How Leveling Up Customer Service at Barnes and Noble Led to My First Promotion

Everyone starts at a job in a different way. I go into everything I do with enthusiasm and dedication. I try really hard to be a hard worker and do everything I can. Anyone can do this with the right mindset. Your journey depends on what you are willing to do. I learned this at Barnes and Noble.

Starting at Barnes and Noble

When I first started as a bookseller at Barnes and Nobles, my managers told me it would take a full year to learn everything. There was a lot of information. It would take a while to feel confident and sure you could hold your own. 

I took this in stride and was determined to learn as much as I could. I asked lots of questions about how different sections worked and how to do a project. When I saw a display was missing something I would fix it without asking. I tried to go above and beyond what they asked me to do. I wanted to help them achieve their goal. 

Customer Service Skills

I learned quite a few skills while working. I started in the middle of Covid-19 so there was a new challenge of navigating all of the new health protocols and upholding these with our customers.  We required masks in all Barnes & Nobles stores, but some people didn’t want to wear them. I had to learn quickly how to deal with unhappy customers and how to diffuse tense situations. 

When speaking with an angry customer, I learned how to ask a lot of questions. This proved to be an effective method for making sure I fully understand the customer’s frustrations and made them feel heard. If the customer feels heard they are more likely to come out of the situation satisfied. 

Another skill I learned was how to keep smiling. When you keep a smile on your face people pick up on that, even if it’s subconsciously. Once I talked to a lady that didn’t want to wear her mask. It was hard but I tried to keep smiling the whole time. This situation was saved from a lot of tension and she left satisfied.   

How I Gained Trust

If you don’t show that people get to you it helps the situation. I always try to keep smiling and have a chipper attitude. This also helps your fellow employees. If you keep your spirits up and talk to them it can help make the day better. 

Volunteering for the job is even better. I volunteered for every job I could. I wanted to learn as much as I could and help out. When a project has been unfinished for a while I am asked to finish it. My managers knew they could count on me to finish it. 

Landing the Promotion

All of my hard work paid off! After just 9 months on the job, I was asked to be a trainer. We train new employees and show them the ropes. I had been trusted enough to train other employees and it hadn’t even been a year yet! I had learned where all the sections were and what books went where. I was an expert on cash registers. I knew all of the important skills a bookseller needs. 

My manager told me she was impressed with my commitment and hard work. She told me not everyone goes above and beyond as I had. It was rare and it made me trustworthy. That was why they made me a trainer. When you work hard and do the dirty work people notice. 

Taking on New Responsibilities 

With my new promotion came new responsibilities. I had to train new employees on a regular basis. This required them to follow me around for a whole shift and I would teach them how to use the cash registers, computers, and where the sections were. 

I was asked lots of questions by newer employees. Even if they were out of training they would still have a lot of questions. Someone would ask me where a section was and I would show them and try to help them remember for the future. If they didn’t know how to place an order I would walk them through it step by step. One time a coworker asked me how cookbooks were organized. Since I had helped with the organization I walked them through each of the sections. 

New responsibilities can be overwhelming. You might feel like you aren’t ready. One of the best ways to take on new responsibilities is don’t be afraid to ask for help from other employees. If you don’t know the answer to a question don’t just say you don’t know, say you can ask someone else and find out. Help the new employee out by taking over the situation. 

What’s Next For Me

Barnes and Noble was a very valuable job experience for me. All of the skills and responsibilities I gained are very important. 

  • Customer success
  • Teamwork
  • Organization 
  • The inner workings of a company
  • How to train someone how to do my job
  • Troubleshooting

I have customer success experience and that means I won’t have to start from scratch at a new job. Learning how a business works and troubleshooting will be valuable. I plan on continuing my job at Barnes and Noble and learning as many skills as I can. I’m ready to go wherever life takes me. Remember that every job will give you something valuable that will help further your career. 

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