Before the pandemic, most work-from-home jobs were ones that only required a computer, like accounting or administration.
Jobs that require face-to-face or over-the-phone interactions weren’t always a good candidate for remote work, but that’s entirely changed in the past couple of years.
Now, more than 3/4 of companies with customer service roles have between 80–100% of these employees in remote positions.
This is great news for you, the job seeker, as it means there is an abundance of opportunities on job ad boards right now.
What might not be so simple, though, is understanding how the different kinds of online customer service jobs work and what they entail.
In this article, we’ll shed some light on these types of jobs by giving you the lowdown on six of the most popular online customer service jobs you can work from home.
Customer service representatives are employees that work for a company as the first point of contact for many customer inquiries.
They assist customers in resolving complaints, solving problems, processing payments, answering questions, and providing information about products or services.
An online customer service job is no different from a regular customer service position, apart from the fact that you don’t have to come into the office each day.
Online customer service agents work virtually, meaning they can work remotely from any location.
Most online customer service representatives choose to work from home. However, most jobs give you the flexibility to work from wherever you like, so you might also decide to go to a coworking space or work from a cafe or library for the day.
Customer service jobs are a popular entry-level position in the U.S., with nearly 3 million Americans employed in this kind of role.
One reason for the popularity of this job is that most positions don’t require any previous experience or extensive education, with the majority only asking for a high school diploma or equivalent.
It also offers a fairly competitive median hourly rate, with the average customer service employee earning $17.23 per hour.
So, what are the different kinds of customer service jobs you can work from home?
Let’s break down the six top online customer service jobs.
Live chat support agents are responsible for assisting customers and providing customer care via the instant chat portal on your organization’s website.
Though some aspects of this job are being taken over by chatbots (pictured above), many customers still need or prefer to speak to a real person.
Working as a live chat customer service representative is ideal for anyone who works in a noisy environment, has a speech or hearing impairment, or is more comfortable performing customer service work in a text-based environment.
Some common industries that hire live chat support agents include:
Travel booking websites
Call center representatives are probably the main kind of position people think of when they hear the term “customer service.”
As a remote call center agent, you’ll be responsible for answering customer phone calls in a timely manner, listening to customer inquiries and issues, providing potential solutions, and often making follow-up phone calls to customers at a later date.
Traditionally, this position has been an in-office job, hence the name “call center.” In 2021 (and beyond), up to 80% of call center reps are employed in a work-from-home position.
As long as you have a headset and a high-speed internet connection, then you can work remotely as a call center agent.
Remote call center representatives need to have strong communication skills, as it’s common for customers to call in feeling upset with a problem they’re facing.
Online customer support engineers provide technical support to customers and commonly work for software companies and other high-tech industries.
To become a remote support engineer, you’ll typically need specific experience troubleshooting software issues and a deep understanding of the company’s product (training is typically provided).
The job description for this kind of online support job often requires a qualification in a relevant field, such as software engineering or computer science.
This is a high-demand position, with a median wage of $26.69 per hour and an expected growth rate of 9% (faster than average), as more and more tech companies go to market and require experienced representatives to help them provide technical support.
Virtual assistants work for a company to provide remote administrative assistance.
Typical duties include invoicing and processing payments, organizing travel and accommodation, managing calendars, booking meetings, answering phone calls and emails, keeping databases up to date, and acting as the first point of contact in a receptionist-style role.
This last duty is where the customer service experience begins.
As a virtual assistant responsible for answering the company phone, you’ll need to be able to answer initial queries, redirect customers to the appropriate person in the business, or book appointments on behalf of clients.
This job is ideal for those who want to dip a toe into a new job in the customer service world but still want the majority of their work to be non-customer-facing duties like data entry.
Remote travel agents work for travel companies and assist customers in booking flights, sourcing accommodation, booking tours and excursions, and building travel itineraries.
You may also be required to provide some emergency support if things go wrong while your customer is overseas.
While more and more people are turning to online booking platforms like Expedia so that they handle their own travel arrangements, this is still a growing industry, with an expected growth rate of 5% and a great median pay rate of a little over $20 per hour.
Implementation specialists assist new customers in getting set up using their company’s products.
For example, an implementation specialist at a B2B tech company would help customers set up the company’s software platform. They would also train employees to use it, create integrations with other software platforms the customer’s company uses, and import data from old systems.
Being a fairly technical role, most employers are looking for applicants with education or experience in software development or support who understand how systems work and how to resolve technical issues.
Are you wondering if you’ve got what it takes to become an online customer service specialist?
Here’s a quick checklist to help you self-assess whether you’d do well as a work-from-home customer service representative.
It’s important that you have a comfortable work environment to perform your customer service duties in.
In particular, if you’re going to be providing phone support (which many of these roles require), you’ll need an office or coworking space with minimal background noise.
This job type requires a high degree of self-motivation, as you don’t have a manager looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re completing your duties.
If you’re the kind of person who gets up on the weekend and has no issue completing your weekly chores and errands, then remote customer service jobs could be a great fit for you.
Virtually all of your work as an online customer service representative is done online.
Even phone calls operate through the internet via what is known as a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone. So, a solid, reliable internet connection is a must-have.
The majority of what you’ll be doing as a remote customer service representative is solving problems.
You’ll be listening to customers on the other end of the line, figuring out what exactly they need, and then seeking to identify solutions.
This might involve speaking with technical specialists in your organization, referring to documentation or protocols, or simply relying on your own knowledge of the company’s systems and products.
In any case, you’ll need to be comfortable solving problems quickly.
In many cases, by the time a customer reaches the point where they need to call customer service, they’ve already been dealing with a problem for some time. They are likely quite frustrated with having tried to resolve it themselves.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll often find that the customer on the other end of the line isn’t in the best mood and can sometimes come across as rude or grumpy.
While most companies have a zero-abuse policy, you’ll still need a good understanding of how to defuse tense situations, how to calm agitated customers down, and how to show empathy and care.
One of the most challenging aspects of online customer service jobs is that you’re working from home and working on your own.
This can leave employees feeling quite isolated, even if you’re regularly in touch with colleagues via messaging apps like Slack.
It’s important for your mental health that you have a stable social life outside of the work environment where you can see some friends and family after work or on the weekend and dive into a hobby when you have some time alone.
Now that you’ve got a good understanding of six popular kinds of online customer service jobs and what it takes to be successful in this kind of position, there’s just one question left to answer:
Is a remote customer service role right for you?
If the answer is yes, then you’ve got a couple of steps ahead of you.
First, you need to get your resume in order so you can land an interview and your first remote customer service position. Check out our guide for a few helpful tips: What does a good resume include in 2021?
Then, it’s time to start applying for jobs! The Jobcase job board is the perfect place to start, and you can easily filter for remote-only jobs when searching.