Tips to become a logistics customer service representative
A bilingual logistics customer service representative, who works in the logistics industry, shares her experience and explains both how speaking Spanish and English has made her an asset in the workplace and how befriending her boss and not being intimidated by her superiors helped her succeed.
What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?
I have worked in logistics customer service for four years. In my last position, I was an internet customer service representative for various magazine publishers. In general, I am efficient, adaptable, and versatile.
What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best?
I am a Hispanic female but this has not affected my opportunities. The fact that I am bilingual in this area has made me stand out. The Hispanic community is just starting to grow, and the need for bilingual employees is in demand in the predominantly English-speaking state I live in. Though I look Hispanic, I am surprised how many people do not assume that I speak Spanish. So far, I have yet to encounter discrimination in my career or personal life.
How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
Working in logistics customer service requires assisting customers with any product-related questions or issues. Generally, customers need to change an address on their subscription, make a payment, or report missing magazines. There are many misunderstandings both from customers and potential employees. Customers believe we have access to every detail of their information, but, in logistics, certain information is kept with the client, the actual magazine publisher and their marketing department, and only their subscription information is given to us, the company handling the customer service side. And potential employees, who have never worked in customer service or logistics, believe the job is mindless and that they will have a script for everything. This is incorrect. In logistics customer service, we never know what a customer will request or what attitude they will have when contacting us. We are provided with the knowledge to execute the transactions requested of us, but how we interact with the customer while completing their requests is up to us. As long as we satisfy the customer and meet the minimum standards, we are free to work in the manner that suits us best.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?
I would rate my satisfaction a seven only because I was a temporary employee for a longer period than I should have been because of my performance and experience. Many changes were happening within the company, and the managers never seemed to know whether they could hire another person on a permanent basis. That was fine and I understood it. But a real dissatisfaction came when all temporary employees were used to fill in the gaps in other work areas. To me, that meant getting switched from full-time internet customer service (emails and chats) to full-time customer calls for an indefinite period of time. They did have the right to do this, but I interviewed for the internet position and did not volunteer for full-time phone position. It was disappointing. I would have been more accepting had they provided more advanced notice or an incentive because full-time phone customer service representatives get benefits and prizes, but none of those were presented.
If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?
This job or industry is not my calling. I happen to do it well and I do it to help my family and show my kids that sometimes we do what we have to do. My true calling requires some capital to start my own organization and in this economy, that is just a dream for now. Someday it may happen.
Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
No, not really. If anything, it’s ordinary. I am a working mother of two young children who are just entering elementary school.
How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I started in college. As soon as I entered college, I got a job at my university’s business-services office. It had nothing to do with my major but it was simple enough and the hours worked for me. I could work in between classes. Had I known the job market a little better, I would have worked or volunteered in a line of business closer to my major. Upon graduating, no one would hire me as I did not have experience in my field, so I entered the job market with my office experience.
What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this lesson?
I guess I would say that no matter how good you are, the company’s business priorities don’t always work in your favor. I wasn’t prepared for this.
What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?
Most people are intimidated by their boss and their superiors. I was able to shed that fear early on thanks to my first boss. He exposed me to all of his superiors and I found they were all grounded people. I found that to be the case in all my jobs. As long as I did my job well, what were they going to do to me? It works in my favor to come off as competent and confident.
What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
I had a customer threaten suicide. I don’t know why. It was just a magazine subscription invoice.
Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?
Contributing income to our household and having all our bills paid on time each month keeps me going. Having a family on one median income in this economy is tough. I am happy to do my part so that my family can focus on the important things in life.
What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you want to just quit?
I always get taken advantage of without additional compensation. It happens with every position. I decided not to let it happen again, but I feel shut out. They know what I can do but do not offer any opportunities.
How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance? How?
It’s a little stressful to meet minimum standards on customer calls. When a customer calls in irate, it certainly stresses me out as well. The good thing about the job is that you cannot take it home with you. Once you walk out of the office, it’s done until your next shift.
What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?
The salaries range from nine to fourteen dollars per hour. I am satisfied with my pay but do wish for a little more. Who doesn’t?
How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I take two weeks per year (one week at a time) and all the major holidays. It’s average so I have nothing to complain about.
What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
To succeed in logistics customer service, a high school diploma is needed. Intermediate computer experience, typing at least 35 wpm, and good customer service phone skills.
What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
You know what you’re capable of doing. In logistics customer service, the transactions are repetitive but every day plays out a little different than the next. Can you deal with repetitive work and sometimes angry customers?
If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like to head my own department dedicated to changing or developing new procedures for the company.