The following is from a new series in which we take a look at the inner workings of a particular career industry. Each article in this series will feature a guest contribution from an industry insider.
I have spent three years as a Customer Service Supervisor
My typical day consists of coming in and running through my daily reports. I then take the trends I find to my Customer Service Reps (CSRs) to go over their previous days performance. I try to spend at least 50% of my day on the floor answering questions and coaching as needs be, but some days meetings prevent me from doing so.
I’m a white male, but I do not feel that has held the progression of my career back any. I work for a nation-wide, American bank which focuses on diversity, but also promotion based on performance. Anyone who works, performs and adds to the bottom line can move up regardless of their race, sex, or any other diverse aspect they may bring to the table.
I would rate my job as a five. There are a lot of office politics played where I work. The problem is a lot of the managers incentives are based off of attrition goals. The lower their attrition numbers, the bigger their incentive. In theory, low attrition is a good thing, but when management consistently turns a blind eye to unethical behavior to protect that incentive, it makes for an unproductive and disheartening work environment.
I learned the hard way early on in my time in this position to choose my battles carefully. When I started I was young and stupid. If I felt someway about something, I had no problem expressing my opinion about it. I ticked off a few higher ranking people, and in the short run had to eat some crow to get back in their good graces. Looking back, it was just me making rookie mistakes. I will still speak up about things, but I have learned to do it in a tactful manner, and only on things about which I’m truly passionate.
Piggybacking on that last response, I wish there was a class in school which taught you how to view things in a more strategic manner, and also be able to read the underlying issues of the situation. That would have aided in me keeping my mouth shut on the more trivial things of our office.
I moved up through the ranks to get to where I’m today. I started in Collections, and was a phone collector for three years. I got tired of harassing people and moved over to our Customer Service department. After a few years on the phones there I wanted to make more money and get off the phones, so I began pursuing the supervisor job path. If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t change much because I’m happy with where I am now and where I’m going.
One of the strangest things that happened to me was we had a team member who was rather larger and would randomly faint. No real serious issue caused this, it would just happen. While out on the floor one time we were walking towards each other and sure enough she fainted. I did my best to catch her, but being bigger than me, we both ended up on the floor with her on top of me. We had the Senior Management team in town that day, and they came around the corner to find this large woman laying on me in the middle of the floor. Explaining that took a bit of tact, and we all had a good laugh after the fact, but it was still pretty strange.
The best feeling I have on days when things go well is when my team is out performing everyone else and I get to buy them lunch on the company dime to say thank you. It is fun to have a free lunch, especially when everyone else on the floor gets to see it and knows it is because we rock!
I don’t like dealing with team members who are just there to collect a check. The bulk of my performance is based on their performance, and if they truly don’t want to be there, it is hard to motivate them to do better than the minimum.
My job can be stressful if I make it that way, but I take one day at a time and most things with a grain of salt. I have a great support system of family and friends, and when that five o’ clock whistle blows, I’m out the door to be with them.
I currently make about $45K/year, with a monthly bonus between $400-$600 after taxes. In reality, for what I do, this is a really good wage.
Prior to the Bank Bailouts, my company used to sponsor an all-expenses paid trip for the top 100 employees every year. I won this a few years ago and was able to take my wife with me. It was a huge honor and one of the highlights of my career.
I think the most challenging moment I faced was when we had a team member suffer a heart attack and die on the floor. Although I was off when it happened, my peers who were there handled it poorly so we had to deal with the backlash from that after the fact as well as grieve and help our team members to be able to grieve. That was horrible, and I hope I don’t ever have to do it again.
I have found a lot of success in my ability to communicate and help my team through our every changing environment. I also have a heart for people. This has helped me immensely. If I ever get to the point I find myself not caring about my people, I’ll know it is time for me to find another line of work.
If I had a friend wanting to get into management, I would tell them, you have to love people, and want the best for them. If they’re getting into it for the money, they will be sadly disappointed.
With this position, I get five weeks of paid vacation, and I take it all. Whereas I like what I do, this job can burn you out if you let it. My time away from the office is very important to me.
One of the common misconceptions, and running joke around the office, is that supervisors are nothing more than adult babysitters. Some days this can be very true, but I try not to buy into that because I don’t want to become jaded about what I do.
A lot of days this job does move me. Especially when I can promote one of my team members or see them succeed, or in those instances where we are speaking with a customer who is in a tough spot and we can help find them a resolution. On those days, it really is fun to be me.
In five years I would like to be a little further up the management chain. The more people I can work with from a management standpoint, the more people I can potentially impact for the good. I would also like to think being a little further up the ladder would allow me to change some of the things which are pain points for us today.
I’m nothing special, although my friends and family might argue differently. I was raised with a strong work ethic which I have employed to get me to where I am today. I would like to think that same ethic would continue to propel me further in my career. I’d also like to think anyone else who works as hard as me can find similar success as well.
Considered working as an Lab Technician? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is a true career story as told to LatPro.com for its What They Don’t Teach series and a collection of interviews with Hispanic and bilingual professionals from a Division Leader to a Digital Marketing Contractor, and everything in between.