Got Fears? You Are Not Alone

19-failI recently had dinner with a good friend who’s a COO at a company with fifty or so employees. One of his many responsibilities is to run the customer support team for his company. As we got to talking, we found we had a lot in common and shared many of the same fears.

While customer service is a terrific profession, it also comes with its share of challenges. You know–the kind you dream about and then wake up in a panic and cold sweat. Try a few of these on for size.

-Your boss informs you that your customer base is expected to triple in size over the course of a month due to a huge investment.  You are expected to triple your customer service team in a month. (Ok this one is actually a good problem to have)

-A customer has a negative experience with one of your agents and they post it to social media. In this case, the customer ends up being Taylor Swift and she writes a song about the experience and it goes viral.

-You have an outage that lasts a week

-You run a 24×7 contact center, the entire overnight crew comes down with a rare virus and is sick for two weeks.

I could rattle off about a hundred more of these scenarios for you. The fact of the matter is that you can talk with just about anyone in customer service and they have wrestled with significant fear of failure at one time or another.  Amidst this conversation with my friend, I realized a couple things:

1. Be real with others- There’s a ton of comfort when we are real with others about the fear of failure. When you realize others have some of the same fears, you realize you are not alone. Consider the fact that others on your team may have these same fears. Admitting to them can galvanize your team are you work hard to be successful.

2. Fake it till you become it- I got this little nugget in Carmine Gallo’s book, Talk Like TED.  There’s a lot of truth to that.  Given the fact that there is so much to learn and discover, we are all faking it on some level.  If we continue to do right by the customer and learn and grow in the process, we will make it.

So I guess the cat’s out of the bag.  There are days I show up to work and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.  If you’re in that boat as well, welcome to the club.  We have two choices–be paralyzed by fear, or continue to do the work of delivering AWESOME customer service and see just where this boat leads.


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