My Left or Your Left?


With approximately 2.3 million Americans working as customer service representatives, it is one of the fastest growing and largest occupations in the U.S.

My brother is one of those customer service representatives. He has worked at a well-known television provider for the past year and a half, and in that time he acquired not only an “employee of the month” award, but several interesting stories to share over dinner.

Like the time a man called in because he was having difficulty with his television service. My brother instructed him to look behind the receiver box to make sure a cable on the left-hand side was connected tightly.

“My left or your left?” the customer asked, “I’m right handed.”

My brother was confused by the question because he was talking to the man on the phone; however, without missing a beat he replied, “Your left.” And with that the man fixed the problem and hung up, satisfied with his service.

Or another time when a woman called in because her remote control kept making a loud beeping noise. My brother explained to her that the remote was not capable of beeping so the noise must be coming from somewhere else.

“It’s definitely coming from the remote!” the woman claimed.

My brother instructed her to remove the remote batteries. Although the beeping continued after she removed the batteries, the woman still insisted the remote was the culprit. Finally, my brother convinced her to put the remote on her front porch to see if the beeping continued in the house. It’s at that time she discovered the noise was coming from her smoke detector.

I think my brother’s success in handling situations like these is due mostly to his personality – the way he relates to customers, remains calm, and acts in a dependable manner. Even when asked ridiculous questions, my brother remains friendly and polite, and leaves customers satisfied with their service. Also, he doesn’t lose his cool. Although he encounters angry customers on a daily basis, he stays calm and collected and doesn’t take it personally. Finally, he’s dependable. He shows up to work on time and works hard while there.

As the demand for customer service representatives grows, so does the need for companies to staff people like my brother who display the personality characteristics related to successful performance.