Customer service is hard work. There’s no disputing that. While there are sometimes life-giving moments in this profession, there are also many days where people can suck the life right out of you. How is it that some people make a career out of serving others and seemingly achieve success?
While success is important in many aspects of what we do, I want to focus specifically on how we achieve success at serving others. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
(Not So) Glamorous ServiceIn my own life, I trudged through days, months, years of customer service calls because it paid the bills, refusing to accept that this line of work could be my career— something I could hang my hat on— something that could be my legacy long after I’m gone. As I got to thinking and reading about serving others, I began to realize that so many of my heroes in life are great at it. I tend to glamorize that about them but my attitude toward service in my own life was far from glamorous.
In reality, serving others isn’t easy or glamorous, but it is incredibly meaningful and noble to put aside our own needs and respond to the needs of another.
If you’re like me, you’re a sucker for a good quote. Check out some of these quotes that really get at the power that serving others holds:
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
― Booker T. Washington
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
— Mark Twain
“A life not lived for others is not a life.”
— Mother Teresa
Intrinsic MotivationIn order to be successful at serving others, there has to be some intrinsic motivation — something that drives us to pour our time and energy into making life better for others. In a recent survey, I asked our colleagues what motivates them and sustains them. With over a hundred responses, two clear leaders emerged. Finding great purpose in serving others and the opportunity to solve problems made up more than half of the responses. Both of these are intrinsically motivated.
There were six people that said customer service pays the bills and thirteen who said it was the best available job for them. To an extent, I think most of us agree that you can’t remove these aspects from the work. As I read through the responses from some of the folks that responded this way, it’s clear that they are both actively involved in improving the way they serve others and spend significant time serving their families, friends, and communities off the clock.
No one ever said serving others was going to be easy. Trust me. I looked for a quote. It is clear from my colleagues that those who achieve success and longevity doing so, enjoy solving problems, find great purpose in serving, and do so on and off the clock.