Customer Care — Excelling in the “Solving Peoples’ Problems” Business
Not long ago, most people didn’t view customer service as the stuff to build careers around. But in 2017, with e-commerce everywhere and consumer access, choice and control over seemingly everything, a certain type of people-person can secure a rewarding career in the evolving world of customer care.
Love and careers
“I was living in suburban New Jersey when I met my wife almost five years ago,” Anderson Deshommes mentioned right after we started speaking. “She was living in Michigan. We fell in love, and were married. That’s when I moved to Michigan and started looking for work in customer care. I had my bachelors in business administration and my earliest jobs, although I didn’t realize it fully at the time, had been preparing me well for a job helping people solve problems.”
“Rebecca reached out to my wife with a job opportunity, customer care within the executive office at a very large appliance brand. But my wife had already started work at another company. So, she took a chance on me, lined me up for an interview and the rest is history!”
As often happens in life, we get thrown curves when we least expect them. Anderson described what happened next.
“My wife’s job didn’t work out, and we were down to just my income. This was in January of 2016, and I had only been at my new job for a little more than a month. I reached back out to Rebecca to see if the company needed anyone else in customer care. It turns out they did, and Rebecca scheduled an interview for my wife for a customer care job working with the retailer channel. Before you know it, we were commuting to work together, in the same line of work at the same company.”
“We were extremely lucky, as Rebecca knew my wife’s skills as well as she knew mine. It’s a total double success story. Rebecca and Jon took a chance on us and my wife and I decided we were going to make it work — and we did,” Anderson recounted with what we now recognized was a genuinely understated humility.
The buck stops here
Our work at Aerotek with customer service representatives ranges across every type of industry and role. But we were curious to learn what customer care looked like within the executive offices of a large multinational company.
Anderson filled us in. “People might have a problem with their appliance — a washing machine, a blender, a refrigerator for instance. Sometimes they will escalate their issue by either writing a letter directly to the CEO or by contacting the Better Business Bureau or local Attorney General. As you can imagine, complaints and problems at this level get some very serious attention.”
“My job is to write letters or emails back to these consumers and, in most cases, reach out and make direct phone contact. We have a pretty simple rule — there’s no other upward path to escalation. When it comes to helping these consumers resolve their problem, the buck stops with me and my office.”
In the “solving people’s problems” business
Clearly, Anderson’s role comes with a significant level of responsibility. He agreed, saying, “Yes, that’s one of the things about the job I really love. You’re representing the company. You’re representing, often literally, the company’s CEO. Sometimes people will reach out on social media, posting their complaint or problem on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram to get our attention. When this happens, my job is to immediately reach out and let them know we’re going to resolve their problem.”
“In a way, I’m in the ‘solving people’s problems’ business, and I find it really rewarding.”
Career pathing in care
Anderson Deshommes is clearly one of those people for whom a career in customer care is made to order. We wondered about his earlier training and jobs that led him to his current role.
“As I mentioned, I think I’ve been training for this for much of work life. I worked at a large drugstore chain as the floor manager helping people with whatever they needed. I worked at a large global food company as an administrative assistant helping to support internal people. It was when I was getting my BA in business administration and working on the help desk at the college that I realized how gratifying it was for me to help people when they’re in need of assistance.”
When we asked Anderson what his future career plan looked like he didn’t hesitate. “Well I love the company I’m with. Aerotek placed me as a contractor almost exactly a year ago and now I’m a full-time direct employee. I plan on sticking around. My next step is to move into a care advisor management role. I’m looking forward to leading a team here of twenty or thirty customer care professionals.”
Raised this way
People like Anderson, with their strong sense of character and integrity, are usually well-formed before they even get to college or work. We asked Anderson about his background and were inspired by his response.
“I was born in Haiti and came to the U.S., settling in New Jersey, with my family when I was thirteen. I come from a humble hard-working family. We never had much, but one thing we were taught was to always put other people first. Immigrant families like mine also teach their kids to pick something you want to be and stick with it. I think the line of work I’ve chosen gives me a chance to do both.”
Speaking on the motivation behind his drive and success, Anderson added, “I attribute much of my success to God’s grace and to the work ethic of my mother and my wife’s perseverance. Each milestone I hit is due in part to their support.”
Next generation Andersons
We asked Anderson what sort of advice he’d offer young professionals just starting their careers today in 2017. “In America, there is almost endless opportunity. I would tell the young adult starting out today to choose a career working in something that you truly love. But it should also be one that you can imagine yourself still loving five or even ten years from now. Will you still enjoy it then? That’s the key. The other key is this: Don’t go after the money, go after what you have a passion for. If you’re good at it, the money will follow.”
Anderson Deshommes inspired us deeply with his candid, humble and passionate take on careers in customer care. If you’ve got what Anderson has, we’d love to work with you. Please check our current customer care opportunities and if you haven’t already, we invite you to create your free Aerotek career account.
Anderson Deshommes appears courtesy of Account Manager Elan Buckingham.