Thu | Apr 9, 2020

Glenford Smith | Everyone does customer service

Published:Sunday | July 8, 2018 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: In less than a month, my department will be going through one of its training exercises. I don't do customer service, but my manager believes I should go nonetheless. I have important work to be done, and I can read up on what the training is all about. I do not plan on going if I can help it. What do you think about this? And are there likely to be negative repercussions?

- H. P.

ANSWER: Thank you for writing in to The Gleaner Career section. I think you may need to reassess your job description. You see, everybody is in customer service, whether their department is called customer service or not. Whatever is your department's function, it is engaged in helping the company to serve customers. The fact is, everyone does customer service.

With all due respect I think that your plan not to attend the customer service training is ill conceived. To answer your question: Yes, I think there are likely to be repercussions should you not show up or if you show up in a foul mood. You will not benefit much if you are not there in the right frame of mind to contribute and learn.

I learnt a long time ago that if there's any kind of education or tuition compensation provided by the company, take advantage of it. It will make you more valuable to the company and also to the workforce. By reading this, you can begin to see the fallacy of your 'having important work to do'.

'Important work', according to whom? The company decides that customer service training is important and will be making arrangements for it to happen. Who are you to determine that customer service isn't important but that what you will do is important? You would do well to reconsider this.

You do have a good idea to read up on customer service in your free time, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you will not bother with it once the time for training has passed. You already say that 'you do not do customer service', so you seem to have little interest in it. I may be missing something. if so, please write and tell me more.

Generally, I would like to tell you that the investment in your own personal, development is the most important thing you can do. The employees who are on the cutting edge in your company are the ones who invest the most in their education, both formal and informal.

They don't wait to be sent on training. They actively seek it. If their management does not want to pay for them to go, then they take money out of their own pocket. They figure out what skills they will need and what those are that they need some help to develop. So I would recommend this to you.

American president Abraham Lincoln is attributed with wisdom says, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." Sharpening the axe is, metaphorically, educating yourself before undertaking anything. Do not miss out on training sessions. All the best to you.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.