Finding a job can be difficult when your lifestyle doesn't permit you to go into an office from nine to five every weekday. Perhaps you need to be a stay-at-home parent or you dream of being a digital nomad, or your ideal job happens to be halfway across the country -- or the world -- from you. Whatever the case may be, your current situation may call for you to look into remote jobs.
Working from home definitely calls for proper remote work practices, as it can be difficult to stay self-motivated to work alone. However, if you have an interest or need to do so, it can be the perfect decision to match your lifestyle. And, if you've got a knack for communication and problem-solving, that remote job might just fall under customer service.
A remote customer service rep proactively reaches out to current and prospective customers with new offers, preemptive solutions, product news, and more. However, rather than working in-office, they work from home or another remote location. They perform the same responsibilities as a customer service rep, except that their team is either partially or fully remote.
You may be surprised by the sheer number of positions there are for remote employees. However, before diving in headfirst, you may wonder if you have what it takes to handle a remote customer service position.
Signs That Remote Customer Service Is Right for You
1. You have access to a home office or a coworking space.
If you want to work remotely, it's probably for the best that you don't commit to doing so from your bed -- even if I might be at this very moment. This can decrease your productivity or cause you to form an unhealthy association between your bedroom -- which is supposed to be a relaxing space -- and work stress.
You want to create an environment that is as similar to an office as possible to ensure you remain productive and in a professional zone. This will keep you focused and feeling professional, even if you're in sweats.
2. You're a self-starter.
One of the aspects of remote work is working primarily alone. While you'll probably still have a team and a manager, it's a little different when there's physical distance separating you. It can get hard to stay motivated when you're working independently. However, if you enjoy the challenge and can easily find ways to stay on track without constant monitoring, this is the job for you.
3. You have a strong internet connection.
This may seem obvious, but working from home means you don't have access to your company's top-notch WiFi. You'll need to invest in a strong network to ensure that you don't get cut out of customer interactions. In customer service, speed and efficiency is everything, and the last thing you want is for a slow Internet connection to leave a customer hanging.
4. You have effective communication skills.
Just because you're not face-to-face with customers doesn't mean you can slack off on your tone and presence. This may be easier for a call center agent or support rep who gets to speak with customers on the phone. However, when your only means of communication is email or live chat, all you have to represent yourself and your reputation is your written words. So, make sure you're always getting your point across clearly and leaving no room for misinterpretation.
5. You can handle networking outside of your comfort zone.
One of the best parts about working in an office is that you have free access to several employees with whom you can network on a daily basis. However, just because you're remote doesn't mean you can't still network. You should feel comfortable reaching out to other employees to chat via video calls and approaching people in coworking spaces. Those are the kinds of interactions that are going to help you progress your career in the future.
If you still feel like a remote customer service job is for you, read on about some of the best options we've found.
10 Remote Customer Service Jobs to Consider
1. Remote Call Center Agent
Long gone are the days that require call center agents to work in just that -- a call center. While call centers are still widely in use, it's relatively easy to handle the same tasks from the comfort of your home. With the help of a call center headset, you can perform all your household responsibilities -- or travel the world -- while still guiding customers through their problems over the phone.
2. Remote Customer Service Rep
Remote customer service reps have the same responsibilities as customer service reps. They reach out to customers and offer new products and services, discounts, proactive solutions, and company news. They usually have to reach a certain number of calls or emails to meet daily goals. Since this position is restricted to different forms of virtual communication -- from phones to email to live chat to social media -- it can be handled from any remote location. It may be easier to hit your numbers when working alone.
3. Remote Customer Support Rep
Rather than proactively contacting customers, remote customer support reps respond to customer questions and concerns and offer product and service solutions in return. They provide support over various channels, just like remote customer service reps. They have the ease to work from any location, as long as they have access to a phone and WiFi.
4. Remote Live Chat Agent
Similarly to a call center agent or any support rep, a live chat agent provides constant support to customers or prospects, but solely over live chat. You'll often be helping customers with questions they have while online shopping on your company's website. This is position is perfect for you if your remote environment is often loud or distracting or if you feel uncomfortable speaking on the spot, as you won't be making calls.
5. Remote Customer Support Engineer
Customer support engineers can offer high-quality solutions without having to work a day in an office. They specialize in reactively solving technical problems customers might have with products or services. As long as you have a background or general knowledge in computer systems and have been properly trained in your company's software, you can handle the tasks of a technical support rep from whatever location you choose.
6. Remote Customer Success Manager
Customer success managers work with several customers and assist with product onboarding, account management, and campaign execution. Customer success managers form a close partnership with their customers, following up with them regularly to ensure they are constantly gaining value. These tasks are typically performed via email or phone, although you may sometimes need to video chat with your customers. A relatively quiet, distraction-free environment is preferred.
7. Remote Implementation Specialist
Once a customer has made a purchase, it's the job of an implementation specialist to help those customers with product onboarding so they learn the inner-workings of their product and avoid any immediate technical difficulties. While this position is usually in-office, it can easily be made remote once you're properly trained in the various products.
8. Remote Virtual Assistant
Remote virtual assistants work on a variety of specific tasks for customers. They can be treated as online personal assistants. Some examples of responsibilities can include scheduling meetings, managing client emails, or conducting research for their businesses. This is a great position for someone who likes to have unique tasks every day and work very closely with customers, while still getting to work from home.
9. Remote Telephone Research Interviewer
Many companies hire individuals to specialize in this type of outbound calling. As a telephone research interviewer, you call customers on behalf of companies and conduct a research survey about their experiences over the phone. You collect their responses which will then provide valuable insights about the customers. Since this position, too, occurs completely over the phone, it's easy for a telephone research interviewer to work from home.
10. Remote Travel Agent
Although travel agents may seem like an outdated concept, they still exist. While they occasionally help customers plan personal trips, they focus more on corporate travels nowadays. What may have once required in-person meetings can now occur via email, phone, or live chat. With a general knowledge in your company's software, a savvy eye for discounts, and an interest in travel, you can be successful at coordinating customer travels from the comfort of your couch or, perhaps, your own vacations.
For more information on getting a customer service remote job, check out this post on writing the best call center resume.
Originally published Aug 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated February 13 2019