Job Profile - Customer Assistant
Today’s interview is with a Customer Assistant working on checkouts in a supermarket. This is a part time job working evenings and weekends. “A typical Saturday at work involves me getting to the supermarket to be ready to go by 10am, it usually already very busy by this point to I go to a checkout given to me by a team leader. I then take a couple of minutes to set up the checkout and check the till and then begin serving, until about midday; when someone comes and takes over my till for 15 minutes while I have a cup of tea! After my break I go back to my team leader to see which till they would like me on next, sometimes this is a main till; other times this could be manning the 6 self-service tills we have or the 4 scan as you shop machines. I usually do this for a couple of hours before having a lunch break. I have one final 15 minute tea break about 2 hours before the end of my shift, and when I come back from this I either go back on a till, or, if it is quiet, I do other jobs, such as getting rid of damage or waste produce, or retuning stock. I then finish at 7pm.”
In this job “being personable and friendly is definitely important, you really have to like people, because when it is busy you are talking to them all day! You also have to be quite resilient, although the vast majority of people are kind and understanding, some customers, for whatever reason, are either in a rush or having a bad day, and will take it out on you by being impatient and rude, so you have to be prepared to let things like that go over your head and move on! You also need to be efficient, as when it is busy you have to really get a move on!”
When asked about the role, our interviewee said that “interaction with people, especially those that become regulars and you get a chance to build a rapport with people,” is one of the most enjoyable things about it, as well as the other staff; “when you are working weekends and other unsociable shifts (bank holidays etc.) it is really nice to know you are in the same boat with other people, everybody I work with is really friendly, and will do whatever they can to help out a colleague.” However, the downsides can include “working shifts that the rest of your family and friends have off can be annoying, like weekends and bank holidays, but having time off in the week can be a bonus.”
We asked each person what they would be looking for in an application if they were to be employing someone for their role. For a Customer Assistant; “Qualifications probably aren't massively important (the till does all the adding up and tells how much change to give), more important is being friendly, approachable, kind, caring and conscientious. Again, experience may help, but it is definitely not required, a lot of the weekend staff where I work are college students, and this is their first job, so most of them don't have any experience before they start.”
Martin Luther King Jr.