If you work in customer service or retail, it’s likely you face challenges every day. It takes bravery and fortitude to effectively solve the issues of frustrated customers, stay on your feet for long periods of time, and help high volumes of customers find what they want and make purchases. If you are a teen working your first summer job in customer service, or are working in a customer service job until you find a job in the field in which you want to pursue a career, you are gaining much more than some temporary income. You can take skills gained from customer service and retail jobs and use them to help you excel in almost any other job. To help you explain to employers the skillset you are bringing to their company, here are five important customer service transferable skills:
1) Problem Solving
When you work in customer service, your interaction with a customer can make or break a sale. That can be a lot of pressure, since some customers have high demands or can be rude or impatient. You must be able to think quickly, getting to the bottom of what the problem truly is, then decide on possible solutions and weigh the options to determine the best one. And to successfully solve the problem, you must remain patient and keep a smile on your face in the process. These customer service situations are an excellent training ground in which you gain transferable skills. If you can solve frustrated customers’ problems successfully, you have the foundation needed to attack problems you will face in any job you choose in the future.
2) Interpersonal Skills
In customer service and retail jobs, one of the transferable skills you gain is the ability to interact with a wide range of people. This includes both customers and co-workers from all different backgrounds and walks of life. In any career you choose to go into next, you will need this valuable experience to communicate successfully with those you talk to in interviews, the workplace, and clients, partners and vendors you do business with.
For many, customer service or retail jobs are a stepping stone to get where you want to be in your future. To deal with customers in a friendly manner, perform physically demanding tasks and stay calm when business is booming, you must have the ability to persevere. This is especially true if customer service wasn’t your first choice when you were looking for a job. In situations like these, working in customer service shows you have the ability to see the big picture and work hard in whatever job they have, which is one of the transferable skills many employers value. This shows you are invested in your future and are willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
In customer service and retail, the products, customers and people you work with are always changing. You must continually learn how to perform your job well under growing and dynamic circumstances and surroundings. And today, technology is bringing continual changes to the way we do business in retail and customer service. One of the customer service transferable skills you can bring to future employers is the ability to learn new ways of doing things and adapt in a comfortable manner. Many retail employees today are becoming familiar with e-commerce and dealing with online orders. Also, many call center employees are becoming familiar with different channels of customer service beyond just phone calls. These channels include live chat, social media, online ticketing systems and virtual agents. Employers highly value the ability to take change in stride.
In many retail and customer service jobs, teamwork is one of the transferable skills you can bring to other jobs. You must work with others to do your job well. Especially when the store is busy, communicating with, helping others on your team as well as asking for help are extremely important. In future jobs you apply for, explain to employers how these skills will help you work well in any team projects.
Add these transferable skills to your resume, being sure to give examples of situations in which you developed and used them. Best of luck in your future career!
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.