I used to love customer service. I had worked at a family hotel for the better part of ten years. I always had found it easy to make someone's day just by being myself, even if it could be difficult to please absolutely everyone that you came across.
Being off work during the COVID-19 pandemic after the birth of my second child was extremely difficult for my mental health. I tend to know myself better than most people think. I just tried desperately to return to my old position a lot earlier than what would have been deemed appropriate by most people for a single stay-at-home mom. However, that never changed how I felt being away from people this whole year, due to advice given to me by family and friends.
Returning back to work after my second maternity leave, I relished the customer interactions. I enjoyed making people smile again. You couldn't always see the smiles behind the masks, but I loved seeing their eyes crinkle and hearing the sounds of their laughter.
Things had become drastically different in my perspective from when I returned back to my old front desk clerk position. And I am not even talking about the COVID-19 policies that had been set in carefully into place. I mean I am talking about almost every single person that I was coming across after my return, between my customers and coworkers, was just struggling. I had felt like a grief counselor at times as a lot of our guests were coming for funeral arrangements and hospital stays.
But just to be clear, just getting the opportunity to serve coffee from behind the front desk counter, getting to know my guests and their problems again, and wish them well on their days, started to make me feel more like a person again, after a long time of not feeling like myself.
I enjoyed sharing stories with the customers. When I returned back to work, an old senior friend of mine had started becoming a returning client of the inn. That astonished me because he had even recognized me after a whole year and lacking the baby bump. In just one conversation with that man, back then, I had never ever felt more seen by a single person. It makes my heart happy that he continues to bring back business to the hotel. It really does. A lot of times, you could tell that someone was just as lonely as you were.
In an odd way, a hotel can kind become of like your family. We have had a long term-customer bring a wine barrel to place in front of the business because he enjoyed the redecorating that was going on at the time of his stay. We had placed a reserved sign up for him specifically because of his own requests and it was his way of returning some generosity back. I learnt from the best in my opinion. I really do like to think that my past job as a front desk hotel clerk has impacted people because I know damn well I used to leave work feeling almost high off of the fact that I made people's days feel brighter. The utter best compliment that had ever been passed along to me throughout the years I experienced there was this: "You can't teach what that girl has." It was given to my general manager by a man who taught customer service for a living and she had felt the need to pass it along to me back then. It changed my life. I really enjoy trying to inspire people with my customer service skills. Most people need that smile at the end of the day and that is what really matters.