Learning On The Job in Automotive Customer Service
In all of the articles that I’ve written so far about automotive customer service, I’ve often mentioned how customer service representatives are located in a very unique position within the automotive business. The reason behind this is because of how customer service is the line that separates the inside of the business with customers and the outside world.
There are many benefits of working in automotive customer service, but in this article we’ll look at why this position affords you a very unique learning opportunity.
In many other roles, your responsibilities may only involve interacting with a small group of people. When you’re working in customer service for an automotive business, however, you will interact with customers, technical teams, as well as teams such as Marketing, Finance, and even the management team!
This allows you to be exposed to multiple perspectives within the automotive business, and with exposure comes great learning and understanding.
So how do you take advantage of this opportunity? Here are four simple strategies:
Pay attention to the experts
Within any single team, there are those who are leaders and experts, even if they don’t necessarily carry that title. Some people take their job more seriously than others and therefore have a deeper understanding of the role they play and how the work is done.
Pay attention to all the people you interact with, and after long enough it should be obvious to you who the true experts are. Those are the people who you need to spend more time around, as much as possible. Those are the ones that you need to invest time and energy into building a strong relationship with, because if you are successful, you’ll be able to slowly develop a mentor-mentee relationship with them!
Don’t be afraid to make friends in your automotive work environment; sure, some people may not be interested in teaching someone else, but most people are more than happy to share their knowledge with you. Most people love the opportunity to help others understand how they work and how they contribute to the business’ success.
Ask questions and reflect
Always ask questions. Of course, it’s important to be polite; being too pushy when asking questions might make other people feel defensive. Generally speaking, ask questions for the purpose of understanding things better, especially from the perspectives of people who know more about it than you do.
When you’ve developed the habit of asking good questions, people will also develop a stronger sense of respect for you. The fact that you are asking important questions also has the added benefit of showing others that you care and that you want to learn, instead of simply wanting to do the bare minimum in your role.
Don’t just ask other people questions. Sometimes, you have to pose the same questions to yourself; that’s known as ‘reflecting’ on something. For example, if you’re wondering why a certain process is done in your automotive organization, start by asking yourself why YOU think it’s important that process exists. Train your mind to think for itself, and strengthen your understanding by asking other people questions as well.
Practice critical thinking
As you ask yourself those questions and think, be sure to engage in what they call ‘critical thinking’. What that means is asking yourself important questions which force you to think hard about the situation at hand.
For instance, in the example above I encourage you to ask yourself ‘why’ a certain process might be important to your business. Take it a few steps further. Why is that process important? Who does that process benefit? What can we do to improve that process?.
It might be challenging at first but developing the ability to ask yourself these questions (and by extension, ask other people as well) gives you a more complete, more holistic understanding of the topic you’re learning about.
After long enough, not only will you be learning from experts, but by practicing critical thinking YOU will soon become an expert yourself!
Write it down
If you’re learning, writing it down helps you learn and remember things much better. Typing it out into a document might work for some, but the whole point is to tie your learning to a physical activity such as putting pen to paper.
Working in automotive customer care will always be a challenging role. Having said that, if you are able to make the most of your position, you will learn so much that will benefit you over the long term throughout your career in the automotive industry.