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Career Story: Customer Service Representative For A Finance Company

Customer Service Representative For A Finance Company

Job Title: Customer Service Representative

Type of Company: I worked for a stock transfer agent.

Education: BS, Management Information Systems

Previous Experience: I worked as a child care aide prior to my current job. Before that I worked for a large financial institution as a help desk supervisor.

Job Tasks: The primary object of my current job is to provide quality customer service to any shareholder who calls the company. I can be called upon to explain how to fill out forms, or provide addresses for mailed correspondence, to send out duplicate transaction statements, or explain transactions, how to buy and sell shares of stock, even how to change who the stock was registered to. But I had to get training to do this. It didn't come naturally. I had to take a five-week, 30 hour-a-week general training course first. Most people would have received on-the-job training, but not at my company. They want you to hit the ground walking, if not running, when they put you to work. We had to pass tests with certain minimum grades just to stay in the training program. Part of what I was "graded" on was simply coming to work on time and taking my breaks when scheduled. They called it "conformance." Another crucial element was (believe it or not) empathy. Many calls were from a family that had lost a loved one who was a shareholder. We had to express our condolences every time or we would be marked down for it when that phone call was reviewed by management.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is reuniting people with their money! Sometimes we lose track of shareholders. They move and don't update us. Our company would do searches for people and their families and once we found them, their joy and surprise at learning of the bounty in their names....well, they were happy to say the least.

The worst? Irate customers. If you can learn how to deal with them without losing your cool, you'll be golden. A sad part of the job is when people call up asking for assistance with the holdings of someone who's died.

Job Tips:
1. Patience is a virtue. If you can keep your head while others around you are losing theirs, you'll still have a head.

2. Be willing to be a problem solver and to go out of your way to give great customer service. But don't overstep your bounds and do someone else's job.

3. General advice? Be open to re-inventing yourself career-wise. Don't get stuck in a job that that career test told you you were suited for. Those tests are often wrong. You may not think you can be a salesman, but you might find if you applied yourself that you had what it takes.

4. Read Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and apply the principles to your daily life. The biggest point I remember from the book is: when you are wrong, admit it.

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