Life, Death and Cubicles
The first time that I witnessed the glory that is Office Space, I told myself promptly after ending that film that I would never, ever be that guy.
Unmotivated, dejected, the walls of my cubicle slowly collapsing inwards on me like some psychedelic, Alice-in-Wonderland spiral to corporate eternity. Yet here I am, years down the road since first glimpsing that film, and realizing that Office Space, like many other stereotypes and generalities, has largely shifted the perception of an otherwise neutral subject.
Let’s face it, cubicles and call centers get a bad rap. What image comes to mind for you? Endless drones, like ants slowly plucking away day after day. Phone calls, emails, phone calls, emails, coffee, more phone calls, what am I doing here exactly?
Phone.com is different. Heck, we don’t even have full cubicles, just some mutated, half-partition, half trying to be a cubicle whimsical creation. I’m worried that my cubicle energy might leak into the next partition without my four solid walls, but management refuses to acknowledge that they forgot to purchase the other half of everyone’s cubicle. Don’t worry, I’ve filed my grievances.
All joking aside, the amazing thing is, each one of our cubicle/partition creations have started to take on a life of their own in our office. Plants, stand-up desks, foot pads, yoga balls, you name it. The freedom afforded within an organization to allow front-line employees to express their own individuality is what sets our customer service apart from any other organization.
This is my desk, my home away from home. For eight hours a day I pour my energy into a creation that I’ve largely started to believe in. There’s one reason that I feel compelled to do this day after day, because I am encouraged to be who I am. Let’s face it, there is no one method or way to perform customer service. Some customers desire efficiency and quick service, while others seek a heart-felt connection with someone on the line that hopefully has a pulse. In many ways, customer service engenders a kind of organic, flowing process. There are no rights or wrongs, there is only a connection, a rapport that is to be established with each and every customer. Every situation is unique, and here are the principles that my desk embodies for my purpose with every customer.
- Efficiency: My desk is always ultra-clean and organized. I know where to find my pens, my keyboard (you never know!), my notes. In the same light, I love getting customer’s situations resolved as efficiently possible. The sooner that they can move on to more important things in their day, the better off we all are.
- Presentation: From the yoga ball to the energy rock and greenery, I enjoy and value the presentation that I offer to others, and know that the presentation that I offer to a customer is crucial. The first few seconds of a call are mission-critical. You have to establish a rapport, understand the situation, and work effectively to resolve said situation while leaving a positive impression after the call has ended.
- Balance: Balance is key for me, my monitor is not the focus of my desk, it is just one flow among many between nature, man, and machine. The same goes for customers, we all seek a balance in our services. While no service can ever be 100% perfect, the goal is always to strive for a balance that meets both a customer’s expectations and your own. A true blending of the creative minds.
When the external world starts to blend with the internal, what aspect of your creative space defines how you interact with customers on a daily basis? I’d like to personally challenge all of you to sit down in your chair (or yoga ball) and contemplate just what kind of energy you bring to your personal space, and how that influences the positive imprint that customers receive from you each and every day.