Why My First Internship – In Customer Service – Was So Valuable

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If you’re on TalentEgg, you probably already know the significance of having a bunch of real, career-oriented internships listed on your resume.

Not only do these internships and co-op placements help you in gaining valuable work experience, but they also help you to get your foot in the door, make some valuable contacts while you’re at it, and show future employers the type of work that you’re capable of doing when you finally go in to get that full-time job.

My first internship experience was with a U.S.-based cloud computing company in Toronto during the summer between my second and third year of university.

The first day of my internship

On my first day, I shadowed my friendly supervisor – a Customer Service Representative – on the job. She showed me the basic computer applications that the company utilized in its day-to-day operations, the company’s policies and procedures, introduced me to several office staff and key personnel, which helped me to familiarize myself with the company’s inter-linked departments, and gave me an overall feel for the organization’s corporate culture.

My job duties and responsibilities

After I received training in the use of the company’s applications, my main responsibility was processing basic online customer request cases, such as data entry, emailing invoices, resolving bounce-back emails, and updating account information. I assisted with a practical review and update of ‘process documents’ which are step-by-step instructions on how to handle each type of customer case.

I was also given the task of data collection, sorting, analysis and presentation of results for an internal customer opinion survey that we conducted for all sales departments to determine the effectiveness of the working relationship between the customer service department and the sales departments. In addition, I participated in special projects and attended several team meetings.

What I learned from the internship

Through this job experience, I was able to pick up a lot of skills, such as effective communication and customer service, IT and analytical skills, and brush up on my professional business writing skills. I had the opportunity to listen in on customer service calls taken by my supervisor and, through this process, I was able to observe how she managed clients and problem-solved effectively to avoid escalations, verified client information through general conversation, looked for sales opportunities with all clients, and provided professional and polite but competent service.

I also had the opportunity to job shadow with the collections team, where I learned the company’s procedures on reducing the risk of redundant accounts receivable and how they dealt with problematic customers.

Some perks and extras of the internship

I enjoyed working on a company-provided laptop in a comfortable, modernly-furnished office and, of course, enjoying free coffee and snacks!

I also got to participate in a volunteer event where a team of us when down to the downtown Toronto Heart and Stroke Foundation to volunteer a few hours of our time completing data entry.

Saying goodbye to my first internship

In the final days of my internship, I enjoyed a company-sponsored trip out to the ferry docks with the customer service department to celebrate the company’s quarter end.

On the last day of my two-month internship, I presented my supervisor with a gift of two tea products, as I had learned that she was a tea enthusiast. This is just one example of a simple gesture you can do to show your gratitude to the employer, and help them remember you even when you’ve left the job.

In my case, I eventually contacted my supervisor again and she was more than happy to write me a reference letter that helped me score a scholarship.

Some final tips

When your hard work on the job hunt pays off and you finally land that amazing internship, make it truly worth it.

Show initiative on the job, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and take the time to interact with your co-workers and make valuable contacts.

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