Just starting your career?
Stationed in a small economy lacking professional opportunities in your field?
Looking for part-time or seasonal work?
Looking for a remote position you can PCS with?
Want flexible work?
Customer service can offer all this and much more.
Customer Service—Is it as simple as it sounds?
Yes… and no.
Customer service is essentially a label that covers any position that helps to serve a customer’s needs. However, the definition of customer service has expanded beyond jobs in brick-and-mortar locations.
Customer service positions may require that the agent provide general information to the customer, sales and ordering
support, activation support, troubleshooting support, customer care related to delivery of service or accessing services… you get the idea. Individuals who work in customer service are a liaison between the customer and the company, they exist to make sure that both parties get what they need in a timely, professional, manner while representing the company’s brand.
Customer service positions can also serve as a platform to build a host of transferable knowledge, such as working as a part of a team, time management, and the ability to communicate clearly, no matter the situation.
Customer service positions have a lot to offer. If you are looking for a remote position or a potentially PCS-proof position, customer service might be right for you. Some positions offer flexibility, allowing you to choose which shifts you work. If you have other skill sets and experience, customer service positions are often available if you are stationed in locations where there aren’t many career opportunities. Companies often increase their customer service staff at the holidays, so customer service can appeal to individuals just looking for extra cash at the holidays too.
Where can you find customer service jobs?
The short answer is everywhere. Any organization that provides clients with a good or service will require a variety of service-oriented positions. Almost all industries have a customer service aspect to them—whether it be information technology, sales, higher education, or healthcare. Both large companies (like Amazon and Apple) and small companies (like your local shops) have a need for customer service representatives.
What do customer service jobs look like?
While customer service comes in all shapes and sizes, the jobs themselves tend to focus on aspects of the sales/service delivery process, including:
- Ordering/Sales Support: helping customers make their purchase.
- Activation Support: providing the customer with access to the product.
- Problem/Troubleshooting Support: helping the customer with any problem along the way, including tracking a purchase, replacing a broken item, accessing an online platform, et al.
- Customer Care: helping the customer in any general way, possibly providing triage to connect them with the right resource to resolve their problem, provide them support, or accept their compliments.
Many of the skills required in customer service positions are soft skills. Depending on the level of technicality a position entails, employees may need a high level of proficiency in a product type or technical field. Still, many companies provide training to get their employees up to date on products and processes. So, for a starting position in customer service, it’s most important to have the following skills/traits:
- Good communication skills, especially listening and speaking
- Empathy and a willingness to “hear” others
- Time management skills
- Ability to learn
- Problem solving skills
Sound like you? For additional skills, check out O*NET’s list at: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/43-4051.00
Career Progression and Growth
The Department of Labor reports growth at a rate of 5% through 2026, which is on par with most other areas of the economy. Individuals interested in growing their
profession in the field can become managers who direct teams or whole departments. There’s also the opportunity to become a customer service trainer who is responsible for orienting new employees and providing additional training on best practices to current employees.
Typically, entry-level customer service jobs require a high school diploma. Employees are trained on the job. However, you can gain additional training through IVMF’s VCTP program, which offers courses in Call Center Fundamentals and Customer Service Excellence. You can learn more about those courses here: http://onward2opportunity-vctp.org/course-offerings/
What Customer Service Can Offer Even if You Aren’t a Customer Service Professional
Even if you aren't a customer service professional, a role in customer service can provide you with a job in remote locations and portability. It can give you a chance to grow the soft skills that you often need in any career, and it can provide you with a professional life that many of us desire.
If you are interested in obtaining a position in the customer service field, speak with your employment specialist. CASY & MSCCN often have opportunities that may fit your needs.
Story by Jamie Boyle