So I was excited about going out into the "real" environment. I knew that the things I'd been taught in training wouldn't set in until I'd actually done them myself for a customer.
It's so much harder than it looks! I spent most of Monday getting all my passwords in order. There are so many different sites we have to be on and a different username and password for each one. Some passwords can be simple. But some have to be complicated because they involve money. Those passwords have to have a combination of letters (upper and lower case), symbols and numbers. Everything is case sensitive. My simple six letter password that I use for most things just wouldn't do. Some of the passwords are assigned to me and I haven't had time or inclination to change them. So I have a list of my usernames and passwords which I have to refer to each time I go on a site. The sites that are web-based time out on you so you have to go back into them each time.
The other problem I had on Monday was getting the computer to recognize me! Because I was new on that computer, some of the sites wouldn't give me access. I had to go out and back into it.....I guess I was trying to trick it into thinking it knew me! The poor guys in IT heard from us way too many times yesterday and today!
At the end of the day yesterday, I asked my supervisor (who is also my friend Sylvie) if I could wait on customers and do some transactions. I was getting itchy to do something productive. She said I could do whatever I felt comfortable with. So today I tried to get in there and handle some customers. The first guy who came in had a simple problem. I was able to take care of him.....all by myself!! I was quite proud of myself. However, I'm pretty sure that's the last customer I helped without having to ask for help myself.
Some of the help I needed was because of problems with the computer. But most of it was just help doing the things I'd been taught but hadn't done with a live customer yet. I felt stupid having to ask for help in almost everything I did. Not that anyone seemed to mind. The people I work with are extremely helpful and very friendly. I just wanted to be able to accomplish something on my own.
My next-to-last customer was the worst. He came in and said he wanted to go to Quebec, but not by the most direct route. He wanted to go via Route 3. I dutifully wrote that down on our order sheet, but didn't know what he was talking about. I had no idea what Route 3 was about. After the customer left, I took out a map and started looking at it. Route 3 is extremely round-about. Did he want to go East? West? Did he want to follow Route 3 the whole way? Did he want to return along the same route or come home direct? I had neglected to ask him any of these questions. I had broken the cardinal rule of AAA - We are not order-takers. We are counselors. I should have opened the map right there in front of him and discussed the route he wanted to take.....talked to him about the pros and cons of going that way, etc. But I didn't. So I had to call him to ask him what he wanted. But the number we had in our membership file was disconnected. He had no phone number on whitepages.com. My supervisor had left to go to another office. Now I have to wait until tomorrow for her to help me out of this mess. Dammit!
The good thing was - my last customer made me feel better. She came in to pay her bill....which I accomplished with only one question for my co-worker. Then she asked for a tour book of RI where she is going on Thursday. I gladly got that for her. Then she started talking about how she was going to the Naval Base in Newport and she wasn't sure how to get there and she hadn't had much luck with Yahoo maps. (Yahoo, Google and Mapquest are dirty words in our business). I told her we could make her a map that would take her directly to the Naval Base. She was thrilled. She thanked me more than once.
Now hopefully I can make the map tomorrow without too much trouble and without having to ask any co-workers for help. If only it were as easy as this: