Kelly Counselor's Conversations

A discussion about life and how school counseling fits into it all

Customer Service

on October 12, 2015

A few weeks ago my administrator called me into his office and asked me to read an email he received about me.  He recently had a received a negative email about the counseling program, and it came to his inbox two weeks after the fact to boot.

Isn’t it sad that I got three words in and started to say “uhhh…I think this is another one you got late, I really did work this out with mom and everything is good now!”

He stopped me and said, “Kelly, read it.”

It was a glowing compliment about the meeting I had with her earlier that day and how appreciative she was.  I felt like a million bucks.

My administrator told me how proud he was that I provided great customer service.  I felt that term was a little odd to use at the time, but upon further reflection, realized it made sense.  Why?

First, let’s stop for a second and just admit that these days, customer service sucks.  Your doctor is always trying to diagnose you as quickly as possible to rush into the next appointment.  The rep on the other line seems bored and monotone.

School counselors are the best customer service reps around, because we hold ourselves to a higher standard.  It’s hard and even downright annoying to do so some days, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We:

  1.  Listen not only to what the other person (parent) on the other line is saying, but try to understand the meaning behind it,
  2. Respond sympathetically at the right moments without interrupting, and
  3. Validate their concerns and try to collaborate to find a solution as best as possible.

What if all customer service reps were like this?  You’d be a repeat customer for years to come.

Whether you’re a school counselor or not, try to reflect on this- when you’re listening to someone, are you TRULY listening or just waiting for your turn to respond?  I didn’t realize how much I was the latter until my first year of graduate school when we had to practice active listening in groups.  It’s much easier said than done, but with a little honesty and a lot of practice, I think you’d find your relationships with those you serve would improve tremendously.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day!

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