5 Remote Jobs that Will Make You Rethink Customer Service Work
Many customer service and call center jobs are tailor-fit for this moment: As work-from-home options, they are popular and plentiful. The field as a whole has been in high demand throughout the pandemic.
But the phrase “call-center” might be a turn off for some job seekers — even for a gig you do from your couch. Maybe it’s the idea of endless calls about delivery delays and mundane tech issues. Or maybe it’s the inevitable angry customers.
“A lot of people have a negative connotation of customer service and call center jobs because they themselves have had poor experience with customer service at one time or another,” says career development manager Brie Reynolds of FlexJobs, a remote job board and membership website. “Because of that, we tend to think of them as these thankless jobs.”
The reality, Reynolds says, is that remote customer service jobs can be very fulfilling. It all depends on the industry.
We found remote customer service job postings that counter the notion of mind-numbing call center gigs. See if there’s one that interests you, and expand your idea of what customer service entails when conducting your own job search.
5 Remote Customer-Service Jobs That Are Actually Interesting
Here’s a look at some call center jobs that don’t involve hawking insurance policies or putting people who want to cancel their cable on indefinite hold. We paired each unique gig with one or more reputable employers that frequently hire the position.
1. Contact Tracer
According to public health experts and officials, contact tracers are needed to continue the work of containing the coronavirus pandemic.
Contract tracers investigate how and where the coronavirus is spreading by interviewing (over the phone) people who have contracted the novel virus. Tracers then reach out to everyone who could have been in contact with the patient, urging them to self-isolate, get tested or seek medical care.
Each state is handling contact-tracing recruitment efforts differently. Depending on your location, recruitment could be handled by your state government, a local health department agency, or a national organization that’s partnering with government efforts in your area.
Requirements vary by employer. Strong communication skills, and especially empathy, are crucial for the job. Experience in public health and/or customer service may also be needed. Bilingualism is a huge plus. Some employers are now requiring applicants to pass an online contact tracer course developed by Johns Hopkins University.
Based on several applications from various states, contact tracers typically earn between $15 and $30 an hour.
2. Senior Aide
Older folks are at higher risk of isolation and loneliness than other age groups. And the pandemic surely isn’t helping. Andrew Parker founded Papa, a senior-care company, to help combat what he calls the “loneliness epidemic.” His company hires Papa Pals, which are usually high-energy, college-aged people to check in with seniors to see if they need help with tech, ordering groceries and medicine, or provide basic companionship.
Papa previously hired only college students but now offers the gigs to anyone who’s got the right personality.
Senior care jobs aren’t limited to Papa. Other customer service companies hire workers for similar positions with a focus on helping seniors and their family members find the right retirement community.
Requirements for these jobs include a background in customer service, patience, plus problem-solving and tech skills.
The estimated pay is between $11 and $15 an hour.
3. Personal Shopper and Beauty Adviser
You can put your fashion sense to good use by giving personalized recommendations to customers of popular department stores, clothing and cosmetics brands.
“You’ll help people find the right clothes, make returns, get style information, all that sort of stuff,” Reynolds says. “There’s a huge amount of customer service in each of those roles. But they are probably more fun than what you’re thinking of as call-center jobs.”
For these types of jobs, it’s likely you won’t work for a department store. It’s more common that a third-party customer service company will hire you, and you will be placed on a team that specializes in a specific brand such as Chanel, Nordstrom or Sephora.
Because of the nature of the work, some experience at brick-and-mortar retail stores may be required. Knowledge of fashion and beauty trends is a must to be successful in these roles.
Based on job listings from remote employers, pay is an estimated $11 to $12 an hour.
Where to find remote fashion and beauty jobs: VIPdesk.
4. Video Game Support Agent
It’s not a joke: You can actually get paid to talk about video games. Like, a real job.
Gaming support agents help players with questions about their video game accounts, billing issues, technical problems, glitches and other general gameplay inquiries. These positions provide general customer support services paired with in-depth knowledge of popular games across several platforms, including Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation and PC.
The companies tend to hire gamers themselves. Because of the international player base of popular video games, second-language skills are highly sought after, especially Korean, Japanese and Spanish. For many openings, second-language skills are a requirement.
Estimated pay is between $11 and $17 an hour.
5. Wine Specialist
What’s better than a glass of wine after work? A glass of wine after work from a bottle that was shipped directly to your front door. Vineyards and wine retailers are catching on to this, and as a result, they’re beefing up their e-commerce and shipping capabilities.
Like most e-commerce jobs, responsibilities vary from the logistical side to the customer-facing side. Depending on the job, you might be dealing with orders from a business that carries your company’s wine, or you may be dealing directly with a customer who’s trying to purchase a wine from the website.
Reynolds says the fun really comes in with the customer-facing roles.
“You, online, are helping educate people about different types of wine and helping people choose different types of wine they might like,” she says.
You won’t need a sommelier certification to qualify, but you will need some serious wine knowledge. Customer service experience is preferred.
Wine e-commerce is a relatively new concept, and remote positions may be scarce. Among the remote job listings analyzed by The Penny Hoarder, hourly pay was not included. Glassdoor estimates pay for in-person wine sales positions are between $12 and $14 an hour.