4 Reasons to Give Customer Service a Try
Need a rare piece of good news in an otherwise topsy-turvy job market?
If you've waited tables or worked in hospitality or any other type of customer-facing role for at least a year, you qualify for many corporate customer service jobs. As for education, having a college degree is a plus but not always needed.
Even if you don’t have customer service experience or a college degree, these positions can be a good place to look for your next opportunity.
We spoke to several Aerotek recruiting experts to find out why.
Customer service puts your foot in the right door
This may not seem obvious, but customer service positions can be a gateway to long-term career development.
“Corporate customer service is often a pipeline to leadership positions,” says Aerotek Divisional Practice Lead Eric Begert. “Nobody in an organization knows products, services and customers better than the customer service staff.”
While customer service may not be your first choice, think of it as a springboard to career growth.
And if you’re more concerned about your short and medium-term employment status, contract or temporary customer service positions frequently lead to permanent placements.
“A majority of the contract customer service roles I’ve seen are planned for eventual permanent status,” says Account Recruiting Manager Candice Johnson. “It’s just a question of unlocking budget approval for hiring initiatives.”
Customer service positions offer experience in surging industries
Some industries — such as logistics, finance and health — have seen a recent surge in demand. Not only are companies in those sectors looking to scale up their customer service efforts, but they’re also positioned well for the future.
That makes customer service positions an ideal entry point for job seekers to gain experience in industries with strong long-term outlooks.
“More technical industries may prefer customer service candidates to have a technical background,” says Begert, “but soft skills such as problem solving are usually just as important as specific industry knowledge.”
Even if you’ve got extensive experience elsewhere, taking advantage of customer service training and gaining a background in industries that are doing well now can position you for career growth later.
Customer service skills can make a positive impact
Skills and techniques used in customer service can also play a huge role in paid or volunteer efforts that directly benefit communities, such as contact tracing for coronavirus response or hotline operators.
“These are customer service jobs,” says Jeff Gorski, Aerotek director of Academic Medical Centers & Health Systems, “and they tap into customer service skills such as convincing people to talk, being affable and staying patient.”
Funding and availability of community benefit positions can vary a lot from area to area, but they all involve confidential discussions over the phone. So not only will you be helping people, you’ll also gain key professional experience that can make you a more desirable candidate in health-related fields.
If you’ve been looking for a chance to make an impact with your next job opportunity, contact tracing or hotline operator positions can help you gain customer service experience, get trained in intervention techniques and benefit your community in the process.
Customer service develops “hard skills” to back up your soft skills
Hiring managers in customer service tend to be flexible regarding prior professional experience and knowledge, and often focus more on finding candidates with soft skills such as patience, courtesy and problem solving.
“Some backgrounds like retail, travel, hospitality and service industry experience are regarded as key feeders for customer service roles,” says Begert, “but some hiring managers can be convinced to bring on anybody with strong people skills.”
Regardless of your prior experience, customer service jobs will develop tangible skills in addition to soft skills that make you a more attractive candidate for a broad range of future positions — not just in customer service. These valuable hard skills like customer management software experience and industry knowledge can set your resume apart from the others in your next job interview.
Even if you’re not ready to fully commit to a career change, customer service positions on a contract basis can also give you an opportunity to pause, reset, learn, grow and plan your next move while drawing income.
Seeking your next opportunity? Check out our job board to find positions available in your area.