It’s no secret that the job market is changing. With technology rapidly evolving, some career fields that once offered plenty of jobs are being replaced by new and innovative opportunities.
So, what does this mean for your career path? Consumer services may be an excellent option if you’re looking to switch to a new industry.
This article will explore the field of consumer services, some of its most in-demand roles, and how to get started if it’s something you’re interested in.
What are consumer services?
Consumer services are businesses that provide services to individuals. These businesses can be small or large, but they all share one common goal: to provide a service that meets the needs of their consumer.
The consumer may not be the direct purchaser of a product, which is where consumer service differs from other service fields, such as customer service. Instead, consumers are the end users of your product or service, and consumer services comprise your support for consumers, regardless of whether they directly purchased your product or service.
Related: 3 Strategies to Improve Your Customer Service Experience
Consumer services can include everything from grocery stores and restaurants to car dealerships and healthcare providers. To succeed, people in consumer services must identify the needs of their target market and design a service that meets those needs.
They must also effectively promote their service and build a good reputation among their target market. By meeting these goals, consumer services professionals can satisfy their customers and build a successful business.
This is a basic function for all service-oriented businesses and applies just as much to the consumer services sector. However, keep in mind that consumer services are often less direct than customer service, as consumers are not always direct buyers.
The pros of a career in consumer services
A career in consumer services can be enriching for clients and service providers. For clients, having adequate support with your products or services will round out and enhance their experience with it; for the service providers, happy consumers often lead to a boost in brand awareness and a more positive image associated with their products and services.
Consumer service representatives help customers with their orders and questions and often provide customer service through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
They also help to resolve product returns and exchanges. Consumer service representatives often have the opportunity to work from home, which can be a serious perk.
The job can sometimes be stressful but also very fast-paced and exciting. If you’re interested in a career in consumer services, research the various companies that offer this position. Some types of companies that employ this type of position include:
- Food and dining.
- Transportation services.
- Technology support.
You may also want to consider pursuing a degree in customer service or a related field. You can build a strong career in this industry with hard work and dedication.
The cons of a career in consumer services
A career in consumer services comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the most significant drawbacks is dealing with angry or upset customers.
While most people are reasonable, there will always be a small percentage who are impossible to please. This can be frustrating for some people but others find it challenging and rewarding.
Another challenge is working long hours on your feet. If you’re not used to standing for long periods, it can be tough to adjust to specific roles.
Plus, consumer service jobs often require shift work, making maintaining a healthy work-life balance challenging. Before starting a consumer services career, consider the pros and cons.
Related: Work-Life Balance Is Essential for Entrepreneurs
However, in the post-pandemic workforce, remote work is more common than ever. Many consumer services roles can be done from home, or from a call center where you can sit. While these positions may share similar work-life balance issues, you can at least sit down.
Is a career in consumer services right for you?
As rewarding as it can be, consumer services positions are not suitable for everyone. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare decide if this type of position is right for you:
Do you enjoy working with people?
A career in consumer services is all about providing customer support and assistance, so if you don’t enjoy working with people, there may be a better career for you. Besides interacting with customers daily, you must prepare to work well with a team and possibly handle other responsibilities around the office. While this is typically a general requirement for a job, you should give this extra weight if you’re considering consumer services.
Related: The Best Careers for Your Personality Type (Infographic)
What are your skills and qualifications?
It’s best to enter a consumer services role with previous experience in customer service or a related field. This will demonstrate you are capable of resolving issues with product or service experience and can handle a little heat from upset customers.
With consumer services, there is often less of a direct personal connection, which can lead to consumers feeling even more frustrated when issues arise. The key is approaching your new job determined to treat others with respect and learning as much as possible about what your company offers to customers.
Related: A Successful Career Path Doesn’t Have to Be Linear
What are your goals?
What do you hope to achieve by pursuing a career in consumer services? Are you looking for flexible hours or want to move into management eventually? Knowing your goals will help you narrow your options and find the right path.
There are many potential starting points in consumer services. Instead of simply accepting the first job that comes your way, you should put some more thought into it.
For instance, try to write out your skills, qualifications, and goals. Visualize the direction you’d like to take your career and life, and then look for a job that can help you build that career path from the ground up.
Related: Hybrid, Remote Work or Flexible Hours? Know Your Team and What Motivates Them
2023 job outlook for careers in consumer services
If you’re interested in a career in consumer services, you’ll be happy to know that the job outlook is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in this field will grow by 11% between 2016 and 2026. Relative to other occupations they considered, consumer services is larger than average.
You may be curious about why the outlook in the consumer services field is so rosy. There are a couple of primary reasons for this growth.
First, as the baby boomer population ages, the need for healthcare services in the U.S. is expected to increase. This includes medical and non-medical care, everything from hip replacement surgery to living assistance when people can no longer care for themselves.
Additionally, the increasing number of dual-income families is leading to a demand for more child care and other family-related services.
Keep these tips in mind if you want to launch your consumer services career:
- Many positions require at least some formal training or education.
- You’ll need to work well with people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Be patient and compassionate as you work with individuals facing complex challenges.
How to set yourself up for success in consumer services
When it comes to having a successful career in consumer services, it’s essential to set yourself up for success from the outset. First and foremost, you must have a passion for customer service and be able to consistently provide top-notch service.
It’s also helpful to have some field experience, whether through customer service training or previous experience working in a customer-facing role. Being well-organized and having excellent communication skills are important for consumer services.
Adequately understanding and articulating issues with products or services will go a long way with consumers, helping address their issues efficiently and with care. Organization and communication skills can make the difference between just getting the job done and getting the job done right.
If you check these boxes, you’re ready to start your career in consumer services. Start by looking for entry-level jobs in the industry. Companies are always looking for talented customer service representatives, so there’s sure to be a job that’s perfect for you.
Once you have a few years of experience, you may want to consider moving up the ladder and seeking managerial or supervisory roles. No matter the type of job you’re working, you should always strive to exceed expectations.
What are the best consumer services jobs?
There are a variety of consumer services jobs to consider, each with unique responsibilities. Here are a few of the most common consumer services occupations:
1. Customer service representative
As a customer service representative, you’ll be responsible for providing top-notch customer service and helping resolve customer issues. This is a great job for those who enjoy helping others and have excellent communication skills. It can also be a perfect stepping stone to a range of other positions in the future, such as managerial positions within consumer services or entering related fields such as customer retention or consumer support consultation.
Related: Why Customer Service Is a Great Training Ground for Employees in Any Position
A consumer service manager oversees all aspects of the customer service process, from hiring and training staff, to ensuring that customers are happy with their experience. This could be the perfect job if you have strong organizational skills and a passion for customer service. However, remember that you will typically need some experience in the field or with the company to qualify for a managerial position.
A salesperson in the consumer services industry is responsible for selling products or services to consumers. This can be an ideal occupation for those who are outgoing and enjoy meeting new people.
4. Account executive
An account executive manages and maintains existing client relationships. It requires you to work collaboratively with others, be highly organized, and think critically to solve customers’ problems.
A consumer service trainer trains and mentors customer service representatives on how to provide excellent customer service. This could be a great option if you are passionate about customer service and like to teach others; however, you’ll want to ensure you’re comfortable and capable as a public speaker.
No matter what job you choose, a passion for customer service can take you far in the consumer services field.
The verdict: Is consumer services a good career path?
So, is a career in consumer services right for you? The answer to that question depends on your personal goals and preferences.
If you want a job where you can help people and feel good about what you do daily, then consumer services may be the perfect fit.
Customer experience remains a top priority for companies across all industries. So, there’s still plenty of opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in consumer services.
You can build a long-lasting career in consumer services as long as you can communicate effectively with others (and enjoy doing it), effectively solve problems, and help customers feel good about your company’s products or services.
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