In our world today, we seek to advance our careers, or search for a career path which is more appealing. Sometimes, we desire to advance at the company which employs us. I have worked as a customer service representative at my current employer for eight years. Recently, my employer posted a job within the call center for a Senior Customer Service Representative. Senior representatives provide guidance on difficult situations, handle escalated phone calls, and train new hires. I felt my background in customer service, and positive rapport with colleagues would make me a good fit for the position.
The process to become a senior customer service representative is rigorous. Each applicant must pass a stringent written exam which involves essay-style responses to scenario-based questions. Upon passing this exam, applicants prepare an oral presentation on a work-related topic which demonstrates the applicant’s ability to teach a new hire. Following the presentation, the applicant is asked questions by call center supervisors and human resources representatives. Responses to these questions are factored into the decision on whether the applicant would be suitable for the senior level opportunity.
The stringent guidelines were just one hurdle for me to overcome. I also had to consider whether the database programs used by senior customer service representatives would be accessible. After submitting an application for the position, I met with customer service supervisors and with a current senior representative to review the specific job duties. We realized that a few screens in a database would require specialized JAWS scripting, and the company hired a consultant to work on this project. We also discussed that providing side-by-side training might be more difficult as I will not be able to see the computer screen of the person I’m teaching. However, I can evaluate the coworker on their tone and overall interaction with the customer. We also brainstormed questions I could ask the trainee either during or after the phone call to ensure he/she was using the best computer screen to respond to that customer’s inquiry. This proactive dialogue helped everyone feel more comfortable, and ensured, through minor alterations, the job would be possible.
After numerous hours of studying, I passed the four-hour written exam. Utilizing Braille notes, I delivered a clear, thorough, and humorous presentation which was well-received by attendees. As a result, I am fully qualified for the position, and am elated to have the opportunity to assist colleagues.
Thinking Outside the Box
Throughout the application process, I have realized the value of keeping an open mind, collaborating with supervisors, and being willing to strategize about how to accomplish a specific task. I am extremely grateful to my employer, who values diversity, and welcomed my perspectives on how to make this opportunity accessible. As a result of a team-oriented approach, I am advancing within the call center of a highly regarded utility company.