The Growth of the Customer Service Professional
The job outlook for careers in customer service is hot. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of customer service representatives is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is fueled by the expansion of what it means to be a customer service professional and the new opportunities that exist to reach out and provide service to customers in unique ways.
This growth is attracting a varied set of professionals, all with different skills and areas of expertise. Below is just a snapshot of the new roles sprouting up:
- Technical support representative
- Sales product support
- Client success managers
- Customer care ambassadors
- Help desk support
- Online customer support
Why Is It Growing?
As we’ve already mentioned, the customer service field is growing, in size and scope. But why? What’s fueling this?
The Always-On Marketplace
Anyone who has owned or worked for one knows that customer problems don’t fall neatly between Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They occur after-hours, on the weekends, and almost always on holidays or during your scheduled vacation. When service problems occur, customers don’t care what time it is. They expect you to be there to deliver a fast response or resolution to their problem. So what if it the sun hasn’t come up yet?
- 42% of consumers complaining in social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
- 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.
This always-on, 24/7 marketplace calls for near-constant customer service, representatives who are skilled in handling crises in real-time with finesse, ease and creative solutions. Bonus points if you don’t actually require sleep.
The Empowered Consumer
Why do customers expect around the clock care? Because marketing has told them they deserve it.
Consumers today are smarter, more empowered and more connected. They know the difference between good customer service and bad customer service because they’ve heard the range of stories, from Comcast (bad) to Zappos (wow!). We don’t want to do business with just anyone; we seek out businesses with a reputation for delivering delightful experiences.
Your customers are connected. Their buying choices are no longer confined by their own networks or the networks of their immediate family. Through social media and online review sites, they are able to tap into a global network of experiences and recommendations.
Even more, consumers can use social media to tie themselves directly to the brands they do business with. They are able to ask questions or demand resolution and they expect an almost-immediate response.
All of this has sparked a necessary reaction from business and service professionals. They are now required to meet consumers where they are naturally speaking, when the conversation is taking place. That means more customer service professionals, on more channels, having more conversations, at an alarming pace.