I worked for a short brief period of half year as an IT technical support at a private school before enrolling into university with two of my friends. Our workspace is located inside a computer lab where computer classes are conducted and school servers are located. Primarily our main customers are students, teachers, school staffs and even some external client (referred by teacher or staff).


You will learn how to communicate and serve the customer

During recess time, students rush into the computer lab to print their stuff and we will collect a fee from them based on how many pages they have printed. Sometimes they will get stuck on the procedure on how to print as we used two shared printer for all the computers and we have to assist and guide them. One day during lunch break, two students came in and printed 200 pages+ of e-book, we were shocked as we have never encounter this situation before.


Other students that are queuing to use the printer got resented waiting too long and complained to us as they needed some document printed urgently. We quickly decided to pause the printing of the e-book and asked them kindly to collect the printed material after school is dismissed, they reluctantly agreed after we explained the reason for it. We then continue to serve those who is in urgent need of getting stuff printed and we asked those who are not urgent to leave and come after school has dismissed or on tomorrow recess break. After this incident, we put up a sign saying that no printing of more than 50 pages are allowed per student during recess break.


We learned how to sort customer (student in this case) priorities and served them accordingly, we also learned how to reason with them and make most of the customers as happy as possible but not all as some of them may have selfish request that couldn’t served in time and they got unhappy about it.


We first feel bad about unable to serve all customer but after several considerations we thought that was the best way, fulfilling few selfish requests and neglecting majority of the customers are way worse than making majority of the customers happy.


You will face unreasonable requests

The school curriculum taught students visual basic programming and their assignment and homework are usually saved inside individual computer and the teacher would come to each computer after the student have finish coding, open up the program ,proceed to marking according to the output of the program and save it into a pendrive for future reference. After using the outdated Windows XP for years, we wanted to upgrade the operating system of all the computer in the computer labs to Windows 7 as we recently gotten education bulk purchase prices for Windows 7.


We informed the head of computer subject department that we will be formatting all the computers to upgrade to Windows 7 (which will clear all of the data saved inside) and asked if there is any assignment or exercise files they want to save or backup. She said there is no file to save and approved us to proceed with upgrading. Two days after formatting and upgrading to Windows 7, while we were still configuring some setting on the computer , the head of computer subject department went into the computer labs nervously and asked whether the computers have been formatted. We nodded and thinking maybe she may have forgotten to backup some of the file.


“Can you guys recover the assignment file from these computers (a list of 30 computers)? I forgot to save these assignment files and I really need it urgently so that I can mark and pass the mark to principal before this friday (today is wednesday)”


“We have formatted those computers two days ago”


“Can’t you guys recover the file from computers? You guys are IT support right?”


“Uhm…We can try using recovery software but no guarantees on fully recover the file you need”


“What no guarantees?! I will file a complaint to your department if you guys failed to recover those files, those files are really important to me”


“But you approv-”


“I want you guys to send me the files latest by Friday, I got class now and I have to go”


//she walks away with a fast pace


Me and my friends were stunned with WTF expression at our face, we immediately downloaded some file recovery software (if not mistaken the name is Recuva) and run it on those computers. We were really scared that time as teacher position is higher than school staff (we are school staff) and she is the head of subject. We scared that we might get fired, we prayed in front of those computers hoping those files can be recover successfully (file recovery software takes a really long time due to their process and algorithm).


On Friday we were so worried that we talk to our head of department (head of IT department) as the file recovery software still haven’t finish running, we were scared that we might get fired. He listened to us about the case and nodded, “don’t worry, you guys did your best after all and it is her fault on this case”.


He then went out after assuring us not to worry.


Turns out he talked to vice principal of school about this and the head of computer subject got a verbal warning from the vice principal, we still keep our job. She still holds grudges about us, we can see it from her stares every time she went inside the computer lab. We learned not to worry about unreasonable request and that some adult (even teacher) behavior may actually worse than teenagers (students). Luckily our head of department is really kind.

You will develop empathy towards people who work as customer service

On the previous paragraph, I described the unreasonable request we gotten from a teacher. After that experience, I developed empathy towards other customer service staff especially waiter/cashier who have to serve dozens of customer a day and some of the customers they met may have requested unreasonable favor or have rude attitude. You can’t just tell those problematic customers to fuck off, your supervisor or employer will kill you for that, the least you can do is to delegate to your supervisor or manager to handle (if they are present at that time, that is). I always tip an amount I can afford to waiter and avoid making too much request when buying products from store because I know how it feels like to be bombarded with unreasonable favors and how hard it is to deal with it in a daily basis.

Summary

Go take a job in customer service if you have not taken before.

  1. Try to learn how to make majority of customer happy
  2. Get yelled by customers and learn how to manage it
  3. Learn to think in other shoes and appreciate how hard it is to be a customer service
  4. Experience the joy when customer thank you because you helped them

Have you worked as customer service before? How was your experience?

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