If you are a student or contemplating a career change, you know that there’s plenty of career advice out there. However, it tends to offer pointers on careers that are currently hot or that will be in the future. Some of these jobs are indeed great employment prospects, and some of them will be occupations that are extinct a decade from now. And then there are the “solid” jobs, jobs that offer vital services and are always in demand.
Customer service positions are proving to be the best of both worlds, offering a much in demand career that is projected to grow within the next decade. Read on to learn why customer service is definitely a field to consider.
1. Everyone Needs Assistance
Traditionally, this type of job processes and ships orders and handles complaints. But many non-business organizations are now taking “business” approaches towards how they handle their work. Federal, state, and municipal governments in particular are using service departments for everything from mailing out tourist brochures to resolving fines. While the duties of these departments often remain the same, the names have frequently been changed. Alternative names frequently used include:
- resolution team
- help or answer desk
- service department
Because skills acquired in this field can now be applied easily to either business or non-business positions, this means that transferring and promotional possibilities within this field are easier as well.
2. It’s A Great Way to Increase Your Overall Job Skills
Some individuals want to establish a career within this field. And while that’s fine, this type of job can provide a great launching pad to other types of work. The skills needed to be a service representative at the most basic level include:
- good communication skills
- ability to obtain desired products
- knowledge about products
- takes both positive and negative remarks well
These skills can be translated to other positions within the same or different departments. For example, the responsibilities and duties of sales associates include meeting and working with a variety of clients. An impressive knowledge of a product, including how to obtain it is also a must for a salesperson. A previous position as a customer representative can provide both education and training for future positions.
3. Educational Demands Are Reasonable
Among the issues with obtaining degrees through higher education these days are the amount of time and money involved. Generally, the only educational requirement for an entry level customer representative is a high school diploma. Any necessary training for the position is usually provided by or compensated for by the employer. Training that a customer representative might expect to receive includes:
- managing clients and calls
- stress reduction
- professional demeanor
- cross selling products
Courses are seldom more than a day and often include role and group exercises to enhance skills. Managerial positions within this field often require certificates or undergraduate degrees, which can take anywhere from a few months to several years to acquire.
4. A Variety of Workplaces
When one thinks of a customer representative, one pictures an individual working away within a call center. While call centers certainly still exist, both businesses and non-businesses are increasingly offering alternatives to them. Roughly 50 percent of all customer representatives are now working from their homes. Some work directly for parent companies; others are employed by large call centers on a contractual basis. In both cases, customer representatives can sometimes work from home and select their own hours. This makes this a good work choice for:
- those without personal transportation
- the disabled
- stay at home parents
5. A Chance to Utilize a Variety of Technologies
It is no longer possible to pretend that the digital revolution was just a fad. One needn’t know how to use all of the latest technologies in order to function in society. But if you want to shine at work and ascend that career ladder, it sure doesn’t hurt. And whether you’re behind a counter at a physical store or assisting customers over the Internet, customer representative work allows you to gain expertise at many different forms of it. It even occasionally allows customer representatives to be at the cutting edge of it, as with cloud computing platforms. And all of this digital experience can offer the opportunity to slide over into completely different career paths. Among the technologies that this job provides valuable work experience with are:
- voice communications
- texting and e mail
- analytics and “data mining”
6. There’s Lots of Work, But It Stays at Work
The doctor who’s never without a beeper. The restaurant manager who is called at home (repeatedly) with mundane questions from the staff. The park ranger who has to drive back into work to deal with angry bears and visitors. We all know employees who are never not working, even if it’s just fielding phone calls at home. Because of the way in which their jobs are structured, customer representatives get to leave work at work. The result is less job burn out and stress, and the ability to start each day fresh.
A customer service career is not without its challenges. Workers are exposed at times to high levels of stress. It’s an industry that can compel workers to deal with frequent change, due to product needs and demands. And while promotion can certainly happen on many levels within this field, employees should expect to begin at entry level positions. If an individual does not enjoy the prospect of being a self-starter, then this may not be the field for him or her. But for individuals with excellent problem solving, reading, and people skills, this field offers much in demand jobs with ample promotional opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Cassidy Hennigan is a former recruiter, passionate about career development and productivity techniques. She is a sports aficionado, who loves socialising and meeting new people and giving useful tips about personal development. She strongly believes that being informed and up-to-date is vital, that is why she contributes to Salaries Wiki, where she writes about salaries, skills and opportunities regarding different jobs.