How Customer Service/Administration Found Me

It is said that things come full circle.  Well, that is the case with how customer service and an administrative career found me.  Yes, it found me – I didn’t choose it.  Somehow it was inherent in me.

 My story goes back many years (despite the fact that I don’t want to date myself) to when my sister and I pretended our bedroom was our office.  I was twelve and my sister was ten.  We turned our school desk into a President’s desk one day and an assistant’s desk the next.  Each time we played, we traded positions – one day I was President issuing orders and my sister was the assistant shuffling papers, filing, and answering the phones; the next day, the roles were reversed.  When we were assistants we donned long hair; and since neither of us had long hair, we turned our long-sleeved shirts inside out and up over our heads and let the shirt drape down over our backs giving us the illusion (no matter how flawed) that we did, in fact, have long hair.  We constantly pushed the dangling arms of the shirt from in front of our shoulders to behind our back, not unlike Cher.  Laughable now, but very real for us back then!

We wrote memos about imaginary problems and suggested solutions.  We collaborated about potential pitfalls the solutions might incur.  We established files and made sure each document found its rightful place so we could retrieve it when necessary.  When the President asked his assistant for the Ribar file (the name of one of our neighbors) whoever was the assistant that day would adeptly retrieve the Ribar file from our makeshift “file cabinet” and deliver it as requested.  The President would review it quickly and discuss any “new news” with his assistant and decide how to proceed next. 

We would pretend to make an appointment with Mrs. Ribar and actually role-play about how we would handle the discussion with Mrs. Ribar when she came in.  We’d flip a coin to see who would be the client and who would be the President.  When it came time for the actual appointment, (about 3 minutes after we flipped the coin), Mrs. Ribar would knock on our bedroom door (the office) and be seated on the edge of one of our twin beds.  The President would sit in front of her on one of our office chairs and present an overview of the problem and the solution as she saw it.  Of course, Mrs. Ribar would respond differently than how we role-played it just because we were sisters, competitive, and torturous of each other. 

It was up to the President to take what she had to say into consideration, decide if it had merit, and either change the solution or incorporate the factors into the solution, or start all over and create a completely new solution. 

When we first began our bedroom office, we didn’t have a company name nor did we know what our company did other than solve problems.  Granted, they were silly neighborhood related problems, but they were problems and we were creating solutions, even if the real neighbors didn’t really know about them.

When we were in our “office” it was all very real to us.  Little did we know that what we were doing was called Customer Service and that we were trading places as administrative assistant to the President.

We often retrieved the paperwork when a solution had an outcome we didn’t consider and scolded ourselves for not considering it and put corrective action in place so we wouldn’t repeat the error again.  All this when we were only kids!

Little did I know at that point that we were laying the foundation for a career in solving problems and providing the best customer service we could, first time, every time!


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