CAMPUS: Students reflect on their experiences in customer service

For many high school students, getting a part-time job can be a rite of passage. Through working jobs, young individuals can learn to adapt to new environments focused on customer service and elevating experiences. SCHS students discuss their experiences working in customer service.

In the past, junior Bradley Yob has worked at Great America and Togo’s, and currently is employed at Chipotle. Yob reflected on a positive encounter with a customer during his shift.

“One customer specifically, on a day I was feeling really good, I made their bowl perfectly, and they had left and came back later to compliment me on my customer service,” Yob said. “He ended up giving me a $5 tip. They complimented me for always smiling and working on their order quickly.”

Through working multiple jobs, Yob has grown to become more empathetic of other customer service workers.

“It (having a customer service job) did change the way I interacted with other workers,” Yob said. “Before working, I didn’t care about them as much. But after working from a customer service standpoint and from what I’ve noticed, I’ve become a lot nicer and more respectful.”

Similar to Yob, sophomore Mia Rahbar applies her work experience at Chick-Fil-A to treat workers at other fast food places better.

“I realized how mean customers can be to workers,” Rahbar said. “I try to reflect on what I learned from working in customer service when I buy something from other restaurants and places.”

Senior Samantha Flores works at a boba shop called Teaspoon. Flores finds her experience in customer service to be more positive than negative.

“You definitely see how rude people can be, but you’re also able to have positive experiences,” Flores said. “I would say there’s a lot of people who come in and genuinely care. Being able to form connections, especially with our regular customers, and seeing them makes me feel a little joy.”

Flores reflected on a negative experience she had encountered in regards to her store policy.

“A person came in for our drinks that are milk based, but we can’t make them without ice,” Flores said. “The customer got really angry, threw a whole fit over it and made a huge deal. He ended up going on Yelp and made a bad review, so corporate had to contact him and he got banned from our store.”

Similar to Flores, Rahbar witnessed a customer throw food and yell at her coworker while working outside in the drive thru.

“I heard it through the headset, and it was a few feet away from me where the arguing and situation was happening,” Rahbar said. “It made me feel scared for the rest of the time I would be working there. It was just knowing that something could happen even if it wasn’t my fault, similar to the incident.”

In order to teach workers methods of problem solving, Flores’s management reminds her of an acronym to use to secure customer connection.

“At Teaspoon, we have an acronym called CARE, which we have to work by. It’s based around a customer service model,” Flores said. “It stands for care for the customer, acknowledge the customer, reduce wait times and elevate the experience.”

For Yob, Chipotle reminds workers to take care of the customers’ needs and teaches them ways to interact with people.

“I think Chipotle does a great job at placing an emphasis on customer service,” Yob said. “We’re trained to always put the customer first, and we have certain phrases to use to say to customers.”

From working in customer service, Yob has developed his social skills through regular conversation with customers.

“Something I was able to learn is how to talk to people,” Yob said. “It’s easier for me now, and before getting these jobs, I was more shy. I’m able to open up more.”

For Rahbar, her experience taught her to work with a diverse group of people.

“I learned to go out of my comfort zone since I’m not really a social person,” Rahbar said. “I learned to work with different types of people, like motivated people and people who don’t really take the job seriously.”

Despite challenges from difficult customers, Flores reminds herself and other workers entering customer service jobs of their persistence and value.

“Know your own worth. A lot of people are going to be really rude and think less of you,” Flores said. “We’re just teenagers and we’re trying to find our way in the world, so hold your head up high.”