Many professionals wonder if consumer services is a good career path since there are so many potential jobs and companies you can work for!
This guide dives into this industry to help you determine if it’s the right fit for you.
What are Consumer Services?
Working in consumer services involves helping customers with both personal and professional needs. That’s a broad definition, but this industry is multi-faceted. Companies that provide consumer services work with customers directly in their field.
The type of services provided varies. In healthcare, consumer services refer to providers interacting with patients, receptionists directing visitors, billing departments working to handle accounting disputes, and more. In transportation, this type of work includes ticketing office personnel helping travelers choose the right flight, attendants working on trains to pass out refreshments, etc.
At its core, consumer service is a field of work that involves interacting with customers and addressing their needs. The work is relevant in many industries and serves as the foundation for building a relationship between consumers and businesses. The overarching goal is to ensure that customers are happy and receive the services they need to make the most of what a company offers.
The beauty of consumer services as a career path is its ubiquity. Nearly every company that provides a product or service to customers implements consumer services in some way.
The most common example is retail, where consumer services include everything from cashiers to shelf-stocking. However, you likely interact with consumer service professionals more than you realize. From the customer service representatives you call when you have issues with your bank to the support teams you call when you need help with a product, it’s all consumer services.
Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path?
A consumer services career path can be gratifying and enriching in many ways. It’s a broad field that’s relatively easy to get into without a massive amount of education or experience. But there’s also ample room to grow.
One of the best things about consumer services is that you can learn and adapt your path as you see fit. The skills and experience you gain have the potential to help you climb the ladder and pursue higher career goals. Best of all, this is a field of work that exposes you to a lot.
You might not have clear career goals in mind when you start. But in consumer services, you can discover a particular part of this work that you love and pursue it to get a personally and financially rewarding job.
Depending on the position, there’s solid earning potential in this industry, and the job outlook is excellent. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why consumer services is a good career path.
The median salary for consumer service representatives is about $30,000. Annual salaries can vary based on your position and geographic location. A vast majority of the consumer service workforce includes entry-level positions, such as store clerks and support representatives.
Those positions are easy to get, and companies need them! But salaries only go up from there. Individuals in this field have many promotional opportunities. For this type of work, companies love to promote from within, giving you numerous chances to climb the corporate ladder and earn a higher salary.
Customer support agents earn an average salary of about $46,000. Meanwhile, consumer service leads and managers earn between $54,000 and $56,000.
Consumer service directors can earn more than $90,000. They oversee larger teams, initiate projects that boost consumer trust, and more. These jobs are more varied, and the salaries reflect that.
Some of the highest-earning jobs in this field include VP positions. They can have a salary of over $120,000.
Education & Training Needed
Another reason why consumer services is a good career path is that you don’t need a formal education to enter the field. For many individuals, entry-level consumer service positions are some of the first jobs they get.
Most companies require a minimum of a high school degree. But some will even hire teenagers, giving them their first taste of what it’s like to interact with customers daily. It’s a great industry to get into early, and the many opportunities you’ll gain to get better-paying jobs are plentiful.
Of course, formal degrees can help you start a little higher up in this industry. For some leadership positions, a degree or job training is necessary. Some employers may also require specific skills or certifications.
For example, beauty salons may require that you have an official cosmetology license. Meanwhile, some companies like to see training or experience with customer service software.
It all depends on the job!
However, there are no formal education requirements to enter the field. Plus, you can often gain the necessary experience and training to climb the career ladder as you work.
Did you know that consumer services account for approximately half of all employment in the United States? Millions of people work in this field, and millions more will enter in the future.
Don’t let the prospect of automation and technology deter you from entering consumer services. Despite the ever-increasing adoption of technology to replace workers, the outlook of this field is excellent!
Opportunities in customer services are expected to grow by 11 percent by 2028. Sales-focused jobs in the field will grow by about 7 percent.
Many people believe that the future of consumer services is bleak, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Robots and automation can take care of many mundane tasks, and technology is indeed replacing many jobs.
But that doesn’t mean that industries are forgoing consumer services. The field is simply evolving. Companies still need people to interact with consumers.
You can think of consumer services as the front lines of every organization. No matter what technology comes along, consumer services jobs are still necessary. Even today, with many companies investing heavily in online platforms to interact with customers, consumer service jobs are still at the forefront.
There are still people on the other end of customer support lines and live chat systems.
Consumer service jobs help companies increase sales and remain competitive in the market. That’s not going away, and the demand for consumer service professionals will only build as the economy improves.
Don’t believe the hype about the tech revolution replacing customer-facing jobs. The field continues to evolve, and the duties of consumer service professionals change. But they’re still a necessity, making this a very good career path.
Pros & Cons of a Career in Consumer Services
There’s a lot of variety in this field, which is why consumer services is generally considered to be a good career path. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons to help you determine if it’s right for you..
One of the biggest advantages of the consumer service field is the availability of job opportunities. As mentioned earlier, nearly every company interacting with consumers needs professionals in this field.
That includes enormous megacorporations and conglomerates all the way down to small startups. If you have experience in this field, you can go anywhere and pursue positions that meet your unique needs. It’s a flexible career with plenty of room to grow.
You’re also not limited to a handful of companies or even large cities. You can move anywhere and find open positions in this fast-paced field. That’s an exciting prospect for someone looking for ultimate flexibility and the chance to mold their career on their terms.
The job outlook is great, and you can easily take on new skills to chase fulfilling and well-paying jobs. Just because you start with a relatively easy entry-level job doesn’t mean you have to stay there. You can climb the career ladder, move laterally to switch gears and try something new and pursue whatever aspect of this field interests you most.
The day-to-day life of a consumer service professional can be engaging, too. It can be a challenging field full of complex problems to navigate. But that’s one of the most exciting aspects of it. You have to stay on your toes and react accordingly to every hurdle that comes your way.
Consumer services is a good career path for those who love working with people and finding solutions to ever-changing challenges. It’s a chance to help people, collaborate with others, and have unique daily experiences.
There’s a lot to love about a career in consumer services, but there are also some potential downsides.
This field isn’t for everyone, and those who don’t fit usually figure it out quickly. Working with customers can be tough, and not every experience with consumers will be pleasant. That’s a reality of the job and the fast-paced nature of this field.
You must be able to think quickly, remain calm, and always remember that you’re representing the company as you work. Those responsibilities aren’t for everyone.
The good news is that there are paths you can take in this industry that don’t involve direct customer interactions. Leadership positions play a role in managing consumer services, but they don’t always work with customers directly. So it is possible to work in this field, even if you don’t think you have a “customer facing personality.”
What Companies Hire Consumer Service Professionals
It’s not hard to find jobs in consumer services. Any company that works with customers needs these professionals. Some organizations that are always hiring include:
- Best Buy
- Home Depot
Those companies are some of the biggest employers in the United States and beyond, but there are many more. With the right skills and dedication, a consumer service career within these companies can lead to fulfilling jobs for decades to come.
Consumer services is a good career path for a number of reasons. With great projected job growth, earning potential, and variety, it’s no surprise that professionals continue to flock to this industry.
If you think you have the right personality for this kind of work, it’s definitely worth considering.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.