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Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path

Explore the field of consumer service to determine if it is a good career path for you. Learn about jobs, pay, qualifications, top companies and more.

By 

Synkdup Editorial Team   

|  2 October 2023

Consumer Services Career Path

Yes, absolutely, customer service is a great career path—unless you are an introvert.

If you are good at talking to people and like interacting with others, you should definitely consider consumer services as a career path. It is a booming industry, and you can have a really fruitful career in it.

Regardless of technological advancements like chatbots and automated replies, the consumer service industry continues to thrive. This is because most customers prefer having a human respond to their queries rather than a machine.

Customer experience plays a vital role in customer retention, and all B2C (Business-to-consumer) companies place the utmost importance on it. This generates a myriad of opportunities in customer service, as companies always need personnel to cater to customers looking for guidance and information.

Consumer service mostly involves jobs where you are supposed to help people with their queries about the product/services of a company. If you are someone who would derive satisfaction from helping others, consumer service can be the ideal career path for you.

What is Consumer Service

Consumer service, also known as customer service, is the support and assistance a company provides to its existing and potential customers. The primary goal of consumer service is to enhance customer experience and satisfaction to foster customer loyalty.

Common reasons customers need assistance include:

  • Product information: Potential customers may want information about a product before making a purchase decision.
  • How-to-Assistance: Especially with technology-based products, customers may need guidance on how to use the product or access certain features.
  • Order inquiries: Customers may want to check the status of their orders or ask about the delivery dates.
  • Returns and refunds: Customers may need help with returning a product and getting a refund.
  • Service Interruptions: For services like internet and cable, customers might need support when there are interruptions or disruptions.

Consumer service is provided through a variety of channels. These include in-person interactions, telephone support, email, live chat, etc.

Keep in mind that consumer service can also refer to the service industry, which includes jobs like flight attendants, bartenders, and baristas. In common usage, there is sometimes an overlap between the two meanings. Both fields are great career options for people with good social and communication skills.

Common Types of Consumer Service Support

There are people who are very good at talking to people face-to-face but dread talking over the phone. And there are those who are good at neither but can communicate very effectively in writing. So the answer to ‘’is consumer durables a good career path?’’ depends a lot on the specific type of consumer service you have in mind.

Here are some of the common ways in which companies provide consumer service to customers:

Phone Support: It is the most commonly used method for consumer service. In this type, customers call a dedicated support line to speak with a customer support representative.

Email Support: Companies have a dedicated email address to which customers can send inquiries or raise concerns via email.

SMS: Though most companies use email, some also use text messaging for customer service.

Live Chat: Many companies offer live chat, which enables customers to get assistance in real-time through messages.

Video Chat: Mostly used for technology-related products, video chat enables customers to get face-to-face support from the comfort of their homes.

How Many Jobs are Available in Consumer Services

Nearly all companies that sell durable products or services provide consumer service in one form or another. These include automobile dealerships, telecommunication companies, banks, travel agencies, insurance companies, healthcare facilities, software and tech companies, automotive service centers, and more. As such, there is no shortage of job opportunities in the field. For many people, that alone settles the question, is consumer services a good career path.

Here are some of the most popular jobs in consumer services.

Customer Service Manager

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $97,512 (Source: Salary.com)

It is a common misbelief that consumer service does not offer opportunities for growth and advancement. That is what leads to many people answering ‘’is consumer service a good career path?’’ in the negative. If only they knew about the position of Customer Service Manager!

Customer service managers oversee and coordinate the activities of the consumer support team. They are responsible for team management, monitoring performance, setting service standards, analyzing customer feedback, and much more. They mainly ensure that their team adheres to company policies and procedures at all times.

One of their key functions is to assist consumer support executives with complex issues and escalations to ensure timely and effective resolutions. They prepare regular reports on customer service performance and customer feedback for presentation to senior management. They may also be involved in developing and implementing strategies to retain customers.

Customer Service Trainer

Average annual Salary in the U.S. – $55,046 (Source: Salary.com)

Do you have a flair for instructing others? If you do, the job of a trainer is the best job for you in the consumer service field. A customer service trainer specializes in providing training and development to people working in consumer service roles in an organization. Your key responsibilities in this role would include:

  • Creating comprehensive programs that cover various aspects of customer service.
  • Preparing training materials, presentations, and resources to be used in training sessions.
  • Leading training sessions, workshops, and seminars for customer care agents.
  • Tailoring training sessions to suit the specific needs and skill levels of different groups of customer care agents.
  • Assisting in the onboarding process for new hires and providing them with the necessary training to start their roles effectively.

You would be collaborating a lot with managers and other professionals as a trainer. In fact, you would yourself hold a kind of managerial position in this role. Due to this, you might need some experience in a customer support agent role to be eligible for this position.

Social Media Customer Support Specialist

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $47,665 (Source: Glassdoor)

If you are particularly social media savvy, this might be the perfect role for you in the service field. Social Media customer support specialists provide support and assistance to customers through different social media platforms. They play an important role in maintaining a positive brand image by assisting customers on popular social media platforms where customers are active and vocal about their experiences with companies.

They respond to direct messages (DMs) and private messages from customers on social media platforms. They actively monitor social media platforms for customer inquiries related to the brand and provide timely and helpful responses to inquiries and comments on social media. This also includes keeping track of brand mentions, hashtags, and trends to be proactive in addressing customer concerns.

They are also required to engage with customers in a friendly and professional manner to build rapport and foster positive relationships. In some positions, they may also collaborate with the marketing team, and be involved in managing social media content.

Customer Service Representative/ Call Center Agent

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $37,490 (Source: Salary.com)

As a consumer service representative, you would be performing a number of tasks related to assisting customers with their queries, concerns, and issues related to the products/services of a company.

You would respond to consumer inquiries and provide accurate information about products, services, prices, and promotions. You’d also provide assistance with order processing. This includes assisting customers with placing orders, processing transactions, and tracking order statuses. You’d also be resolving problems related to product defects, shipping delays, billing discrepancies, or service disruptions. De-escalating situations and calming an agitated customer down is often a big part of the job as well.

In some positions, customer service representatives are also required to identify opportunities to suggest products or services that may benefit the customer. In a way, they work as salespeople in a customer service position.

Customer Success Manager

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $117,944 (Source: Salary.com)

Customer success managers primarily work for companies that provide products or services on a regular or subscription basis. Their main focus is to ensure that customers derive full value from the company’s offerings and have a positive experience throughout the customer journey.

They serve as the main point of contact between the customers and the company. They proactively engage with customers through regular check-ins, calls, emails, and meetings to address any concerns, provide support, and offer insights. They onboard new customers and make sure the customers understand how to use the product or service properly.

Basically, CSMs act as advocates for their customers within the company, representing their needs and providing feedback for improving products/services.

Other Jobs in the Service Industry

Taken in the broad sense of the term, the consumer service industry makes up about 70 percent of the U.S. economy and encompasses a wide variety of jobs. Some of them are listed below:

Receptionist

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $38,355 (Source: Glassdoor)

A receptionist is a front-line administrative professional who works in various settings, such as offices, hotels, hospitals, clinics, or any organization with a reception area. Their primary role is to greet and assist visitors, clients, or customers and provide administrative support to the organization.

Concierge

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $35,702 (Source: Salary.com)

A concierge is a person, typically employed in hotels, luxury apartment buildings, or other establishments, who assists and attends to the needs and requests of guests or residents.

Retail Associate

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $30,700 (Source: Salary.com)

A retail associate works in a retail store and assists customers with their shopping needs. They greet customers, answer their questions, and provide assistance in finding products or making purchasing decisions.

Flight Attendant

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $83,896 (Source: Salary.com)

A flight attendant, also known as cabin crew or steward/stewardess, is a trained professional who works aboard commercial airplanes to ensure the safety, comfort, and well-being of passengers during flights.

Barista

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $38,505 (Source: Glassdoor)

A barista is a skilled professional working in a cafe, restaurant, or hotel who specializes in preparing and serving coffee and coffee-based beverages.

Bartender

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $52,590 (Source: Glassdoor)

A bartender works in a bar, pub, nightclub, restaurant, or other similar establishments and is primarily responsible for preparing and serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to customers.

Waiter

Average annual salary in the U.S. – $41,287 (Source: Glassdoor)

A waiter works in restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, or other dining establishments. They take food and beverage orders from customers and serve them what they ordered.

General Requirements for Customer Service Jobs

Though it is fairly easy to get a job in this industry, most companies still have some solid eligibility criteria. For many, what one needs to get a job in customer service and thrive in it is the most important factor in deciding – Is consumer services a good career path or not.

Education

Most organizations require you to have a high school diploma or GED, though some companies even hire people who are still in school for temporary positions. You will only need a college degree if you are applying for higher positions.

Hands-on training

You do not need any prior experience with the processes and techniques, as you will be provided with thorough on-the-job training when you join. You would be representing the company to the customers, and the company would make sure you have no shortage of grooming and guidance.

Multitasking and time management

When someone quits a customer service job, it is usually because they couldn’t handle all the multitasking the job requires. In most jobs, you will find yourself handling multiple customer inquiries, managing customer queues, and providing real-time support simultaneously. To be successful in these jobs, you need to be able to manage competing priorities and divide your time efficiently.

Interpersonal skills

People skills are your most valuable asset in a consumer service job. The people who do well in these jobs are mostly those who enjoy talking to people and have great social skills. To thrive in these roles, you need:

  • Social Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Active listening
  • Non-verbal communication skills
  • Conflict-resolution
  • Assertiveness

Is Consumer Service a Good Career Path – Pros and Cons

Often, when your heart is set on a particular career option, you tend to overlook its negative sides. The disadvantages seem tiny in comparison to the advantages. You might find yourself unwilling to even hear about the potential drawbacks of the profession. It is all very natural, but remember that choosing a career is a major decision, and you cannot afford to be careless about it.

Now, it is possible that you are okay with the negatives of a profession or are ready to compromise in view of the positives. But there could also be a negative point that is a dealbreaker for you. Hence, it is important to know about all the good and bad aspects of a profession before making a decision.

Although they may vary from job to job, here are the general pros and cons of working in consumer service:

Pros

Remote Work Opportunities

The nature of customer service agent jobs makes them very compatible with remote work. As such, there are probably more work-from-home opportunities in this field than in any other area. At many companies, you need to go to the office for training for the first couple of weeks, after which you work entirely from home.

Low Entry Barrier

Rather than any specialized formal education, it is good interpersonal skills that employers are looking for in this field. Though some jobs may require you to have a bachelor’s, most jobs in the field only have a high school diploma or a GED as the minimum educational requirement. If you have no prior work experience and are looking for your first job, customer service is one of the best options out there.

Personal Development

One of the biggest benefits of working in this field is that you get to develop skills that are transferable to all other fields. Specifically, soft skills, or the skills to interact efficiently with others. This is because you would always be talking to people, listening to their concerns, and resolving them. You’d learn how to communicate effectively with different kinds of people and keep calm in escalated situations. The people skills you learn here can be very useful not only at other jobs you take in the future but also in daily life in general.

Job Availability

Customers will always have problems and queries related to products, and companies are always going to make sure they are resolved easily to promote brand loyalty. So you can count on there always being job opportunities available in consumer service.

Rewarding Work

The job of a customer service agent can be really fulfilling, as you get to help people on a regular basis. Distressed customers call you up asking for help, and you solve their problems. You feel good about the work you are doing, and this leads to a general sense of job satisfaction.

Cons

Odd Work Hours

One of the biggest drawbacks of this field is that many jobs may require you to work odd hours. You may often find yourself working night shifts, weekends, and holidays. You may also not have a fixed work schedule, which may change every other week.

Workload and Stress

At some organizations, there are too many customer grievances and inquiries, which puts a lot of load on the customer service department. Also, sometimes, you will have to deal with customers who are angry or frustrated, which can be pretty stressful. You might encounter customers who are not interested in de-escalating the situation and just want to quarrel. And keeping your cool in these situations is easier said than done.

Frequent Changes

There may be frequent changes in the customer service processes and the software used. This can lead to a lack of stability in your work, as you will constantly find yourself having to discard your old processes and learn new ones. While some people may find these frequent changes refreshing, others may find them overwhelming.

High Competition

The low entry barrier in the field is a double-edged sword because, by making it easy to enter the field, it also increases competition. A lot of people want to get a job in the field, and you might find yourself standing in a long line of applicants, many of whom might have better credentials than you.

Relatively Low Pay and Benefits

Particularly in starter-level roles, the pay and perks may not be as good as they are in other fields. This can significantly affect one's answer to the question, Is consumer services a good career path?

Getting a Job in Consumer Service

Although there is high competition in this field, there are also plenty of opportunities to accommodate job seekers. With persistence and patience, anyone should be able to get a job if they have the right credentials. There are a number of entry-level roles in the industry where good people skills are the only requirement. You can get these jobs with just basic education and rise up the ranks with experience.

Consumer service jobs are all about customer handling, so your interpersonal skills are the most important thing when it comes to getting a job. The first thing you ought to do is evaluate your social skills and work on them if needed. If politeness and communication are not your strong suits and you are unwilling to work on them, you don’t need to ask anyone, is customer service a good career path for me? The answer is a plain no.

However, if you have solid communication skills and can pull off professional politeness, you can get a consumer service job without any experience. What’s more, you only need a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for most of these jobs. Job search websites have made it extremely easy to find jobs and you should make the most of them. Try to find more job portals like Synkdup that specialize in entry-level jobs.

Also, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to a single website, you should try as many sites as you can. Remember, it is about volume – the more jobs you apply to the higher your chances of landing a job.

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