College Essay Examples

Written and Thinking Skills: Customer Service Agent

Customer service agents are critical in an organization’s success because they handle the customers and ensure that they are satisfied and their needs are met. As a customer service agent, I have learned that it is my responsibility to provide solutions to situations that affect the customer to ensure that quality service provision is not hindered. Importantly, I have to identify specific steps of working through problems to find quality solutions that will satisfy the customers.  In this essay, I share my experience of work experience where I had to demonstrate my competency as a customer service agent in providing quality solutions.

Late last year, I worked at an optical hospital, where we served clients from diverse backgrounds as a customer service agent. On a fateful day, a Muslim couple visited the hospital seeking services to replace their broken spectacles. The receptionist greeted them using the Islamic phrase, “As-Salaam-Alaikum,” which means “peace be unto you.” However, the receptionist failed to pronounce this phrase correctly and ended up sounding funny. She realized her mistake, and, instead of apologizing, she burst into laughter, making other employees laugh. The Muslim couple was offended y this gesture as they perceived it as racial profiling and humiliation. They threatened to report the company to the authorities and post their story online so that other Muslim clients would boycott our company. As a customer service agent, I immediately understood that the problem would cost the company its good reputation; thus, I was devoted to handling the situation to ensure that a similar problem would never happen again. 

The first step I took was to analyze the whole situation. This step enables one to collect the correct details of what happened. In my case, I had to talk to the couple to understand their frustrations. I also had to speak with the receptionist who started the whole situation, and I learned that she never intended any harm. She only tried to make the couple feel part of the company by greeting them using the Islamic phrase, but she couldn’t pronounce it correctly. To her, it was only an innocent mistake because she did not intentionally mispronounce the word. However, the couple couldn’t agree that she was innocent; therefore, I had to take further measures to solve the problem. Analyzing the situation enabled me to realize that the problem was deep. This step helped me realize that there was an underlying issue in how we offered services. I concluded that such issues make seemingly small problems erupt into more significant and unmanageable crises. 

The next step I took was to search for information that would reveal to me the underlying issue. I decided to use a scientific way of collecting information through surveys to make the process more effective. I believed that survey would allow me to collect measurable data that would make it easy to identify the exact problem. I conducted two types of surveys: employee and customer satisfaction surveys—the exercises aimed at knowing whether our company offered culturally sensitive services. The surveys’ responses revealed that our company was poor in cross-cultural communication. One customer expressed that she feared referring our hospital to her friends who from “minority” ethnicity. The survey also revealed that our employees were not adept with knowledge regarding cross-cultural communication and culturally sensitivity. Significantly, this step enabled me to understand that the problem would have blown out of proportion if the receptionist was sensitive to how she mispronounced the phrase. She should have apologized to avoid offending the couple. The same applies to her colleagues who laughed. If they were knowledgeable about cultural sensitivity, they would have avoided laughing. 

Apart from identifying the underlying issue, the survey also revealed the factors that were causing this problem. In the surveys, I learned that the client’s diversities affected how they reacted; thus, it was important to serve them while respecting their backgrounds. The surveys also revealed that most of our employees were from cultures that were considered “majority.” Hence, it was difficult for them to understand the sensitivity that comes with serving clients from “minority,” who were already facing social discrimination. With these factors, it was easy to identify solutions. The best practical solution I arrived at was offering the employees cross-cultural communication training. This training would equip them with culturally sensitive skills that would make it easy to interact with clients from diverse backgrounds. I also suggested that the management consider employing employees from all walks of life since the company had a diverse clientele. 

In conclusion, my problem-solving process focused on long-term solutions. I would have considered solving the problem by firing the receptionist, but a similar situation would have occurred if the employees are trained about cross-cultural communication. More so, the training would have proved our seriousness about rectifying the issue to the public. 

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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