The Integration of Customer Service at The Toy company
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Working at The Toy Company was a great experience. As my title, Assistant Customer Service Manager, implies, I was given the responsibility of overseeing twenty other people. For a college senior, this is a rare opportunity. I think that I took advantage of it because I learned more about small businesses and people in three months than I had in three years. Customer Service does not require constant application of economic ideas and fundamentals. Its main focus is on the person. This is especially true at The Toy Company where systems and policies had just recently been implemented. No fancy calculations or equations were used - it was mainly common sense. Therefore, I never drew graphs or applied complicated theories. However, I did use basic supply and demand rules and tried to make cost-effective decisions. There were many times when I had to make a decision on a special discount or price reduction for a customer that would cost the company money. It was up to me to decide if the customer "satisfaction" outweighed the loss. Of course, there could be no policy for these decisions because each situation was unique. No course could teach someone how to handle ever customer's problems, although, it would emphasize that the "customer is always right", the basic rule when dealing with customers. Because of these unique customer situations. experience in dealing with people and good interpersonal skills are characteristics that are important. My interpersonal communication course helped me deal with difficult or upset customers. It taught me to be empathetic, but most of all taught me how not to put someone on the defensive. When dealing with customers. it is extremely important to make them feel at ease and comfortable when explaining their problems or concerns. I also feel that i learned how to deal with my employees. I never want to act as if I am "looking down" or "pulling rank" on someone. I do not believe that this is healthy for the organization. It may bring bad feelings that can spread and affect work behavior. Manager-employee relations need to be open and casual, yet not totally equal. I believe, and learned quickly, that a manager must keep some distance between him/herself and his/her employees. I think it helps to keep order and a sense of the delegation process within the organization or department. From this experience, I have decided to pursue small business. I like the casual atmosphere and the feeling of accomplishment that it allows. I want to see the results of my work. I also like to be knowledgeable and about and important to many areas of a business. But, most of all, I like the fast-paced, dynamic workplace of a smaller business. Changing policies, creating better systems, and organizing tasks are all part of the excitement. I feel that I need more experience and need to try out different aspects of business before I continue my education. It would be a waste of time and money to enter graduate school with no specific career plan in mind. More experience will help me decide if and what type of graduate work I need.