What ONE Skill Makes You a Better Professional?

Customer ServiceWhat happens when you have a really bad customer service experience? You talk about it, right? Because we live in the Social Age, you might review the company on Yelp or TripAdvisor.

What about when you receive really good experience? Do you share that with the world? After a truly exceptional customer experience, you just might!

Where the heck am I going with this and how does it relate to your job, or job search??? I’ll tell you:

Throughout you career, being passionate about customer service can differentiate you from even the best competition. It sets you apart. It makes you special.

“Wait a minute,” I bet you’re thinking, “I’m not in Retail or Sales. I don’t have customers.”

WRONG. We all have customers!

Think about it: our customers are those we serve and interact with. Outside of what you’d consider an actual “customer,” I’ll argue that customers include family, friends, bosses, decision makers, coworkers… and yes, hiring managers and recruiters!

One of my unofficial mentors, Doug Conant, shared a powerful phrase in his book, TouchPoints. Are you ready for this life-changing phrase? Here goes…

“How can I help?”

That’s it. So simple, yet so very effective. I’ll break it down a little further. On the job, or in your job search, here are three ways to excel in customer service:

Know the Customer

While some people know EXACTLY what is wrong and what they’re looking for, most don’t really know. They want YOU to figure it out. How do you do this?


Don’t assume you already know the answer. Don’t guess. Understand the customer’s challenges and needs so that you can recommend the best solution available to them. 

Be a Solution Seeker

When someone comes to you with an issue, how will you respond? Will you say “I don’t know” or will you do whatever you can to help the customer? To be great at customer service, you must take the phrase from “I don’t know” to “I don’t know, but I’ll find an answer for you.”

Their problem is your problem. Own it and help find a solution.

Next time you find yourself in a position to help, jump in head first… and see how those around you react. Spoiler alert: it will be positive.

Make It Easy

That’s pretty vague, but here’s what I’m getting at:

Figure out how you can help make the lives of your customers easier.

Whether it’s eliminating a step in the process or just being the sunshine in their day when they bring a valid complaint to your desk (i.e.: don’t be the grouch in Customer Service – it doesn’t help anyone), find a way to help the customer.

As a job seeker, how can you help make it easier for the recruiter or hiring manager to understand the value you bring? What challenges can your skills help solve for the company? How can you make it clear you are the right choice?

Stellar customer service is remembered. It is often noted on the online review sites, or in your LinkedIn profile. And a pattern of excellent customer service makes a positive impression on bosses, colleagues, current and future customers… and hiring managers.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Campus to Career!


Campus to Career


Kirk BaumannAbout the Author: Kirk Baumann is a passionate recruiting advocate preparing the next generation of talent for the career of their dreams. He’s a social media enthusiast who loves technology and how it’s connecting people in ways like never before. Kirk currently serves as Vice President, Career Services for Enactus United States (formerly known as SIFE). There, he helps Fortune 500 & 100 companies recruit top talent for their organizations as well as helping students, alumni, and young professionals find their dream job. Follow Kirk on Twitter!



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