April 04, 2011
Every spring tens of thousands of people flock to Charleston, SC for the annual Cooper River Bridge run. This year marked the 34th anniversary of the 10k as 40,000 people pushed off at the sound of the gun to challenge the iconic bridge. While the city marveled at the more-than-sizable turnout, we at PeopleMatter (never letting work slip our dedicated minds) couldn’t help but think that the runners embodied the attitude of an idealistic customer service representative.
Unless you’re an Olympic runner or a seasoned marathon participator, a 10k is (literally) no walk in the park. Participators need to be up to the challenge in order to face the bridge ahead of them.
Much like the ambitious runner, customer service representatives need to face the challenges of the workplace. Dealing with people is no easy task. Great customer service employees go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction and repeated business.
Running is often thought of as an interpersonal sport where the goal is personal improvement. Despite the “every man for himself” mentality, you’ll often hear shouts of encouragement to “keep on” or “don’t give up.” Individuals competing against themselves tend to develop a bond, supporting each other.
Good employees have this same “pack mentality.” They are in the business of making people happy – the customers, co-workers, even the boss. The employee is essentially the face of the company and has potential to be the determining factor on whether customers return or not. Building relationships within the company allows for teamwork. When the worker is fully committed to a good work environment and customer satisfaction people leave happy and wanting to come back for more…which in turn benefits the company.
Cramps, thirst and pain are just a few of the things that can interfere with a smooth race. In order to persevere a runner must remain positive.
Customer service representatives deal with their fair share of hurdles, too. Constantly working with people can be taxing with the influx of hundreds of different personalities. One unpleasant customer has the ability to ruin an entire day. Persisting through the unhappy customers by remaining positive and treating each customer as if they are the “first of the day” is a long-term strategy that pays off. An unbreakable optimism that allows an employee to remain calm, cool, and collected is key to the success of any customer service business.
Applying desirable personality traits to any situation results in success. Many circumstances call for putting your “best foot forward” in order to succeed. There must be some idiom out there that deals with learning lessons in the least expected ways. For us it was from the 40,000 runners and walkers on Saturday morning. Their 10k display of self-motivation, commitment, and optimism provided a platform for us to see how their runner-istic values can and should be applied in the workplace.
PeopleMatter has designed an applicant tracking system (ATS) run by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) structure that is intended to “read between the lines” of an application. Pre-hiring screening sorts through the muck of the standard application and interview process by providing assessments that can tell employers what the candidate has done, what they can do, and what they want to do…so as to provide you with the perfect “runner”.
As the participants were crossing the finish line with sighs of relief, arms raised in triumph, and hoots and hollers from the thousands of onlookers, we thought to ourselves, “what a happy place the service industry would be if everyday ran like the Cooper River Bridge Run”…pun intended.
The PeopleMatter Institute