Over the past week, I’ve been learning a lot about the world of customer success, customer service, and everything in between. And I came to this conclusion:
Pessimists make great candidates for customer success jobs.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Isa, how could a negative mindset lead to a positive customer experience?” Just hear me out.
In general, being categorized as a pessimist isn’t all that great. Take it from me ––your resident pessimist. Everyone’s always telling me to look on the bright side and to think positive and that’s generally great advice for most things in life.
But I found a loophole.
In my case being a pessimist means that I imagine all the things that could go wrong in any possible scenario. (My anxiety kinda plays a role in that one as well but that’s a story for another time.) The point is, I’m always thinking and preparing for everything that could go wrong before it happens.
I remember this one time I was working with a team of makeup artists for a local fashion show, and if there’s anything you need to know about fashion shows, it’s that they’re chaotic. People running around from left to right, last-minute preparations, an hour to put makeup on 20+ models. Chaos I tell you!
To top it all off, my boss was very firm and adamant that we made sure everything looked as perfect as possible. Usual makeup artist protocol. And right before the models arrived, he reminded us to pop some gum in our mouths to keep our breath fresh. At this request, all of my teammates looked at each other confused. Who would keep gum in their makeup kit?
Yup, you guessed it!
Well, I didn’t have gum. I had mints which are way better because they eliminate the loud chewing sound that might disturb the models. The point is, I had mints in my kit because I was able to foresee bad breath as a potential problem. And everyone else was too focused on the makeup to think about the models. Except for me.
The next time I worked with the team, my boss remembered me as ‘mint girl’ and saved me a high chair for my models to sit in. If you’re in the makeup artist industry, you know how important high chairs are! Who knew mints could make such a lasting impression?
The point is, I’m always over-prepared for anything that comes my way.
And it’s this exact skill that makes me a great candidate for a customer success position.
Customer success usually gets a bad reputation but it is so much more than just dealing with Karens who wanna speak to the manager. It’s more than just answering emails and taking calls all day.
Customer success is all about making the customer’s experience easier and successful. It’s about creating a relationship with the customer and making them feel part of something bigger than themselves. Customer success is the key to retaining and building a loyal customer base. It’s a pivotal piece to a thriving company.
Finding solutions to a customer’s problems is a key part of customer success. And pessimists are remarkable problem-solvers. Pessimists figure out the answers to the questions that haven’t been asked and find solutions to problems that don’t yet exist. We can do it in our sleep. We might as well get paid for it!
The key is to frame your pessimist tendencies positively. Instead of saying: “I always assume the worst and have no hope for the future” go with: “I think about what could go wrong before it goes wrong. So I can fix it before it even needs to be fixed.”
If you’re a pessimist, I know this might sound like no big deal to you. And I’m sure that problem-solving might even be a burden at times. But it’s a valuable skill that people are always trying to develop. And one that hiring managers actively seek. You already have it! Now all you have to do is put it to good use!
So, when embarking on your customer success journey, you should think as a pessimist would. Prepare to foresee problems that customers may encounter, and be proactive in finding solutions. If you do that, you’ll become an irreplaceable customer success employee.
And who wouldn’t want that?