How to Use Your Customer Experience to Find a New Job

Many of us start out in customer service as a stepping stone to our next job, but it can be difficult to figure out how to climb that corporate ladder. A Quora reader recently asked how they can move from customer service to something more.

An anonymous reader asked how they would transition from a customer service job to something else that used their skills. Jae Alexis Lee, former Account Manager, answers below :

Over the years, I have helped many agents find the foundation of their careers to step out of entry-level customer service roles, and there are a few tips I would give to anyone looking to make that transition:

Step 1. Assess your skills

When you leave customer service and move to other pastures, you really need to start by assessing what skills you have. In HR, we often talk about transferable skills or things you’ve learned to do in one job that can be useful in another job. It’s easy to be blinded by the things that are a daily part of your day-to-day work and think these skills are not important, but extracting these skills and marketing them will make you significantly more attractive to potential employers in another industry.

It’s easy to look at a customer service job and say, “I’m just talking to people who yell at me all day about things that I’m not to blame, but they still blame me …” and get upset about the value of your skills. but take a few steps back, look at what you are doing without thinking, and ask yourself what you can do about it.

Consumer billing professionals typically juggle invoices over the course of several months, tracking payment history, service changes, pro-rata allocation, and a range of financial complexities that confuse customers. This is a useful skill. Technical support specialists are often substitutes for user training, acting as trainers rather than repair technicians. This is a useful skill.

So, when you want to take a step, the first thing you need to do is take a look at what you are doing and then figure out what skills you have developed that can be applied elsewhere.

Step 2. Look for opportunities to expand your role

Customer service organizations often have different roles that need someone to do a job that is slightly different from the general customer service job. Investing time and effort in one of these roles can give you the opportunity to further develop the skills you identified in step 1, as well as acquire some additional skills.

For some people, this means looking for a specific type of promotion in the organization: supervisor, advanced technician, coach, etc. If such positions are available, these positions can be a good place to spend a year or two getting ready to leave. Even without these formal roles, customer service organizations often need subject matter experts (SMEs) or people who take on tasks that go beyond the customer service representative (CSR) role.

These roles not only serve as an opportunity to develop transferable skills, but on the resume they demonstrate that you have reached a level that has been recognized with some form of promotion. This looks attractive to prospective potential employers who will see that you are interested in growing.

Step 3: keep your job in mind as you prepare for the job you want

I think it’s important to mention this. I’ve seen a lot of CSRs where they hit a goal just before transitioning to advanced roles, or just after that, when they really start to hone skills for a successful exit, they start to fail in doing the kind of work they are currently doing .

This is the worst kind of short timer syndrome you can fall prey to. You work hard , do things that will help you move forward, but at the same time, your existing job responsibilities seem irrelevant and ignored. In some cases, I saw that it was worth the CSRs promoting them into a formal promoted role because their current performance was seen as part of their performance assessment, and in the worst cases, I saw CSRs get fired for spending too much time. what was not their job, and not enough effort for what was.

Failure to stay on top of your current job can turn what was an opportunity for growth into everything from a missed opportunity to a bad mention of a lost job.

Step 4. Find an Optimized Output That Matches Your Experience

When you’re looking for this step outside of customer service, there is a dedicated set of assignments that allows you to gain another additional skill: industry knowledge.

Industry knowledge may be part of what makes someone prefer you to an equal (or better) qualified outsider, and this is not something you should underestimate. The most obvious example is moving within one company to another line of business, but there are many other opportunities to use what you already know from the time spent in the CSR trenches.

Most CSRs have learned a lot not only about the products and services of their company, but also about their competitors. You have learned about your company’s suppliers and their customers. Targeting your first step with something related to your current position allows you not only to use your industry knowledge to master a new type of position faster, but also allows you to see a larger piece of the puzzle that can turn out to be overwhelming. an asset for your new employer.

Step 5: don’t sell yourself too far

When you finally get out on the street and start circulating this resume, never sell yourself too far. Customer service reps are often underestimated, and it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing special about you during the interview. Look back at all of these skills we talked about in Step 1, acknowledge how far you’ve come and how valuable you can be someone using those skills, and never belittle what you’ve learned in the trenches.

If you don’t see value in yourself, employers won’t see it either. If, however, you can sift through everything you’ve learned and still make your customers happy, and you can extract the gold nuggets of transferable skills … employers will line up to buy what you have to offer.

How do I log out of customer support? originally appeared on Quora . You can follow Quora on Twitter , Facebook, and Google+ .


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