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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Serving the (right) customers

Customer service is not for everyone and if you are ever going to go through this field, be prepared to brace all the triumphs and challenges that will come with the package.

I have always thought that serving the customers require a lot of patience and perseverance as we are dealing with people from all walks of life, and with money involved (they PAY you), we have to put on our best behavior to treat them the right way.

My first job upon graduation was involved with software, engineering and also applications support in a very conducive company; a company that I will live to remember my enjoyable working experience.
Back then I remembered having to work with internal customers as well, understanding their requirements and I had to do cross-site support which meant dealing with people from different countries; namely China, India, USA, Philippines, etc.
It was not easy although we were all in the same company as it was also across different divisions and reporting to distinctive umbrella organizations.
I recalled some technically demanding customers who had to have whatever they asked for there and then and whether you know it or not.
I knew it was not easy then but it was fun during the learning curve and you just enjoy challenges especially when you are a fresh graduate.

Dealing with internal people are different from external customers; I don't think we need an encyclopedia to detail the differences here.

It is definitely much harder and stressful to face some of those demands and unreasonable deadlines or risk being reported by the customer to your management.
Escalation is a usual process and customers cannot even accept it when you are away on vacation or even if you are on sick leave, bla bla bla.

My recent experience with a multinational company was horrendous and I feel really battered out of my wits by their demands.
I am not saying that I am fully perfect and provide the No.1 service and support, but headcount/resources were really low on our side and I have tried my very best, I really mean it.
It is not easy juggling between completing your already increasing workload and at the same time, entertaining every single request and demand that comes from the customer's end.

Of course, understanding from the customer's end, I do not blame them for getting frustrated with us at as well as they too, have their requirements and deadlines to meet. However, from my side, I have tried my very best, to every extent possible to help to work for them and coordination job is not entirely within my control.
It was hard working with the internal team when they are not cooperative as well, and yet you cannot expect the customer to understand this.

It will come back to us being the problem statement.

I feel really tired and exhausted out of my own wits to meet every single expectation from everyone.
(Or perhaps I am trying to meet my own expectations too much, and I feel that I am just useless when I don't do things right?)

I am worried about my own performance, sometimes I feel I am not doing everything perfectly.
Is that all to life? My work and in meeting everyone's expectations?

My boss told me this, "You can't please everyone. You could kill yourself trying to make everyone happy"

I am glad that my boss trusts that I am doing my job right and that the customers are the unreasonable or demanding ones.

However, why am I still not feeling at peace or happy with myself?
I just don't understand myself sometimes...