Customer support jobs, and service jobs in general, are in high demand these days. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, service jobs will continue to outpace employment in all other job sectors for the next quarter century. They are expecting a whopping 7.5 million jobs by 2026 in the sectors of U.S. healthcare and social assistance, professional business services, and leisure and hospitality. This includes nurses, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, customer service agents, chefs, waitstaff and many more. Basically, these are the people that we encounter on almost a daily basis.
The Benefits of Customer Support Jobs
Not only are service jobs the fastest growing sector with the most job openings, they are the least likely jobs to be replaced by robots (or automation). A recent article from Forbes.com, Don’t Be So Quick to Dismiss Service Jobs, discussed this in great detail. The article discussed how people seem to look at customer support jobs as “the worst jobs”, being low-paying and dead-end. But many customer support jobs pay very well (have you ever worked as a restaurant server and brought home several hundred dollars cash in one night?). They also give unskilled people a place to start with employment: they can learn new skills, build a professional network and then move on to something else when the time is right.
Also, retail and food service companies such as McDonald’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Target, Wal-Mart and Costco have gone great lengths in recent years to raise hourly wages and have seen much success, paying as much as $20 an hour. They have improved their benefits plans for employees too, offering full health, dental and vision insurance, tuition reimbursement, 401ks and stock options, among other benefits. With such high demand and good pay in these industries, customer support jobs are indeed experiencing a new revolution.
Customer support jobs are challenging, and you don’t walk away from them without being stronger and ready to take on anything. Some of the skills you gain from customer support and food service jobs include problem solving, interpersonal skills, perseverance, adaptability and teamwork. For example, the math, interpersonal and multitasking skills people in food service and retail gain could be an excellent match for finance or public relations. These skills also can make it much easier to go back to school and learn about something you really love.
Customer Support Jobs and The Gig Economy
Customer support jobs are also revolutionizing as a result of the gig economy. The gig (or on-demand) economy describes the growth of freelancers and independent contractors in the workforce. Many workers prefer this way of working due to the flexibility, better work-life balance and opportunity for unlimited shifts and more pay, among other reasons. A recent survey from global freelancing platform Upwork reported that approximately 36% of the U.S. workforce performs freelance work. A recent article from Tucson.com entitled Gig Economy on the Rise: Customer Service Agents Show Strong Interest Working as On-Demand Agents responded to a survey from Aspect Software that found that 40% of customer service agents would be interested in pursuing on-demand jobs, with 51% of young millennials and Generation Z (our youngest generations in the workforce) expressing interest. With apps like Uber, TaskRabbit and Snag Work allowing workers to swipe and click to select a shift in a matter of seconds, the world is giving these workers what they want.
On-demand customer support agents seem to be the next big thing. The effect of the gig economy on customer support jobs also means a better service experience for customers, since agents are called upon during the busiest times when they are needed. And companies that employ these on-demand agents are not only giving them more flexibility and unlimited earning potential, they are also investing in better technology and training for these agents.
Indeed, the once-dreaded customer support jobs are in the midst of their next revolution. More jobs, better pay, better hours and better tools. What more could a person ask for in a job?
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Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.