As I mentioned, the field of support is constantly growing and shifting. Because of that, there are always new and different roles opening up, commensurate to experience and interest. That being said, there are a few tried and true roles that almost every company will have eventually if they don’t already.
Also known as an “agent,” “specialist” or “rep,” a customer support representative works on the front lines of customer support and can range anywhere from an entry-level role up to a team lead type of position.
They are often responsible for: answering phone calls, live chats, emails, web tickets, social media conversations and any other incoming conversations from customers. They can also be responsible for the upkeep of proactive support like documentation, webinars and saved replies. For example, if your team has an engineer on staff, there may be a customer support representative whose daily task it is to prioritize any tickets assigned to that person so they know where to start working.
Customer support engineers are customer support professionals with technical engineering experience who, like the customer support representative, can assist customers with troubleshooting and working with specific technical issues. The main difference between the two roles is that the customer support engineer usually has more code and technical knowledge (also known as hard skills), and a customer support representative often has communication and writing knowledge (soft skills), but can work up to the harder skills as they work with the company.
For this as part of a career path, you can get hired out the gate as a customer support engineer, or you can grow into the role by working on your technical skills as a customer support specialist/representative/agent.
Multilingual customer support specialists can be needed at companies that sell products or services that are globally sold and used. Or, for example, companies like Trello that have an aggressive international marketing campaign that focuses on specific regional targets. Depending on the company’s strategy and how global they are, having someone that speaks a specific language can be very important and valuable.
Just as there are support representatives that work in the office, there are also support representatives that work remotely. Working remotely means that you are able to work from wherever you’d like: be it your home or a coffee shop. But, just like all jobs, it comes with its own unique set of challenges. Remote customer support reps work on either distributed or fully-remote support teams fulfilling customer support requests, and sometimes have to be slightly more flexible with their work hours than someone who goes into an office every day.
Customer support managers are the people that are in charge of making sure that their team hits company goals and metrics around support. For example: creating new and interesting ideas to decrease customer wait time, or working to maximize the number of conversations that a single individual can handle. Customer support managers are also often responsible for hiring the support representatives and engineers that make up the team as well as onboarding them and monitoring their ongoing performance.
According to Glassdoor, the average customer support salary in the U.S. is $35,245. That being said, according to the Support Driven Salary Survey from 2017, in other industries the average salary is actually $57,686. The difference between the two is that for the Support Driven survey, there are more individual working at startups and companies that, generally, pay slightly more than larger, phone-bank-style companies. Generally, though, the more experience and specialties that you have, the higher the pay you will receive.
So, now that you know what type of role you’re keen on, and how much pay you’re likely to receive, let’s move on to making the perfect resume for a customer support person.