Introverts and Customer Service

The jury is still out on whether or not I’m an introvert or extrovert; I have characteristics of both. I definitely do have social anxiety, which makes both extroversion and introversion even harder to work with.

Despite that social anxiety and despite my introverted tendencies, I have always been great at customer service. Even if I can’t keep up a conversation comfortably with even my best of friends, I can go into a coffee shop or restaurant and charm the pants off of almost anyone.

I’ve tried to explain this to many coworkers and customers who don’t believe that I’m socially anxious when out of uniform. The most common thing I liken it to is acting; there’s a general script to those kinds of jobs, and I just figure out how to improvise within that motif!

You don’t just have to take my word for it. There are countless success stories of people who have made tremendous success for their lives as introverts.

It seems counter-intuitive because of our common associations with leadership and deal-making qualities. Most industries also rely strongly on networking, the ability to make lasting connections and reconnect to utilize them to advance business.

One way that introverts seriously contribute to any industry is through their quiet and often creative reserve; if, as an introvert, you can channel your observational skills and constant internal-thought delving into tools for success. You can learn how people function, what makes them tick, how they work; you can solve problems and plan.

Networking is easier now because you can email and utilize social media, you can text as well. These options give you time to plan what you’re going to say, edit it down to how it sounds best to you, and contact people when you’re comfortable and satisfied you can handle it.

Bill Gates is one of the most famous introverts. He encourages his fellow introverts to embrace their characteristics instead of just trying to change them to form a closed-minded idea about the extroverted success. As an entrepreneur or inventor, being able to take time alone to research and contemplate a problem fully often gives you a serious advantage over sometimes rash decision-making or social distractions.

As an introvert, you are at least perceived as more level-headed than emotionally dynamic extroverts may be; you can embrace that in a way that makes you come off as fair, attentive and calming to comrades and employees. Being able to keep your cool is often vital in economic, personal and business decision-making, among other things.

As an introvert, you may want to look for more extroverted or ambiverted characters to build or run your business with; they will balance your characteristics, perhaps achieving the networking or speech-making required of a leadership position, and communicating your brilliant, introverted ideas. The right people can also bring out your social skills, so surrounding yourself with people you’re comfortable with so that you can communicate your own ideas and impress potential investors or inspire your employees in a way that you might not otherwise be able to.

Contrarily, you can take social lessons, finding coping mechanisms that allow you to socialize when you need to. For example, planning your time outside of work so that you get plenty of rejuvenating alone time will allow you to maximize your socializing abilities when it is most important that you are on socially.

The most important lesson is to know who you are and how you function and to embrace that, working with it or working to correct it to optimize your success!

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18 Comments

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  1. As an introverted/customer service oriented person, this article totally resonated with me! It is so true that you need to be careful to plan time outside of work to rejuvenate your spirit-all that talking can be super draining!
    Keep surprising people, fellow introverts 🙂

  2. I am also an introvert who once worked in a call center. To my surprise, I was pretty good at the job. I think because I could focus on the situation and on helping the customer, while some of my extroverted co-workers would get caught up in chit-chat and forget what the issue was. But yes, introverts can be great at customer service.

  3. I can relate to this article because I am also an introvert. For me, there are pros and cons of being an introvert. But what is important is that as an individual who aims for success in life, sometimes, we need to leave our comfort zone and explore the things around us especially if it can help us grow as a person.

  4. I’m an introvert as well, though I always found that I could be surprisingly charismatic while in uniform. I definitely agree with the part about it being like acting; it feels like you’re playing the role of a server, rather than yourself. I also think that when you’re in a position of authority, like a store owner or manager, then it would be easier to act more confident and extroverted, even though it would be much more draining.

  5. In my opinion, introverts can be great coffee shop owners. Since they mostly pass their time at home, and mainly on the computer, they have a vast knowledge of many different subject which can help while managing a business.
    The shy nature used to be a problem, but with social media and the whole Internet era, I don’t think its difficult to work without having to communicate a lot with people directly.
    Also, in most cases, introverts are very creative people, which can contribute greatly if the coffee shop caters to artists or the teenage population, as mentioned in the previous articles. Besides, PBFY offers custom made packaging, so when it comes to interesting packaging, introverts can prove to be the best at it.

  6. Great information! I had this problem too when I was working as a seller two years ago, I have always been great at work and very extroverted but outside of work I was introvert and don’t talk much, but I really enjoyed reading this article and it really helped me.

  7. I am an interesting blend between an introvert and an extrovert, so this article was just what I needed to read! As someone who deals with customers on a daily basis, I find that my personality actually helps me help them feel drawn in and comfortable. I am naturally friendly, but usually quiet, so I use this strength in my line of work. I can relate to the writer, in that when I’m in uniform, I take on my role with a smile and feel very confident in my ability to be successful.
    At the end of the day, however, I want nothing more than to relax in the quiet and comfort of my home and recharge from the busy-ness of people all around.

  8. Introverts are often very polite, so I don’t think they are troublesome enough to be a concern for customer service. As a serviceman, an introvert may not chat up your customers much, but they will be much more professional in their tasks. Indeed, introverts and extroverts can have varied pro’s and cons. The jury’s out which one is more likely to visit a coffee shop, but I know a lot of introverts who treat coffee shops like a safe haven.

  9. I think a lot of people are confused with what introverts are. Introverts aren’t necessarily quiet and have social anxiety. Introverts generally get exhausted when faced with social interactions and get more energy by spending time alone.
    The author doesn’t sound like he has social anxiety either as he is “great at customer service”. People with social anxiety find customer service related jobs stressful. The said work could even prompt a panic attack. What I think he means is that he’s more confident when he takes on his job during customer service.

    Ah, sorry for the mental illness correction. I’m quite particular! Haha!

    Anyhow, I think that being an introvert or extrovert isn’t so much of a big deal when it comes to customer service. As an introvert myself, I find it important for my colleagues to let me have my alone time every now and then when I’m at work.

    I highly recommend colleagues take a Myers-Brigg Test. It really helps in learning how to work with your fellow colleagues, and for supervisors to know how to position themselves.

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