As with any career, customer service requires certain background experiences, skills, and knowledge to be successful.
However, some people may be more receptive towards certain positions based on their personalities. It's important to consider who you are as an individual when considering a career since you put so much of yourself into that job.
Below, we have curated a list of six specific customer service roles and their responsibilities. If you are more interested in diving straight into your personality type, click here.
Career Overview for Customer Service, Support, and Success
1. (Remote) Customer Support Representative
A customer support representative is a frontline worker on the customer support team. They are responsible for responding to customer inquiries via phone calls, emails, live chats, and social media direct messages. Customer support is more responsive versus customer service which is proactive in communicating with customers.
Remote customer support reps complete the same responsibilities as customer support representatives but away from the office. They may work from home or another preferred workspace and have more freedom to travel, take care of their families, work other jobs, and get degrees while working.
2. Customer Service Representative
A customer service representative is a frontline worker on the customer service team. They are responsible for reaching out to existing and potential customers with product offers, information about the company, and other updates. It is more proactive versus customer support which is responsive in communicating with customers.
Customer service reps typically work in offices or call centers and report to a customer service manager. They may communicate with customers via phone calls, live chats, email, or social media. The important thing is that customer service reps identify solutions for needs before customers even know they have them.
3. Customer Support Engineer
A customer support engineer is also a frontline worker on the customer support team. However, they specifically focus on handling technical issues customers are having with their computer systems, software or hardware.
Customer support engineers typically have a background in IT and can handle an array of computer problems. They are essential assets to SaaS companies and may also help resolve internal software issues.
4. Customer Success Manager
A customer success manager works one-on-one with customers as partners. They help customers with product onboarding, implementing products in their companies, and creating campaigns with the products.
Customer success managers follow up with their customers regularly, checking on their progress and acting similarly to a trusted advisor. They ensure that their customers are getting the most out of their new products by helping them build creative, interesting campaigns.
5. Customer Service Manager
A customer service manager leads their customer service team. They hire and train new reps on their team and act as a resource for them whenever they have questions. They also set goals for their team based on the company vision and check up on each rep regularly to ensure they are hitting numbers.
Customer service managers might handle the records of their customers and employees and set the tone for a positive, successful team. In general, they oversee the entire customer service team and interfere in customer interactions when necessary.
6. VP of Customer Success or Chief Customer Officer
The VP of Customer Success or Chief Customer Officer works alongside the rest of the executive board. They head all the customer teams within their company. Their main responsibility is to understand the customer inside-and-out and represent the customer's vision to the rest of the executive board.
They design new programs for the company based on data to constantly improve the customer experience. They also need to ensure that the entire company has a customer-centric focus by leading by example.
John L. Holland was an American psychologist who pioneered important research in the fields of occupational work, personalities, and environments, as written by the National Career Development Association. His work influenced many career counselors and gave them the tools they need to guide people in the right career direction.
He established the hexagon shape to represent the six types of career psychology he outlined. According to Career Key, Holland organizes people into one of six career personality types: Realistic, Social, Investigative, Artistic, Conventional, and Enterprising.
It's typical to focus on your two personality types that have the highest percentages. In addition, you may write out your Holland Code: the first letter of each personality type in the order of highest to lowest association with yourself. For instance, my Holland Code, based on the Holland Codes test, is AESICR.
There is a Career Key Discovery® test you can take for a cost to learn about your personality types. However, Holland Codes offers a free, written version of the test, too. After taking one of the career tests, read below to find out what customer service career aligns best with your top personality type.
1. Realistic: "The Do-er"
Practical · Mechanical · Rational
Those of you who identify as realistic would be successful as remote customer support representatives.
Realistic personalities enjoying participating in activities that involve hands-on, practical problem-solving. They enjoy being outdoors in nature and working with tools, machinery, and wood. They prefer to work outside, alone, and without paperwork.
As a remote customer support representative, you would have the freedom to work outdoors or in any workspace that feels comfortable and practical, rather than being confined to a desk. You wouldn't have to work closely with others, as all of your interactions with customers and other employees would be virtual. Since realistic personalities enjoy problem-solving, you would thoroughly enjoy navigating the practical issues customers have with their new products and services. Your rational, level-headed mind is ideal for handling a range of customer problems with cool composure.
2. Social: "The Helper"
Helpful · Friendly · Trustworthy
Those of you who identify as social would be successful as customer service representatives.
Social personalities enjoy working closely with, communicating with and teaching people. Social people love helping others and providing them with some kind of service. They enjoy providing information to people and prefer to do so without using any tools or machines. They value helping others solve their problems and find joy in doing so.
As a customer service representative, you would get the opportunity to spend every day communicating with new, interesting customers. You would be able to help them by actively listening and finding solutions to their various problems. This is a field that requires outstanding communication skills, patience, and kindness … all qualities that you hold dear. You would get to build relationships with these customers. The fact that you are so charismatic and trustworthy would help you improve customer conversations, making you a great asset to the customer service team.
3. Investigative: "The Thinker"
Precise · Scientific · Intellectual
Those of you who identify as investigative would be successful as customer support engineers.
Investigative personalities enjoy working with complex ideas and participating in activities that require vast amounts of thinking. They enjoy discovering new facts and solving mental problems. They enjoy, and are good at, math and science, and value these fields very much. They veer away from trying to persuade or sell to people.
As a customer support engineer, you would get the opportunity to solve more complex, thought-provoking problems. You would get to learn a lot of interesting facts about computer systems and put them to the test when working with customers. Since you enjoy math and science, you would love the opportunity to incorporate both these skills into this very analytical field. You would never have to feel like you're persuading people or leading them astray, since customer support is a responsive field, not proactive. Your scientific mind would be immensely helpful in fostering a more insightful customer support engineering team.
4. Artistic: "The Creator"
Expressive · Original · Independent
Those of you who identify as artistic would be successful as customer success managers.
Artistic personalities enjoy working with creative forms, patterns, and designs. They enjoy working freely with no clear rules and having opportunities for self-expression. They enjoy doing highly artistic activities in their free time, like music and theatre, and like to bring that kind of lively, individualistic energy into their workspace.
As a customer success manager, you would get the freedom to work collaboratively with customers. That means fewer boundaries and set rules, and more fluidity. There are no scripts or formalities in this role. Rather, you would be working with customers as partners, guiding them and also learning from them, too. You would get the chance to help them plan exciting campaigns, and set them up for success with programs you build together. In this role, you would be able to exercise your exceptional creativity and individuality and hone it into specific customers to help inspire them.
5. Conventional: "The Organizer"
Orderly · Detail-Oriented · Methodical
Those of you who identify as conventional would be successful as customer service managers.
Conventional personalities enjoy following a structured routine every day. They prefer working with data and hard facts, rather than creative, abstract ideas. They enjoy following a strict line of authority and would be overwhelmed by too much freedom. They are good at keeping records of data, numbers, and patterns and setting clear goals.
As a customer service manager, you would get the opportunity to be more involved with numbers than customer service representatives, since you would handle data on your employees and customers. You would manage records of customer interactions with your reps and store them in an organized fashion. As the manager, you would get to set detailed goals for your team and build them a daily routine to maximize their success. Your strong organization skills would help you be the most efficient, precise manager possible.
6. Enterprising: "The Persuader"
Energetic · Ambitious · Sociable
Those of you who identify as enterprising would be successful as the VP of Customer Success or Chief Customer Officer.
Enterprising personalities enjoy proactively starting their own projects. They are comfortable stepping up into a leadership role and making decisions for others. They are confident in themselves and willing to take risks to make necessary improvements. They have strong persuasion skills and can easily sell ideas and products. In their free time, they enjoy keeping up with politics and business and value success in these fields.
As the VP of Customer Success or Chief Customer Officer, you would get the opportunity to lead your entire customer team and make decisions to constantly improve the customer experience. You would get to take thrilling risks by shifting the company vision to be more customer-centric. Since you are so persuasive, you would be successful in convincing the rest of the company about the importance of being customer-focused and in convincing customers why they should choose your business. Your interest in business and leadership, combined with your ambition and energy, would make you a great choice for this role.
Using Holland's six personality types is a fascinating way to analyze your personality traits in a career-focused lens. It's important to note that no one is one specific personality type. We are all combinations of several different types, with one that typically stands out as the highest percentage. While you may be most successful in a career path that falls into your top personality type, you can find success in a career that aligns with your second or third type, too. What's important is finding a career that you love that helps you show off your strongest qualities and improve your weaker ones.
For more information on these, and other, customer careers, check out this guide on customer service and support salaries.