To become a work from home Customer Service Rep. you need to know the principles, skills, tools, and where to find jobs. Today, we’ll go over all that and more.
In this post we’ll cover what a remote Customer Service Representative does, the different types of jobs available, the skills you’ll need, and what customer service salaries look like.
Then we’ll dive into how you can get a remote customer service job followed by where to look for jobs for beginners, pros, and freelancers.
Finally, we’ll go over resources like courses and certificates to bump-up your skills to make you an amazing customer service individual who fetches a higher salary.
What does a remote Customer Service Rep. do ?
What is a customer service job? In short, providing a solution to someone else’s problem. This can include the resolution of any degree of questions, concerns, and issues – from simple to complex – with the end goal of total satisfaction for the customer.
Customer service is often the first line of contact between a customer and a company, therefore anyone who does this type of work represents the entire company. The focus is to provide clear and precise answers that turn a potential customer into a current customer and a current customer into a satisfied customer.
What are the Different Types of Customer Service ?
Customer service typically fall into one of these two categories:
- Standard Customer Service, where you provide service that is non-technical based and is geared around answering basic questions about the company or product.
- Technical Customer Service, where you provide service that is technical in nature, therefore you’re required to know a lot about the tools the company you work for uses.
In many cases, especially in a Technical Customer Service role, you have to replicate a customer’s issue in order to provide accurate feedback and resolution.
There are a few methods of customer service communication
Depending on the job you get, your customer service may rely on phone, chat, email or a combination of any or all three modes of communication.
☎ Phone based customer service can be for either standard or technical service and requires – you guessed it – talking on the phone. This type of communication is best for the introverted person because of the high volume of calls, which may be incoming (customers call you) or outgoing (you take the initiative and contact customers).
💬 Chat customer service is one of the most sought-after methods of performing service because it is done completely online via a special chat software. These jobs are more likely to be found with newer, more tech-savvy based companies that have a lot of customers who prefer to communicate quickly over chat.
📩 Email customer service is still an effective way of answering questions and resolving issues but not as expedient as phone or chat.
There are many different customer service titles
Remote customer service jobs have many different titles, so when looking for a job be on the lookout for some of these:
-Customer Service Representative (Rep.)
-Customer Experience Agent
-Customer Onboarding Specialist
-Customer Care Agent
-Customer Success Manager
-Director of Customer Support
-Technical Support Specialist
-Help Desk Technician
-Customer Success Team Member
There are different levels of customer service, too. From entry-level support, to Director of Customer Service, each position offering different areas of responsibility and pay.
There are different remote customer service settings
You can work from home in either one of these settings:
- Remote Call center setting– where you work for a company that handles the customer service for several clients and you work with specific ones taking care of their customers. You must have a good grasp of your client’s business so you can provide accurate information while performing top-notch service.
- Employee of a specific company – where a company hires you to do customer service for them, and them only.
Customer Service Skills You Need
For both types of customer service, the skills you need depend what the company does, what it offers, and its product. But whichever type, the principles are the same.
The 4 principles of good customer service are:
- Communication, where listening and understanding an issue or complaint is of utmost importance.
- Convenience, where speedy resolution is offered through whichever channel provided.
- Human, where interaction is provided with a human touch such as knowing (and saying) your customer’s name.
- Competence, where you have a strong knowledge of the company or product and can quickly solve the problem.
To reach these principles, it’s important that anyone who does customer service genuinely wants to help customers succeed. Therefore, companies look for people who have specific skills.
These are the customer service skills you need
Soft skills, such as these, are needed for any type of customer service job:
- Clear communication
- The ability to use positive language
- Be an active listener
- Be empathetic
- Provide personalized interaction (call the customer by name)
- Be competent
- Know how to problem-solve (or escalate to someone who can)
- Proper use of the language
- Convey appreciation and respect to your customer
Hard skills are typically specific to a particular job with standard customer service positions requiring skills like these:
- Know how to use the company’s preferred customer service software or conference tool (like Zen Desk or Zoom, for example)
- Be computer literate
- Be familiar with eCommerce suites
And technical customer service roles requiring these skills in addition to the ones listed above:
- Familiar with or have knowledge in programming or coding (typically HTML, CSS
- Know how to work with staging environments
- Have knowledge of WordPress
These skills are necessary for both types of remote customer service jobs:
- Computer experience
- Spreadsheet experience
- Good writing skills
- You’re familiar with email (creating and responding)
- Know your way around chat software like Zen Desk and Vision Helpdesk
Hybrid Skills, which are both soft and hard skills and may be needed depending on the remote job you’re interested in:
- You’re comfortable conducting training events and webinars
- You’re capable of writing blog posts
- You have the ability to train new customers on the product or service
Equipment You Need To Do Customer Service From Home
Fortunately, you don’t need much to start working as a Customer Service Representative. Let’s go over the basics.
Fast and reliable internet is the #1 asset if you’re serious about working from home doing customer service. If your internet is too slow or your connection breaks all the time, you won’t be able to get the job done.
Because you need to access online databases and servers to look into customer data, your internet needs to meet the speed requirements of the company you work for. Internet reliability and speed is especially important if you’re doing chat customer service; you need to receive and reply to messages instantly.
Customer service internet speed rule of thumb: you should have download speed with 2Mbps and upload speed with 400Kbps minimum. This is enough speed to get your work done.
WiFi is typically not allowed – the risk of sensitive information being obtained by outside sources is too great. However, if you’re using a wireless router, your desktop/laptop should directly be connected to the router (not using Wi-Fi)
Phone / Headset
A landline is required if your customer service job is phone-based, however a lot of companies will supply a phone system that has their software installed.
And if a phone isn’t necessary, the software will run over the internet. In this case, a headset is required. You don’t need the ‘best’ headset, you just need something with good sound quality and one that has noise-canceling capabilities is a good idea, like this set offered on Amazon:
Desktop or Laptop
Your equipment must include a desktop or laptop, whatever you’re most comfortable with. I recommend you use a new-ish computer or laptop because they’re more likely to have the hardware and memory requirements of your company.
Another consideration is your monitor because you need to be able to clearly see the data you’re looking at. A resolution of at least 1024 x 768 is good enough to meet any company’s standards; the newer the computer, the better the resolution.
Some companies may require you have two monitors: one for communication with your customer or Supervisor and the other for replicating the issue your customer may be experiencing.
It’s important to have a proper home office setup but that doesn’t mean you need a top-of-the line ergonomic chair or a fancy desk. As long as you’re comfortable sitting for long periods of time with the setup you have, you’re good. And you can check out these cheap diy desk ideas for inspiration,
You may be required to have a dedicated office, especially if your job involves sensitive customer information. But if you don’t have a spare room, an inexpensive room divider like this one from Amazon will simulate a true office:
How Much Do Customer Service Reps. Make ?
Customer Service Reps. make an average of $18.57 per hour, with beginners earning just under $14.00 an hour and those with several years of experience making over $20.00 an hour. Keep in mind these are averages; some companies pay way less than $14.00 an hour and freelance Customer Service reps. can charge whatever they want.
The rate of pay can vary, however, based on your location.
For example, customer service jobs in Michigan pay 5% below the national average and Arizona pays 2% above the national average.
As you can see, the top-paying states are Washington, California, Colorado, Minnessota, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Alaska.
How To Become A Remote Customer Service Rep.
💖 Hone your skills
- Take online customer service courses like this Soft Skills Fundamentals one.
- Read everything you can about customer service skill development, in particular this article from Hubspot that goes over what good customer service looks like.
❓ What experience do you have ?
Think about the kinds of jobs you have had. Did you work in retail ? What about the hospitality business…did you work at a restaurant or hotel ? These jobs are customer-centered and WILL add to your customer service experience.
❗ Practice and build-up your portfolio
Finally, one of the best ways to become a remote customer service rep. is to just start working. Go through the entry-level jobs I write about in the next section and start applying. 👇
Or, just get started on the freelance platforms. You might be surprised how many people look for – and are willing to pay – beginner-level support people.
Where to Look For Remote Customer Service Jobs
Where you find a remote customer service job depends on what you’re looking for. For instance, do you want a beginner customer service job or are you already a pro ? Would you rather do freelance customer service work ?
Let’s go over places where you can find work.
➡ We often list remote customer service jobs for beginners as well as pros. on our up-to-date work from home job leads page.
Where to Learn Customer Service Skills and Tools
Let’s dive into some awesome online courses to help you become an amazing Customer Service Rep., regardless your level or title 🙂
- Soft Skills Fundamentals. This course is for people just starting out in the customer service field and offers certification of completion.
- Strategies For Dealing With Difficult People shows you how to confidently implement different strategies when dealing with difficult people.
- Customer Service Mastery: Delight Every Customer covers how to think on your toes, put yourself in ‘their’ shoes, and build personal relationships with your customers.
- Coding For Beginners is a good course to take if you want to know more than the basic HTML and CSS. Many customer service jobs want you to show you know how to do some coding.
- IT Helpdesk Professional teaches you how to get hands-on experience with helpdesk skills and shows you how to master and troubleshoot what it takes to get a job in the helpdesk customer service field.
- Service Strategies is an online self-paced course that provides teaching and interactivity, enabling students to learn the lessons and apply them in real world situations.. Upon registration, you can access the course for 60 consecutive days to complete it.
Working From Home Doing Customer Service: Start The Right Way
Customer Service jobs will never go away, and with more companies turning to the fully-remote culture, they need people to work from home providing their customers with support.
If you’re serious about getting a job as a REMOTE customer service representative but were reluctant to start, I hope this guide answered any questions you had.