 2005 as a customer service representative. My son was still 7 months old then so you could say that my growth as a mother and as a career woman developed side by side.
After over 10 years, I can now say that my life as a mother and my life working in the customer service industry has amalgamated to some extent and I realized over time that dealing with customers and dealing with kids have so many similarities.
Let’s talk about some of them.
1. There are lots of “If somebody calls me one more time I’m gonna punch somebody’s face days.
When I was still a customer service representative, I would have spoken to around 80 people by the end of my shift. That’s 80 people. Did you hear me? EIGHTY. There was even a time when I decided to change my phone name to Amy just so I won’t have to say or hear my name for a few hours. Unfortunately it did not end well.
Customer: “Jhanis?! I thought you said your name was AMY?!!”
Me: “Oh! Yes, it is. I mean my name is Amy Jhanis…”
I went back to plain Jhanis after that call.
At home, my kids say mom eleventy billion times per day. Puhlease, give me a freakin break! From now on, you shall call me Queen! “Queen Mommy?” I rest my case…
2. There are days when you want to yell but can’t.
Let’s be honest here, there are days when you really want to yell at your kids but you bite your tongue especially when in public. “You just wait til we get home, young man…” A lot like in customer service. Doesn’t matter if you are right, if a customer yells at you, you need to bite your tongue, you have to listen and empathize.
3. You occasionally need to clean-up someone else’s mess.
Over the weekend, I was catching puke with my bare hands and cleaned after a sick 4 year old. What can I say, life’s a party sometimes. At work, when customers mess up their accounts, customer service representatives are expected fix them and fast while listening to them screaming about a legit charge.
4. The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. Or not.
We all love holidays, right? This is the time when we get to spend quality time with our family and kids. The festivities, shopping and decorations and everything else that make the holidays more exciting. Until you remember that it’s you who need to take care of the shopping, decorations and everything else that make the holidays more exciting. Can someone else at least wash the dishes? Yohoo, anyone?
I remember one Christmas when I had to go to work. Here in our country, we celebrate Christmas at 12 midnight of the 25th. My schedule for that week was 10pm-6am which sucked big time. It so happened that my lunch break that day was at 12 midnight and I spent it at the parking lot crying while watching the fireworks display. After an hour, I was back on the phone wishing customers a merry Christmas while trying to hold back tears.
5. Work schedules can be totally ridiculous.
Being a mom means you need to forgo sleep a lot of times because kids have total disregard of your eye bags. Being a customer service representative can mean leaving for work at ungodly hours especially for us who are on the other side of the world serving US, UK and Canada based customers.
6. Some people can’t seem to make up their mind.
If you’ve gone shopping with kids you would know what I’m talking about. They try out 650 pairs of shoes but still can’t find one that they like and drag you to the next aisle.
With customers, they let you narrate everything you know about the 12 products that they were choosing from and then tell you they will just call back. I know it’s our job to educate our customers about our products but REALLY? If you are going to make me recite 600 pages of product info, at least give me a sale.
So, what’s your point, Jhanis?
I am sharing these because just like everything else in life, kids and customers can be asshats sometimes and retail sucks the same way parenting can some days. We just need to remember that kids usually are just being kids and they just need guidance and love. The same way with customers. Although a few of them can be downright cruel, majority of them are nice and may just be having a bad day. A sincere assistance or an extra whipped cream on the house usually softens them up.
Another reason why I’m sharing this is because I think people need to be more sensitive about stuff. When you yell at a bar tender, a customer service representative or a sales lady, please know that these folks are normal people who are just trying to make a living in this world. We go out of our way just to help our customers and people yelling at our faces do not make us eager to help out but we still do it. People need to have some damn respect.
And if you see a mother who looks like she has not taken a shower for 2 days dragging her kids in the supermarket while seemingly angry, please do not label us as a lazy and disgruntled woman. Unless we are married to you, you will never know what a mother does to ensure that her kids are well fed and taken care of. Working mothers, stay at home mothers or work at home mothers, we all juggle a million things at once just to keep things at home afloat. No judgement please.
BUT! In the event that you meet a customer who is downright nasty, I still don’t suggest biting their head off. There’s a site called “I wish I spit in your food” where you can anonymously talk about a bad experience with customers or clients so you can let it off your chest. The site’s purpose is to provide an avenue for people where they can share their opinions and to release stress from anger that cannot be expressed in reality or in a workplace. Just so you know, you don’t blow up keeping anger bottled up. Go give them a visit.
If you are planning to get a job in the food industry, you can go ahead and create your Restaurant Manager Resume on an Online Resume Builder’s site. Make sure you make a positive difference!
Now if you wanna complain and rant about your kids, I have 2 big ears and I am willing to listen. You know where to find me. 😉