Thursday, September 8, 2011

Being Invaluable Comes Naturally To Me

In retail settings, I always strove to make myself invaluable to the store and the management, and for the small stores that I worked for, I was successful in that. In retail, it is easy, because all one has to do is be better at--and enjoy doing--something few others do. In my case that meant accounting and paperwork.

I lost that when I started customer service. How does one become invaluable to the company in such a way that they could hardly work without me?

You can't. I can't. All I can do is make it such that dealing without me is more difficult.

When I started my position in Commercial Parts, I started a work log. The first day it was necessary, as they flooded me with requests. The first five minutes I sat in that chair and didn't know what to do first or where I would start. Then I stopped myself and realized I was trying to do everything at once.

I made a list of everything people wanted from me, and the percentage I had completed, and who had provided the request. If I had to call someone to gain information, I included that in the work history. At the end of the day, I took all of the requests I had not completed and put them in a new document for the next day.

At the end of the month, I took all of the completed requests and compiled them into one. By now, I have two Month Archives: July and August. And I have had the need to go back and use them: customers claiming that I told them one thing, and no, I have notes that I said and did the opposite; customers claiming that I gave them bad advice based on looking at the wrong part, but no, here is the information you gave me.

Along with this work log, I have a price archive. Every part that I have had to research myself, I have compiled into one list. Every manufacturer or company I have dealt with, compiled into one list, even if we do not have a purchasing account with them. And every competitor I have found on the web bookmarked.

All this has led to one thing: I can find information faster than most of the people who are also capable of doing my job. They may know more than I do, have more experience or qualifications, but if you need an answer now...

I ask questions once and write down the answer. Too many of the other parts reps around me have asked the same question over and over until they memorized it. I do what I can to make myself as good as I can be.

And it seems to be paying off.