Customer support positions are not only necessary, but they are the most versatile occupations in the workforce. Every company in every industry needs someone to interact with customers. From 2016 to 2026, employment of those in customer service and support related positions are projected to grow five percent.
The role of customer service and customer support related positions have evolved over the years. What was once only about just offering basic service to customers has grown to encompass an emphasis on providing an overall positive customer experience.
At its simplest, customer support is the act of helping the customer make cost-effective decisions while guiding them on how to correctly use a product. While customer support and customer service are related, they do represent fundamental differences (which will be touched upon a bit later).
There are almost three million jobs available in this category, and the average salary for these positions is $33,750 per year.
The very structure of customer support allows for it to be an ideal work-from-home position. First, these jobs tend to allow for flexibility. While you may have to be available during a certain range of time, you do not need to be in an office to carry out these tasks.
Second, most customer support positions utilize virtual tools to help customers, handle complaints, provide guidance, and collaborate with co-workers. Responding to customer issues requires agility and rapid reaction. As a result, the use of digital tools is imperative. This makes it much easier for customer support professionals to handle tasks outside of the office.
Customer support positions also allow for greater flexibility in work-type. Because the roles and duties associated with these jobs are clearly-defined it is not difficult to create both part-time and full-time positions. As the only thing to define these work-types is the amount of time an individual is available to work.
Customer support professionals can even become freelancers. Hear how, Chloe Banal, a customer support freelancer got her start:
I used to manage retail stores and began looking at remote work as a way to supplement income on the days I was off or had a bit of extra time. The transition was slow at the beginning; I did odd jobs to gain positive feedback and a bit of a platform presence. Personally, it wasn't difficult for me, after working for almost ten years in retail, I was ready to try something different but still be able to work in the service industry.
Lastly, the virtual tools, more defined roles and tasks, and overall structure of these jobs also make it easy to work in different time zones. The work of a customer support professional does not make consistent face-to-face contact with superiors or even other team members necessary.
There are a variety of positions available in the customer support category. While all share the common trait of being customer-facing, they all bring have unique aspects that make them ideal for someone interested in customer support-based jobs. Below, we will take you through various options for customer support positions, average salaries from Glassdoor.com, tips for getting hired, and insights from our RemoteHabits interviewees.
So, what is the difference between customer service representatives and customer support professionals? Many times, they are used interchangeably, but each position has its own nuances that may only be suited for certain types of professionals.
Customer support is more about supporting the interaction between customers and the product. They are typically meant to handle a specific issue related to a product or service, while customer service representatives are meant to provide general assistance to a customer.
Customer support is actually more related to technical support than a customer service representative, and are associated with these positions:
The average annual salary for a customer support professional is $35,938.
Customer support is all about helping customers deal with a specific problem, which most likely may be technology-related. So, in addition to conveying any remote work experience—especially concerning customer-facing services—it is imperative to express any achievements or accomplishments.
For example, include quantifiable language concerning how many tickets you have solved, complaint reductions, and any ideas you developed that may have streamlined the support process.
While it is crucial to show your skills, experience, it is also important to let the hiring manager know you understand the current needs in the industry. Mention customer support statistics that show some of the ways companies may still be lacking in their response to customers, and discuss how you have sought to address these issues in your past experience. Not only will this exhibit your skills, but it will also show your willingness to know the trends in your industry.
While customer support positions are more "business-centric," customer service representatives are seen as "customer-centric," professionals. They are a one-stop shop for day-to-day customer guidance.
Their support and service do not end once a problem is solved, they continue to provide on-going guidance, assistance, and service that should lead to exceptional customer experiences.
Typically, customer service representatives take orders, handle payments, answer product-based questions, manage returns, and may even help with sales. It is worth noting that this position may also be known as a customer experience representative.
This shift in the title has occurred as a result of a greater understanding of the importance of the customer's experience with companies, and how service is understood to directly align with creating these experiences.
The average salary for these professionals is $30,688.
Customer service representative job descriptions—like those for many other professions—require a variety of necessary skills. Savvy hiring managers will emphasize the skills and abilities that are the most important in job descriptions by mentioning them more than once.
Be sure to pick up on what these are, and include them in your resume. Also, many hiring managers will skim through resumes and search using relevant keywords. So, make it easy for your resume to stand out by including a career summary that utilizes the keywords and ideas that hiring managers are highlighting.
Use your cover letter to not only express interest in the role but to also highlight three or four customer service-related highlights and accomplishments. Be sure to go through the job description and get a feel for the duties and qualifications that are important to the hiring manager. Include a few short examples of how you have already exhibited these qualifications in your career.
Growing dependence on technology and the increasing influence of digital tools on business processes has made technical support an essential position for most businesses. These individuals are on hand to help solve customer inquiries involving electronic devices, computer hardware and software, and online applications.
While they can help answer questions, they are also expected to troubleshoot technical devices and applications.
Technical support can typically be given over the phone, through live chat, or through email. This setup makes it one of the most ideal work-from-home customer support positions.
Technical support can also be known as support engineers, so also watch for this title in your job search.
The average salary for a technical support professional is $35,829.
While customer support positions likely utilize some form of virtual tools, technical support requires the use of a variety of communication and help desk tools. If you are thinking of stepping into a remote technical support position, these are some tech support tools you should become familiar with:
While you may not have extensive experience with these tools, it is helpful to be aware of them and even familiarize yourself with their features.
You may also be required to use other remote work tools in addition to those mentioned above that allow you to better communicate and collaborate with remote team members.
Here are some common remote work tools mentioned by Vaishali Badgujar, content marketer:
I also use various online collaboration tools like Google Docs, Skype and a few others to work efficiently. On the marketing tech side, I use apps like Buzzstream, Ahrefs, LinkedIn, and Quuu which enable me to be productive.
So, it is worth noting that there are remote tools specifically related to your job, as well as others that are used by everyone in the organization.
If you can, find out what these are by getting in touch with someone who works there, or even reading the company's blogs as some will mention the tools they use in articles about company productivity.
Those who have excellent problem-solving skills and experience with virtual tools are well-equipped to take on technical support roles. Your resume should reveal skills that exhibit proficiency in teamwork, collaboration, general customer service, and experience in the preferred virtual tools.
So, highlight your accomplishments regarding how you have reduced help tickets, better organized the support process, or any training you have received regarding tech support processes.
Be sure to be specific about what you can offer to the company, and the skills you can bring to the position. Also, make sure you are going into detail about the virtual tools you have experience with. Lastly, always include quantifiable accomplishments (percentage of customer complaints settled, achievements, and any other major milestones).
Unlike many of the other professions on this list, technical support is intertwined with technology-based positions. The technology community has a robust presence online, so be sure to find technology-profession groups on Slack, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Also, many forward-thinking tech companies are active on social media, so be sure to follow and regularly interact with these individuals when you can. Lastly, check into any technology-based meetups in your local area. You never know when you may run into a founder, CEO, or CTO that may be interested in hiring you.
Customer success representatives are distinctly different from other support and service roles. Their job is directly related to sales and long-term customer satisfaction. Customer success representative's main goals are to ensure that customers are satisfied with products and services and that they cultivate customer relationships to lead to long-term retention.
These positions typically present opportunities for upselling or reminding past buyers to renew contracts or subscriptions.
They may also be known as customer success specialist, and have an average salary of $70,179.
The tasks of customer success representatives center around retention strategies, process optimization, analytical thinking, and the ability to encourage customers to purchase additional items and services.
For the resume, it is best to highlight any sales, customer retention, and problem-solving experience. Again, always emphasize any quantifiable accomplishments, percentages, and relevant achievements related to these skills.
Much like how an HR professional is responsible for onboarding and training employees, customer success representatives have the same role for customers. Use your cover letter to convey your tactics for encouraging customers to become brand loyal. Highlight times where you built relationships with customers, created support content and provided technical help or guidance.
What if you are already in one of these positions, or feel you are qualified for management? Take a look below for basic skill requirements and annual salary information for the below customer support manager roles.
Some of the most popular customer support managerial positions (along with their average salaries) are:
For most of these positions, many of the above qualifications associated with the junior-level positions mentioned above still stand. However, here are some common qualifications associated with managerial-level customer support jobs:
There is a variety of customer support manager-related positions out there, and those with adequate experience can make a decent living (without having to deal with costs associated with transportation). Now, where can you find these positions and the ones mentioned above?
The next section lists websites where you can begin your remote customer support job search.
Also, don't forget to check Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor for remote customer support positions. Many times, companies will also post positions here, so be sure to do a search that includes the keywords "work from home," "telecommute," or "remote," with your search.
You never know who may know of a position or who might have a connection to a company you are seeking to work for. So, be sure to let everyone in your network in on your job search. Tell them what you are looking for, and even give them a business card or resume so they can better understand your experience (and pass it along if the opportunity presents itself).
Also, don't be afraid to use social media. Many companies that embrace remote work are active on social media. For example, Max, a deep learning engineer, found his ideal remote position through a chance Twitter interaction:
Someone shared a medium post about deep learning, my field of expertise, and the CTO of the remote-first company skymind.ai pointed out that this was based on work from one of their engineers. Not only that, they had hired that engineer to maintain his open source project for them. I jokingly replied that if they ever needed me to work on my side projects, they'd know where to find me. At the time, I was just getting started with a lot of open source work and was intrigued by the idea of doing it full-time. I never thought this joke might lead to anything, but fast forward six months and I had an offer on the table.
Many of the above job sites allow you to sign up for email alerts that match what you are looking for. So, be sure to add a customer service filter to your search, and sign up to receive emails whenever a job is posted from this category.
Note: While we do our best to research and post legitimate jobs, postings, and groups, we always advise you to do your own additional research to ensure jobs, websites, and groups are above board.
So, you know what to expect from each position, and you know where to go to get the information. Now, here are some additional tips to allow you to stand out from the rest in your remote customer support job search:
Check into LinkedIn Groups and Profiles – Find professional LinkedIn groups that are a part of this job category and see who your LinkedIn network is connected to. If you are interested in applying to a specific customer support position and see if anyone in your network is connected to anyone at the companies you are interested in.
Facebook Groups – There is a variety of remote work Facebook groups to look into. Do a Google search for remote work Facebook groups, see which ones are a fit, and request to join. Once you are accepted check them daily for customer support positions and related opportunities.
Angel List – Angel List is a job listing site for startups. The site has a filter for job categories and remote positions. Many startups post job descriptions related to customer support and service positions. The site allows you to sign up for email alerts to receive notifications about remote customer support jobs.
Alumni connections – Don't forget to utilize your alumni connections. You have a common point of connections with former classmates, so make a point to keep an eye out for alumni networking events, and LinkedIn and Facebook alumni groups. You never know when a former classmate may have a connection to a remote customer support position.
Start with entry-level and data entry positions – If you are making a career transition or do not have a lot of remote customer support experience, it may be easier to step into an entry-level or data entry work from home support position.
Pursue a position in a less sought-after support field – Many individuals are focused on customer support positions in the industry of technology, and specifically software support. However, fields like healthcare and even education also have a variety of support positions available, so keep your eye on these areas as well.
Have the right equipment and home office setup: - Ensure you have access to high-speed internet, and productive space to work. Employers want to know that you have an area to handle remote work tasks associated with customer support positions so you can prevent distractions and maintain focus.
Meryl, a digital marketer, drives home the importance of having a dedicated workspace:
The first thing I advise remote workers to do is to have a set space to work as well as boundaries, preferably something with four walls to help draw the line between home and office. […] But if you don't have four walls, try creating a perimeter with a desk and computer."
Call attention to your communication skills - Put your experience with situations where exemplary communication skills out front.
Lead with remote work experience - While it may not always be a requirement to have remote work experience, it does help. So, see if you can get some experience working with remote teams in any capacity, this will help you stand out.
Highlight customer service experience - Even if you have never worked in an official customer service position, if you have interacted with customers in any way, highlight this in your resume and cover letters.
Always pay close attention to the job description - Pay attention to phrases and keywords that show up more than once, and any skills they emphasize that you should have. Let this guide how you tailor your resume and cover letter to the position.
It is the perfect time to begin a career in remote customer support positions for two reasons. First, remote work is beginning to become more commonplace for a lot of businesses. High-speed internet and a better understanding that outcomes are more important than the number of hours someone works, is making remote work a lot easier for companies to accept.
Second, companies are coming to understand how crucial it is to create stellar customer experiences, and customer support positions are necessary to make this happen.
So, if you are seeking a career in customer support, know that the conditions are favorable.
Your main challenge will be to show your skills in customer service, problem-solving, analytical thinking, communication, collaboration, and project management while working remotely. Your resume and cover letter should exemplify these skills and emphasize the additional experiences the employers are looking for.
If you are in the midst of your remote customer support position job search, we invite you to check out the RemoteHabits job site. We have a collection of positions from many of the most popular remote job search sites on the internet, so feel free to begin your job search there. Also, don't forget to check out our RemoteHabits interviews for more job search tips and general advice for working remotely.
We wish you the best of luck in your job search!
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