Working in customer service no longer means sitting in a cubicle. You don’t have to drive to an office or commute 90 minutes on a train every day. Customer service professionals (and their employers) can let go of that daily grind and still get ahead.
When you work from home in customer service, you’re stepping into a booming industry. Companies like Disney, Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb consistently post work-from-home customer service jobs. You can pick from a plethora of roles and choose where you work—as long as you have a solid internet connection.
For people hoping to break into a home-based customer service job for the first time, there are a lot of unknowns about how to find the right job and manage this newfound freedom. This article breaks it down, so you can get to work.
Finding the Right Role
Finding the best customer support role for you requires persistence and patience. But, you also need to know where to look. From there, you can build a career adapted to your strengths and interests rather than the other way around.
Research All Your Options by Leveraging Personal Connections and Job Boards
Do you know anyone who works in customer support? If not, do you know anyone who knows anyone who works in customer support? Ask your friends and family if they have a contact in the field. Even a relatively distant connection can come in handy.
Overall, people who work in customer service are happy to help others get a leg up in any way they can. Reach out and introduce yourself before sending along some specific questions about getting started.
Whether you can leverage these connections or not, take the time to explore job boards created specifically for remote work or support roles. These online resources give you a sense of the wide breadth of companies hiring.
Here are some of the best job boards for home-based customer service jobs:
- Support Driven
- We Work Remotely
- Remote OK
- Working Nomads
- Tech Ladies (for women and non-binary folks)
Get to Know the Companies and Their Products
When you see a position that piques your interest, research the company. Keep a running list of the organizations you like—even if you don’t get the job they’re listing right now, another opportunity might pop up soon.
Get to know each company you’re interested in working for: Read their blogs, interact with them on social media, and try their products. Some companies, like Help Scout, allow you to submit a generic application for future openings.
By familiarizing yourself with the company and its unique goals and culture, you can present yourself as an informed candidate later in the process. Plus, this step helps you clarify what you want in a job.
Emphasize Transferable Skills
Do you have customer service or support experience? If not, emphasize your transferable skills. Hiring managers are always looking for critical thinking skills, communication abilities, empathy, and a genuine interest in the customer.
The good news is that these core skills aren’t unique to customer service—you can hone them across industries, from teaching preschoolers to bagging groceries at a local supermarket. Get creative in how you frame your experience.
Ultimately, companies are looking for someone who can serve as a committed customer advocate. Your character and willingness to learn are the most important factors in your ability to thrive in a home-based customer service job.
Incorporate Customer Service Language Into Your Resume and Cover Letter
During the application process, there are some tactical ways to boost your chances of being selected for an interview.
An ATS scans your resume and cover letter for the same customer service keywords the organization used in the job posting, so mirror the language the company uses in your own application. You can check how well you matched the posted position with the free tool Jobscan.
Getting Started in Your New Role
Working in a remote customer service job can be a rewarding experience. You get paid to help people every day while maintaining autonomy and flexibility. Yet, just as in any position, you need support and resources to thrive in your career. This is especially true for remote employees because you don’t have in-person access to colleagues and managers.
Join Online Groups and Build a Community
When you’re working from home, it’s important to tap into online communities for people just like you. Here are a couple groups to check out:
This community is a comprehensive resource for anyone who works (or wants to work) in a customer service job, from home or otherwise. Support Driven is well known for its Slack workspace, which connects you to other people in the field and has dedicated channels for local meetups. The group also hosts a semi-annual conference, blog, newsletter, and job board.
This newsletter is an awesome entry point to the customer service community. Follow them (and the thought leaders they follow) on Twitter. Dive into their email campaign archive for tips and tricks of the trade—there are a lot of gems in there.
Working remotely means you have endless options about where and how to live. Nomad List connects you to a community of people and tools that can help you find your way, no matter if you want to stay in one spot or travel the world. Their website covers everything from cool cities to flights and local meetups.
Although preexisting groups can offer you an immediate sense of community, you can also build your own. If you notice other home-based customer service employees on social media, reach out to make a personal connection. Ask if they would be interested in participating in a monthly online hangout.
Complement Remote Work With Clear Internal Communication
You may have mastered clear communication with customers over the phone, but you need to foster the same dialogue within your remote team. Harvard Business Review suggests that employees actually over-communicate when working in dispersed teams. If your boss forgets to answer a question over email or Slack, ask it again to ensure everyone is on the same page.
It’s also important to bring a positive intention to conversations with colleagues and your managers. Without the benefit of an in-person dialogue, it’s easy for your tone to seem too harsh or blunt. HBR recommends defaulting to the friendlier and warmer way of saying something when communicating online.
In the United States alone, the number of remote employees has jumped by 115% in the last ten years. This leap signals a change in what it means to build a career as a support professional.
As more companies shift their emphasis to remote collaboration across a global economy, customer support professionals who work at home are in the perfect position to grow their careers for the long term.
Are you ready to dive in?
This article was originally published on Help Scout. It has been republished here with permission.