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Today, I’m going to share WHY a home based customer service job should be your first remote job.
I decided to write this post because so many virtual jobs expect you have certain skills before they consider you.
But I’m not talking about the skills related to the exact job you’re interested in. Instead, I’m talking about things you gain as a customer service representative that you probably won’t get anywhere else.
In addition to telling you why you need a job in customer service, you’ll learn:
- The difference between a ‘regular’ customer service job and a call center job
- Virtual jobs available today with reputable companies
Let’s get to it.
First: Customer Service Vs. Call Center. Same Thing ?
Aren’t online Customer Service and Call Center jobs the same thing ?
A customer service job might not be part of a call center but most call centers provide customer service. And there’s a common advantage: thousands of these jobs can be done from home, regardless of it being a call center or not.
Let’s define the two:
What is a Virtual Customer Service Job ?
A virtual customer service job is one where you work for a company virtually, from home or anywhere that’s not a traditional office, providing customer service for that specific company. The type of service usually involves answering customer questions and issues by taking inbound phone calls as well as provide support via chat or email.
What is a Call Center Job ?
A call center job is one where you work for a company providing customer service, typically via back-to-back phone calls, in a work environment that is set up to handle a large volume of phone calls. The company’s call center fits one of these two scenarios:
The company has it’s own base of customer service representatives who work specifically for that company.
The company provides customer service support on the behalf of a variety of other companies (clients). You work for the call center and are assigned to one of their clients to provide customer service.
Don’t These Kind Of Jobs Suck ?
They can…but don’t worry, I list some reputable companies later on.
But I’m not talking about a customer service job as anything permanent.
What I AM suggesting is a work from home customer service job as a short-term growth opportunity.
Short-term because I know burn out is possible – you’ll get tired of solving issues all day. Not to mention that a lot of customer service jobs have a bad reputation because they are rigid and low paying.
…there are some awesome companies that hire remote customer service representatives. Like Automattic, Toptal and Aha!. These guys respect their employees and pay well.
And get this: Customer service companies and call centers have changed over the years, with more companies opening up here in the USA. In fact, call centers are expected to add the most new jobs for Customer Service Representatives, growing 36 % from 2016 – 2026, with an average pay rate of $12.98 an hour in 2016.
Which brings me to why a customer service job is a good thing:
#1 Virtual Customer Service Jobs Are Pretty Easy To Get
There are hundreds of companies looking to hire home-based customer service reps. In other words, the competition isn’t too stiff so it stands to reason there are plenty of jobs to choose from.
In fact, customer service representatives are employed in nearly every industry in the US.
#2 The Pay Is On The Rise
In 2016 the average pay rate for an online customer service representative was just under $13.00 an hour. In 2019, the pay is a little under $15.00 an hour. That’s a salary growth of over 15% in three years.
And the more in-tune with the remote culture a company is, the better the pay seems to be.
Like this customer service job with Hotjar (which may not be open when you read this post):
The budgeted compensation range for this role is $56,500 to $73,000 annually (we do not have a commission or bonus scheme at Hotjar). Ranges are based on market research and are equitable to other roles within Hotjar. The actual compensation offered to a successful candidate will be based on relative experience. At this time we are only able to provide official employment status to those located in Malta. All other candidates will join our team as full-time consultants and will be responsible for paying any taxes or applicable fees where they reside.
#3 You Don’t Need A Whole Lot Of Skills
There aren’t a whole lot of skills you need for this kind of work, which makes it desirable for the first time remote worker.
But you do need a few talents, like these:
- You’re organized.
- Empathy comes naturally to you.
- You have basic computer skills.
- You’re comfortable talking on the phone.
- Troubleshooting comes easy to you.
And, depending on the specific job, you might need more advanced skills. Some companies expect at least 3 years in customer service. Some want you to have technical skills.
#4 It’s Free Training
Free is always good !
And when it comes to job training, you can take this freebie anywhere.
Training as a remote customer service representative usually takes place virtually and lasts only a few weeks. However, some sessions last up to 12 weeks and some companies expect you do the training in their office.
In addition to learning phone etiquette, you’ll learn how to use different communications and time-tracking software – something a lot of companies rely on. You’ll also hone your everyday organization, detail-orientation, and communication skills.
#5 It’ll Lead To Better Home Based Jobs
Take a look at these 4 job descriptions. They’re with companies known for respecting their employees, paying well, and having a large base of remote workers.
But these jobs require advanced customer service experience, which you’ll gain when your first remote job is a customer service rep.
Customer Success job with Harvest:
-You’re patient and enjoy solving tough problems. You take pride in explaining and helping others understand problems and solutions.
-You’re an exceptional communicator and you treat people kindly. You can gracefully break down, solve, and explain, even the most complex problems. Listening, talking, and working with people makes you happy.
-Your writing skills are flawless. We mean it. You must have a savvy style and a firm grip on grammar.
-You can de-escalate a tense situation with ease and grace—working through a tough issue or bug with an upset customer not only doesn’t scare you, it’s a challenge you’re eager to take on.
-You’re a hard worker with a history of getting things done carefully and efficiently. You’re thorough—no detail go unnoticed. You’re self-motivated, but also enjoy contributing to a team.
-You have the ability to switch gears quickly and readjust your focus appropriately.
Contract Specialist job with Toptal
-You must have outstanding attention to detail.
-You must be focused on and see the importance of operational efficiency.
-You must be highly organized.
-Your positive, can-do attitude is something you will bring to work daily.
-You must be driven and self-motivated.
-Outstanding written and verbal communications skills, as well as perfect grammar and command of the English language.
-The ability to work under pressure and adhere to tight deadlines while never sacrificing quality.
-Ability to communicate clearly and constantly with teams via Slack and other collaboration tools.
-Remote work experience preferred.
-You must work well with individuals across all functions.
Senior Customer Operations Lead job with Clerky
This is a great fit if you want to work:
… at a customer-centric company where customer support is truly a top priority
… at a company where providing customer support is unusually intellectually challenging
… in a company that strongly values efficiency, autonomy, and self motivation
… with bright people who are extremely passionate about their work
… where you’ll be a key early team member
Group Travel Specialist job with Remote Year
What You Bring
-Minimum of 3 years experience in one or more of the following: travel industry (airline, corporate travel, or travel agency preferred), hospitality, and/or customer service.
-Budgeting experience- ability to build, track and beat budgets.
-Data skills – amazing attention to detail and confidence in dealing with large amounts of numerical and non-numerical data.
-Organization skills – great time management skills, ability to multitask.
-Communications skills – ability to handle multiple, constant communication channels; ability to effectively communicate with program teams and with customers directly.
#6 You Acquire Remote Work Experience
Wonder why the above job description for Toptal wants previous remote work experience?
So they know you have the chops to actually work remotely. In other words, you can handle the distractions, temptations and obstacles that come with working from home.
But it gets better, because…
- You’ll learn how to set up a proper work environment.
- Your technical equipment will be top-notch (often provided or stipend by your employer).
- Your knowledge in communication tools will improve.
- You’ll learn how to deal with being autonomous.
#7 You Learn Focus, Motivation, and Discipline
Focus, motivation and discipline are three of the most important aspects to working remotely for the simple reason you’ll get your work done as expected.
Having experience as a customer service rep., as well as in a call center environment, will amplify these skills because of these two reasons:
#1 you often have to work within a set schedule.
#2 you have performance goals to meet.
#8 You Thicken Your Skin
Have you ever been told “don’t take it personally…” ?
Easier said than done, right ?
But get this: Customer service and call center jobs will thicken your skin so nasty remarks roll off your back. In most cases, you’ll be reading a script. Sticking with the script lets you put your emotions aside and not take anything personally.
#9 You Learn Different Ways To Handle Situations
As a customer service agent, you learn how to get to the bottom of a situation in a relatively short time.
That’s your job.
Remember the “script” I mentioned in #8 ? They don’t always resolve a situation so you have to find some other way to fix it. Tap into your out-of-the-box problem solving skills, which – by the way – is a big turn-on for a lot of companies.
Your troubleshooting skills will shine in a customer service role, too.
#10 You Build On The Skills And Experience You Already Have
Work at home customer service and call center agents might have hundreds of conversations every day, resolving each issue with the skills developed over a short period of time.
From offering a friendly greeting to escalating a concern, each call is a learning experience that builds on what comes naturally to you. You learn how to de-escalate and put out fires, polish-up your organizations skills, and become comfortable working alone. And most importantly, you learn your boundaries.
Companies That Have Remote Customer Service Jobs Open Today
So now that you know why I suggest starting your remote career as a customer service agent, it’s time to get busy. Here are some of the better companies that frequently have beginner-level customer service openings:
I have read elsewhere that the pay is about $10.00 an hour and you work on a temporary basis as an Independent Contractor.
Most of the Virtual Customer Service Agent jobs with Amazon are seasonal and the pay is $10.00 to $12.00 an hour.
American Express frequently hires virtual Travel Consultants with customer support experience. This job has an extensive 11 week paid training period.
Part-time, with the possibility of going full-time during busy times, Apple’s At Home Agents perform chat and phone customer support.
Blooms Today hires Independent Sales Representatives to assist customers with flower bouquet purchases. They hire in all states – except California, Florida, and Texas – with an average salary of $15.00 an hour.
Buffer looks for people who are self-starters, outspoken, and energized to be part of the team. You will assist customers and collaborate with other team members.
If you’re compassionate and tech savvy, Capital One need you. This is a full or part-time entry-level customer service job working from home as contact center team member.
You can work up to 40 hours a week as part of their virtual call center team, providing services in customer or technical support.
With the pay starting at $12.50 an hour, a full-time Customer Service Representative will assists customers with their vehicle rental.
I often see customer support jobs available at Knack, which requires you to be able to troubleshot, investigate, and figure out technical issues with their product.
Nexrep has a nice selection of clients, such as Grubhub and Priceline, and they are pretty flexible with the hours you get to work.
SykesHiring in 40 US states, most of the openings with Sykes are full-time. The average pay rate is $9.00 an hour. You can read their FAQs here.
Their work at home jobs are available to residents of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The positions the frequently have available are Customer Account Specialist, Technical Support Representative, and Customer Care Representative.
The jobs with Uhaul are typically part-time, temporary, with one weekend day and holiday requirement.
Hiring in the following 14 states: AZ, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, MD, NJ, NV, NY, OH, TX, UT, and VA, VIPDesk has openings for Bilingual Customer Care Reps., Customer Service, and Inbound Sales. You can read their FAQs here.
As an Independent Contractor, a Working Solutions Agent can work flexible hours and earn anywhere from $9.00 to $30.00 an hour, depending on the client program you’re working on. Their FAQs can be found here.
Over to you:
Are you ready to take the leap and start working from home as a call center rep. ? Go ahead, take the plunge. Later on, you’ll be glad you did. As always, let me know where you get hired and how you like it.
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Am retired and looking for something to occupy my spare time. This may be a lucrative spot for me. I have taught computer basics and advanced Microsoft Office. I also have been a Project Manager for the last 15 years since my retirement.
Are you interested in continuing work in the computer / Project Management field? If so, this post and this post list some companies that frequently have jobs in these fields. Otherwise, feel free to hang around and read.