Are you sure you want to work in customer service? Do you really want a career in business?
Working in customer service requires a great deal of patience and energy. You have to absolutely love working with people and have that passion for helping people. Whatever business you want to go into - whether you’re a stockbroker in the financial industry, have aspirations to become an executive chef, or head a startup as the CEO - you must appreciate and understand the spirit of service. Remember that when you’re working in any business, you have to deal with people, whether it’s customers or coworkers.
Having a degree can certainly help if you want to go into management. The knowledge you gain from education is great and the ability to use critical thinking skills will help solve any problems you face as you do your work. Many people are getting a MBA degree online while acquiring real-world experience through working in customer service. If you get an organizational leadership degree, you’ll have the skills to lead others and inspire them to be more customer-minded.
After working in the service industry for two decades (which is just about every business I’ve been a part of), I know that you have to be mentally strong to deal with all the different personalities you come in contact with. I’m grateful that I did get my degree in Psychology because I was able to be more compassionate and focus on the human side of business.
If you believe that a career in business is for you, then you should probably start on the “front lines”. Spend time with people one-on-one and learn more about the behavior of customers. I think people who begin in customer service and work their way into management have a better appreciation for customers. I also like the idea of making it mandatory to spend some time with customers as part of orientation and training like Zappos.com does with all of their new employees.
This post is not meant to deter you from seeking a position in customer service if that’s what you truly want to do. I’m speaking to those of you who are just doing it because “it’s a job”. You’ll get burnt out real fast. You have to truly understand that you’re here to be of service to people. When you come from a mindset of being of service, that’s when you will succeed.