From retail to road planing: the power of customer service

Operations Manager (Small Planers), Jade Rock, talks about the transferrable skills that can lead to a successful career switch.

The road planing and heavy industry sectors might appear worlds apart from the retail giant, Tesco. One involves restocking shelves and guiding customers through the grocery aisles, while the other revolves around construction, asphalt, and powerful machinery. At first glance, they seem like polar opposites, but there’s a surprising and fundamental connection that ties them together: the vital role of customer service.

My journey from Tesco to Jet Plant, a road planing specialist, has been nothing short of transformative. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I want to share my experiences to encourage other young females to consider careers in road planing, highways, or heavy industry.

During my educational years, I held a part-time position at Tesco, where I started as a customer service assistant and eventually became a tills lead manager. I even worked in different departments, from their shop to their opticians. Yet, my time there was not merely about scanning barcodes and restocking shelves; it was centred around making meaningful connections, understanding customers’ needs, and delivering a positive shopping experience.

It was the personal touch and the customer service I could offer that truly made a difference.

Jade Rock at desk

When I first joined Jet Plant, I had little knowledge of road planing and construction. I couldn’t fathom how my previous experience would be relevant in this new field. However, I quickly learned that road planing is not just about tearing up asphalt; it’s about utilising my customer service skills to ensure projects run smoothly and efficiently.

In both industries, understanding the needs of the customer is paramount. The ability to listen and adapt is universal and builds trust, which is the foundation of excellent customer service.

In road planing, this trust extends to clients and contractors, forming the bedrock of long-term relationships and successful project delivery. Similarly, going the extra mile for customers was a cornerstone of my time at Tesco. This mentality still guides me in road planing. Providing that extra effort for the client and ensuring the best results go a long way.

Road planing is not without its challenges. Problem-solving is a skill that transcends industry boundaries, and finding the solution that best benefits the customer is the key to maintaining strong relationships. We never leave a customer with a problem; we only leave them with a solution.

My journey from Tesco to Jet Plant has shown me that customer service skills are not industry-specific; they are life skills that can be applied in various settings. The ability to connect with people, empathise with their needs, and provide solutions is invaluable, no matter what industry you find yourself in.

The transition from the world of retail to road planing was challenging, but it has been an incredibly rewarding journey. I hope my story serves as an inspiration to other young women who might be considering a career in a male-dominated industry.

Your skills and experiences are transferable, and you can make a significant impact by bringing a fresh perspective and strong customer service skills to any field.

Read the other two employee insight blogs with our colleagues, here.

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