Factors Behind the Rise in Remote Customer Service

Why Remote Customer Service Jobs Are on the Rise

Remote customer service jobs are on the rise. Discover why, where to find customer service candidates, and what skills to look for.

Why Remote Customer Service Jobs Are on the Rise

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Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business, as it can make or break customer loyalty and satisfaction. However, customer service is no longer limited to in-house employees. With the advancement of technology and the rise of remote work, more companies are hiring remote customer service representatives to handle customer interactions from anywhere in the world.

According to Statista, approximately 27% of customer support workers worked remotely in 2018, and that figure is likely much higher now. This is no surprise, given the numerous benefits of remote work, including increased productivity and job satisfaction.

In this article, we explain why remote customer service jobs are on the rise, where to find great customer service representatives that offer your clients the attention and support they require, and what attributes to look for when evaluating candidates.

What Are Remote Customer Service Jobs?

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Remote customer service jobs refer to customer service roles that are performed by employees working from home or another location with a stable internet connection rather than in house. Remote customer service representatives are trained to provide direct assistance through digital communication channels such as phone, email, or chat.

These representatives play a critical role in helping customers resolve issues, get answers to queries, and solve their problems. Companies can develop positive customer relationships, enhance loyalty and retention rates, and ultimately grow their overall business revenue by providing exceptional customer service.

It's important to mention that while customer service and customer support are often used interchangeably, they have some distinct differences. Customer service is more focused on the overall experience and relationship-building with customers. In contrast, customer support handles technical issues and answers product and service-related queries.

Why Are Remote Customer Service Jobs on the Rise?

The demand for customer service is increasing at a skyrocketing speed, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic changed how companies work and interact with their clients, putting a massive emphasis on customer experience. This trend is not limited to the US alone; the need for professionals who can manage customer interactions effectively while having the necessary technical skills is on an upward trajectory worldwide.

We outline the most significant reasons behind the increasing demand for virtual customer service representatives below:

Flexibility is a win-win

Remote work offers both workers and employers more flexibility. Employees can work from anywhere with a stable internet connection and can work flexible hours that suit their lifestyles. Companies, on the other hand, can benefit from customer service representatives who can work remotely to meet the needs of their customers in real time, 24/7, regardless of their physical location.

This flexibility allows businesses to provide high-quality customer service around the clock, which can increase customer loyalty and satisfaction, not to mention that they can also reduce costs associated with maintaining physical office spaces.

There is a rising demand

According to Indeed, both the demand for remote customer service representatives and job seekers' interest in these roles have seen a sharp uptick in the last four years. Remote customer service job postings increased by 498.40% in 2020, while job seekers' interest has seen a remarkable 1,405% increase in clicks per million since 2019.

This exponentially rising demand can be attributed to the pandemic's impact, which has put a greater emphasis on customer service, and to the growth of e-commerce, which in 2022 passed $1 trillion for the first time in the US.

There is an even greater supply

By hiring remote employees, companies can tap into a broader pool of candidates from all over the world. This means that they get access to a wider range of skills and expertise and more cost-effective workers from countries with lower living costs without losing quality.

One of the key advantages is that businesses can easily outsource customer support and get great candidates that can work during the same business hours as most US companies, especially if they hire through nearshore outsourcing companies. For US businesses, nearshore hiring in Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, means your customer support agents will be working in time zones that closely align with the US.

Not only can you get high-quality customer support services at a lower cost than hiring locally (30–70% below the US market), but you will also have plenty of talented and skilled professionals to choose from.

From our experience at Near, the ratio of customer service candidates that we have versus other roles is approximately 3:1.

What Are the Most Important Skills for Customer Service Roles?

What Are the Most Important Skills for Customer Service Roles

Recent studies show that a positive customer service experience will encourage 93% of customers to do repeat business with you. And since your customer service agents are often the first point of customer interaction, they should have impeccable skills to handle any situation successfully and to leave customers happy with the service.

Hiring managers should look for the following skills when hiring for customer service roles:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Your customer support team should be able to communicate clearly and effectively with customers through various outreach channels. Misunderstandings and miscommunications can create disappointment and frustration, so they should be skilled at active listening, asking relevant questions, and simplifying complex concepts and information into digestible, easy-to-understand terms.
  • Empathy and the ability to understand and connect with customers. Although your customer service representatives cannot always tell the customers what they want to hear, the ability to put themselves into their shoes and show a bit of care, concern, and understanding will help build rapport and trust with customers.
  • Problem-solving abilities and the capacity to resolve issues efficiently. Since your customers don't always know how to self-diagnose issues correctly, your customer service reps should be able to think critically and quickly identify what went wrong to come up with solutions.
  • A customer-centric approach and focus on providing a positive customer experience. The ability to put the customer first, anticipate their needs, and provide personalized solutions will help prevent negative experiences and leave customers feeling understood and appreciated.

What Are the Basic Requirements for Customer Service Roles?

Although requirements for customer service roles vary depending on the desired level of experience, the industry, and job specifics, there are some basic requirements that companies should look for when recruiting candidates. We outline the most common ones below:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Customer service representatives are the voice of your business. They will interact with customers regularly, so they must communicate clearly.
  • Customer-facing experience. Some previous experience in customer service or sales-related roles demonstrates the candidate's ability to handle customer interactions and use their sales skills to recommend additional services.
  • Working knowledge of G-Suite tools or Microsoft Office. A basic understanding of these tools can help customer service representatives communicate more effectively or create presentations for customers or colleagues (if needed).
  • CRM experience. Experience with customer relationship management (CRM) software allows customer service representatives to track and manage customer interactions and data and create reports. (This is not always necessary, but it is a plus.)

How To Find Remote Customer Service Candidates

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Below is a list, in no particular order, of the top five online job boards for remote customer support outsourcing, including paid and free platforms, as well as specialized job boards:

  • Indeed – Indeed is one of the largest and most popular online job boards in the world. Since millions of job seekers have uploaded their resumes on the platform, employers can use its resume database to search for and contact potential candidates.
  • Freelancer.com – Freelancer is also one of the world's largest freelancing marketplaces. It offers access to customer service freelancers with various experience levels. It provides the option to choose from different types of customer service freelancers, such as phone, email, chat, and social media support.
    You can post customer service jobs for free and receive proposals from customer service freelancers all over the world. You can also filter candidates for English proficiency, including advanced English skills.
  • Remote.co – This job board works exclusively with remote businesses and lists remote jobs across various industries, including customer service. Their customer service candidates are vetted by their team to ensure that they have the skills and experience necessary to provide excellent customer service remotely. The platform is also a valuable resource for companies new to remote work or looking to improve their current remote operations.
  • We Work Remotely (WWR) – WWR is a remote work platform with more than 30k remote work job postings, with customer support jobs being some of the most common. They have a rigorous screening process to ensure that only qualified candidates are listed on the platform and pride themselves on a 90% fill rate for posted roles. Posting a job on WWR starts at $299/month.
  • Near – Near is a staffing firm with a talent pool of over 35K pre-vetted candidates from Latin America, including professionals specialized in customer support. All of our candidates undergo a rigorous screening and selection process to ensure they have English proficiency and the necessary technical skills for the job.
    Our customer service candidates typically have experience working in industries such as technology, e-commerce, and finance and have experience with a range of customer support channels, including phone, email, chat, and social media.

Need help preparing for remote interviews once you have found your ideal customer service candidates? Check out our article on 15 winning interview questions you should ask remote job candidates.

Conclusion

Remote customer service is becoming an increasingly popular option for both companies and employees. This is due to the flexibility it provides to employees and the benefits it provides to companies. Excellent customer service can lead to customer loyalty, repeat business, positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and, according to Deloitte research, 60% more profitability than companies that don't invest in customer service.

If you want to know more about hiring professionals for your open remote customer support roles, check out our comprehensive guide on outsourcing customer support.

Or, if you are ready to hire remote customer service candidates from Latin America who will work at lower rates than their US counterparts without compromising quality, Near can help you.

Simply fill out this form, and we will present you with a list of pre-screened candidates to interview for free.

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