Is consumer services a good career path?
How do you feel about solving problems for consumers and keeping them happy about your company’s services?
If this is something that you think you’d be good at, then pursuing a career in consumer services is something that may intrigue you.
A career path in consumer services is a good choice because it gives you many opportunities for career development and professional growth. With such professional experience, you can easily transfer from one business niche to another and be valued by companies as an expert.
Here we will take a closer look at what a career in consumer services entails so you can decide for yourself whether or not to pursue it.
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What are consumer services?
Consumer services is a broad term that refers to the creation and delivery of a broad spectrum of services that are provided directly to end consumers rather than companies and organizations.
Professionals who work in the consumer services field focus on improving the consumer experience.
Consumer spending (for consumer goods and consumer services) in the United States equates to tens of trillions of dollars per year so it makes up a solid percentage of the American Economy.
For example, in the 4th quarter of 2021 consumer spending in the US reached 13.8 trillion U.S. dollars.
What are some examples of consumer services?
Here are the top industries that fall in the consumer services category:
- Health care
- Real estate
- Information technology
- Trades services
These industries are broad and they offer various career options that are related to consumer interactions. You can approach each one from a consumer services standpoint in pursuit of a career.
Consumer services career options
All jobs within consumer services entail a strong focus on positive consumer experience. Let’s take a look at some typical positions that fall in the consumer services category.
1. Customer service representative
Customer service agents are in direct communication with consumers.
They offer product and/or service support, answering the questions of consumers and making sure that they are happy with the services/products that they use.
Many companies have customer service departments, offering support through phone lines, email, and live chat.
2. Market researcher
Understanding markets and consumer behavior is crucial for businesses. This is where market researchers come in.
As a market researcher, your job is to understand the behavior and habits of consumers in order to provide them with services and products that meet their needs in the best possible way.
Based on your findings and reports, service providers are able to make adjustments and improve in order to increase their sales and profits.
3. Service designer
The job of a service designer is to create and/or optimize every step of a service delivery process.
Usually, this involves backtracking the steps of the consumers, understanding their interactions with a service, and making improvements.
4. Quality control specialist
Quality control specialists are technically supervisors who make sure that service delivery is done according to established standards of quality.
The job entails communication with both service delivery staff and consumers, supervising service delivery, and training new recruits.
5. Service manager
A service manager is a middle management position.
Key responsibilities include management of service delivery, training, organizing, and supporting service delivery staff, and ensuring a good service experience for the end consumers.
6. Service provider
All forms of direct service provision to end consumers require good customer service in order to be successful.
If you decide to acquire a trade and become a professional who delivers some kind of service, then you will greatly benefit from following good customer service practices.
How to get a job in the consumer services field
Before you start applying for various positions in the consumer services field, there are certain steps that you can take in order to become a dream job candidate.
1. Understand the industry
It is completely natural to be drawn toward certain industries more than others. It would be best if you focus on industries that you are passionate about. Then take the time to research them carefully.
For example, find out what the top companies in those industries are. Find out how and where they operate.
Learn about their services, their products, their locations, and their customers. This knowledge will be important later on during job interviews.
2. Refine your set of skills
Working with customers requires patience and the ability to listen – active listening, problem-solving, and decision-making are all valuable skills to have when it comes to customer interactions. Knowing foreign languages is definitely an advantage.
3. Approach the right companies
Do your best to learn more about the companies that you are interested in. Find out what their mission, vision, and goals are.
Find out about their company culture and values. You’d want to end up working for a company that is aligned with your personal values.
4. Craft an outstanding resume
Before you start job-hunting, make sure that your resume is specifically tailored for the consumer services field. Highlight your soft skills and industry knowledge.
Make it a point that you understand consumer-centric business models.
5. Impress the hiring managers
Your goal during a job interview for a consumer services position is to turn it into a great passionate conversation.
During your interview, highlight your passion for servicing consumers, your conversation skills, and your interest in the industry.
Also, job interviews for consumer services positions often turn into simulated conversations between company representatives (the candidates) and customers (hiring managers).
You should anticipate it and prepare for your “role” based on the type of company that is hiring and the specifics of the industry.
Why is consumer services a good career path?
Nowadays, nearly all industries have a consumer services aspect to them. Specialists in the field are highly valued by companies. So here are at least 5 good reasons for you to pursue a career in this field
1. Low entry level
Even if you don’t have formal education related to this professional field or any type of professional qualification, you can still easily find a job in the sector.
All you need is the right set of soft skills and the desire to learn how to interact with consumers.
2. Transferable professional experience
It is safe to say that understanding customers and keeping them happy is a trade of its own. And it is directly related to the success of a company.
So working a consumer services job, be it at entry-level, will give you valuable professional experience that is transferable to many other jobs.
3. Career progression
Once you enter the field, there are all kinds of opportunities for professional development and growth. For easy reference, take one more look at the consumer services jobs that I have listed above.
4. Countless amazing companies
There are all kinds of exciting companies that do tons of cool things in the world. The consumer services field presents a low-entry way to join such a company.
From there on, who knows where your career path will take you?
5. Always relevant, always changing
As long as there are service providers, there will always be consumer services specialists. But consumer behaviors change.
So it is up to the specialist to keep up and help companies and businesses to adjust. This makes it a truly exciting professional field to be a part of.
What companies are in the consumer services industry?
Here are some examples of the most successful companies that offer careers in the consumer services field. You might have heard of some of them.
- Home Depot
All household brand names. If you are passionate about understanding consumer behavior and keeping consumers happy, then it is absolutely possible to end up working for one of these huge companies.
And the best part is there are thousands of other exciting companies that you might end up working for.
Frequently asked questions about consumer services
What educational qualifications are required for a career in consumer services?
Typically, a high school diploma is required, though some roles may prefer a bachelor's degree or relevant certifications.
How does the consumer services industry differ from customer service?
Consumer services encompass a broader range of services provided to consumers, while customer service specifically focuses on assisting and addressing customer inquiries and complaints.
Are there opportunities for remote work in consumer services?
Yes, many consumer services roles, especially in customer support and sales, offer remote work options.
How can one advance in their career within consumer services?
Advancement can be achieved through gaining experience, obtaining relevant certifications, and demonstrating exceptional performance and leadership skills.
Are there any certifications or courses beneficial for a career in consumer services?
Yes, certifications like Certified Customer Service Professional (CCSP) and courses in communication, sales, and conflict resolution can be beneficial.