4 Reasons for June Grads to Take a Customer Service Job
Whether you’re graduating from High School or from College, looking for a summer job or something more permanent, consider working in a call center. It’s probably different than you think. Call centers have changed quite a bit in recent years, with a high focus on customer service.
This customer-centric focus is a great tool for any recent grad to master…no matter what career path you end up following. And, by the way -- demand for career customer service/call center professionals in on the rise! So, don’t scoff at this as a dead-end job! I know several successful sales and management professionals who started right out of school in a “lowly” customer service position and climbed the ladder from there.
A wise man once told me that “Where you go from here is up to you!”
So, here are my top 3 reasons why a customer service job makes a great first job:
- Demand for U.S. Based Customer Service Pros is on the Rise!
Here’s a history lesson: Back in the 1990s, many industries outsourced customer service call centers overseas. For the first time, technology made it possible for companies to hire low-cost overseas workers to handle their customer service calls. While technology had advanced, the quality of customer service suffered for a variety of reasons. “Call Center” and “Customer Service” became synonymous with lengthy on-hold times and less than stellar performance.
That’s why, beginning in the mid-2000s, the customer service offshoring trend began to reverse, and thousands of call center jobs have been brought back to the U.S. This new onshoring trend shows no signs of letting up. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects customer service call-center employment to grow 39% between 2014 and 2024.
This means that as new centers continue to open and expand the demand for both entry- and management-level employees is growing. So, while you may not have grown up thinking that a call center position is your “dream job,” you may just find out that if you give it a try, a modern call center has lots to offer.
- Future Earnings Potential Higher Than Other, Similar Jobs
Did you know that it’s not just about how much the job you get today pays? It’s every bit as much about what today’s job prepares you to do when it’s time to go to your next (higher-paying) job. The national median salary range for a call center/customer service job is $11.00 to $13.00, according to www.payscale.com, with location having a lot to do with whether the salary offered is on the top end or the bottom end of the scale.
In general, this is a better starting salary than retail sales, which is another “first job” that recent grads look to. Moreover, if your ultimate goal is to get into a more business-oriented position, and “climb the corporate ladder” there’s no better place for first-job experience than a call center/customer service job. It will hone your people-skills, while giving you a working knowledge of technology and office procedures. So, it’s a good “lift-off” position for future jobs and future earnings. Which brings us to:
- You’ll Develop Valuable Skills and Experience
As a call center agent, you might have as many as a hundred conversations per day. For each, there will be a checklist of specific tasks to perform, such as starting with the correct greeting, asking the required questions and entering relevant data from the call.
So, each call is an opportunity for you to either improve your response or to learn from your mistakes. Call center agents have many more learning opportunities per hour than those in most other occupations have in a week. This kind of on-the-job training can’t be taught in the classroom and is invaluable as you move forward in your career.
Call center jobs require people skills, the ability to solve problems and to communicate well. These are all skills that are necessary for success in nearly any field. Of course, there’s more to the job than just communicating well with people. Depending upon the company you work for, you may need to check account balances, correct errors, or provide detailed information.
Most companies offer on-line self-service for customers, so if they’re calling in for help, it’s usually a complicated issue that requires more than just checking a box. It requires the call-taker to solve the problem.
- Career Advancement
We won’t hide the fact that call centers have a high rate of employee turnover. They are fast-paced environments, and new agents who find they aren’t cut out for the job usually do so very quickly. But people who do well in this type of environment can really thrive—and so can their careers.
Call center positions don’t have to be dead-end entry-level jobs that require no skill and don’t lead anywhere. That’s a common misperception.
As I said at the beginning, “Where you go from here is up to you!”
For call center agents who stay focused and motivated, opportunities abound.