The consumer service industry is one of the largest in the United States and generates a revenue of about $300 billion annually. This industry, therefore, employs a good number of professionals from different professions and offers many career opportunities.
Indeed, the consumer services industry offers the best career paths. Most of the careers are well-rewarding, with commissions and bonuses, opportunities for growth, low entry requirements, and valuable transferable skills.
Since the industry is large and comprises a wide range of establishments and units, there is much to learn about this industry. Apart from whether consumer services is a good career path, and of course it is, you also need to know some of the best careers, educational requirements, and what you will expect to earn, among other insights you will learn in this article.
What Are Consumer Services?
Consumer services refer to the experiences, processes, and outcomes directed to consumers instead of tangible products. These services are provided by the business, organization, or company to households or individuals. Examples of these services include those offered by personal insurance, life insurance, hotel companies, finance, education, and entertainment.
Just to mention, some of the types of consumer services include phone and email support, walk-in departments, communities and forums, live chat support, and self-service content. Therefore, consumer services are those directed to consumers – that is, individual or household- and are intangible.
Skills Needed To Succeed In Consumer Services
You cannot succeed in the consumer services industry unless you have the key skills that are essential for success. Remember, the consumer services industry deals with the consumer; hence, you need good communication and persuasive skills, empathy, adaptability, and patience.
Of course, dealing with consumers or individuals is not easy since different consumers have different attitudes, preferences, or approaches toward issues. Moreover, some aren’t tolerant, so you need essential interpersonal skills and social awareness.
These skills will help you interact positively with customers to create a positive experience with them; hence you are likely to make them come back again for the service. Apart from the skills I mentioned, it would help if you were professional, patient, and with a people-first attitude to succeed in the consumer services industry.
Types Of Consumer Services
Consumer services are categorized into different types. These types touch on other sectors or industries that capture all the services in the consumer industry. The following are, therefore, the different types that you should know:
The transportation industry or businesses comprises services such as transporting goods from one point to another or the final consumer. It is, therefore, a link between the producers and the consumer or suppliers.
Of course, transportation also involves the movement of people or passengers from one point to another with the use of buses, passenger train services, boats and ships, or passenger air services. It is, therefore, important to understand that the transportation business is an essential service in all sectors.
Technology Support Businesses
This is another inevitable service that is helpful when it comes to using technology to serve customers. It involves processes such as troubleshooting and fixing problems that come with technology.
Technology support is a vast field and valuable in most businesses serving consumers. It combines hardware and software technology to help businesses meet customer needs.
Healthcare businesses are one of the types of consumer services that is essential and helps customers meet their healthcare needs. This involves medical equipment sales, online healthcare business, medical billing services, medical transcription, home healthcare service, drug treatment and rehabilitation, and medical records management, to mention a few.
Of course, healthcare services are provided by healthcare professionals who are qualified to administer healthcare services and with the supervision of a more qualified professional. Some other examples of healthcare services include community nursing, therapy services, and child health services.
Retail businesses provide service to the end users or consumers instead of the actual product. Examples of retail businesses include financial offices, real estate, eating and drinking establishments, and after-sale services.
Retail businesses are essential services in the consumer services industry. This is a step where the service reaches the consumer, just as in retailing goods.
Food And Beverage Businesses
Food and beverage businesses offer services to consumers in restaurants, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and outside catering services. This is provided by full-service, casual, and fine-dining restaurants.
This service also involves the food preparation process, presentation, and serving of food and drinks to consumers. Sometimes it requires delivery of food or beverages to households based on individual or household orders from service delivery workers.
What Are The Job Opportunities In The Consumer Services Industry?
Jobs in consumer services are packed with numerous opportunities that cut across different consumer services such as transport business, food, and beverage business, healthcare, and technology support, among others. These job opportunities include but are not limited to the following:
1. Personal Concierge
Personal concierges are professionals tasked with completing tasks that are due on behalf of busy people. Therefore, people who do not have time to complete some tasks and meet deadlines as required may hire a personal concierge to help them deliver on the same on their behalf.
The difference between a personal concierge and a personal assistant is that the latter works only for one company, while the former can work for different people or companies. Being a personal concierge means you look for clients that need your services and don’t stick to one client.
You don’t need a college degree to become a personal concierge. However, with a high school diploma, you are good to go. Of course, you need to have good communication skills and be knowledgeable about the specific service industry you want to venture into.
Average Annual Income
According to Zip Recruiter salary statistics, the average salary of a personal concierge is about $41,788 per year. And since you are likely to work as an independent contractor, you are likely to get paid on an hourly basis. That, therefore, translates to about $20.09 per hour. But, of course, this is a good salary for a professional with just a high school diploma.
2. Bank Teller
A bank teller’s work would be about customer transactions such as receiving cash deposits, completing account transactions, issuing withdrawals, cashing out checks, recording mail deposits, answer customer questions, among other duties.
To become a bank teller, you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. Some employers may require a bachelor’s degree, but it is important to have a bachelor’s degree if you are to advance in your career. Therefore, you need to be a high school graduate for an entry-level position, and you are good to go.
Average Annual Income
When it comes to earnings, bank tellers make reasonable incomes when compared to their level of qualifications. Entry-level positions’ average wages are about $34,559 per year but may vary from employer to employer. Of course, different locations may also affect the average earnings you can make in a year as a bank teller.
3. Service Manager
The roles of a service manager include managing the service department team and managing agreements with clients, as well as external service providers. They also assign tasks to technical or customer service teams to ensure excellent customer service and good relationships.
As a service manager, you should be equipped with essential customer service skills such as leadership, strategic thinking, performance management, problem-solving, communication, and interpersonal skills, among others. This is because you will be dealing with all kinds of customers and clients as well as managing your team.
The minimum requirement to become a service manager is a high school diploma or equivalent. However, it is also important to note that most organizations or companies hire graduates with bachelor’s degrees to handle this role. Therefore, a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field or service management is a great way to start.
Average Annual Income
The average salary of a service manager in the United States is $62,468 per year, according to PayScale salary statistics. Of course, this is dependent on the city or state where you work, your employer, and your level of experience or educational qualifications and skills.
4. Service Provider
A service provider is a person who acts in the best interests of the client. They ensure that the work is completed on time while the standards of the client are kept. Service providers are, therefore, in different professions, such as law, education, business, and consultancy.
Of course, in service provision, the client signs an agreement or contract with the service provider to ensure that all the details, best practices, rules, standards, and guidelines are adhered to in service delivery.
Some services require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, while others need a high school diploma or equivalent qualifications. Therefore, there is no specific educational requirement since the requirement depends on the type of service being rendered and the standard level that the client requires.
Average Annual Income
According to Glassdoor salary statistics, the average salary for a service provider in most areas of the United States is about $42,161 per year. This, however, may vary depending on the nature of service, experience, skills, and qualifications, among other considerations.
5. Service Designer
Service design refers to planning how different processes work to produce an outcome that meets the consumer’s needs. They manage the information system and other tools that are essential in service delivery and technology and ensure that a service’s end-to-end journey is achieved in compliance with standards and procedures.
This is not an easy job unless you are trained with critical skills such as technical, non-technical, and good communication skills. It would help if you also had a digital perspective and the ability to adapt to the different thinking of other people.
A service designer requires a college education in business administration, industrial design, sociology, information technology, or sociology. In addition, you need to possess some experience and understanding of the consumer services industry and matters to do with quality assurance.
Average Annual Income
Service design is one of the most lucrative careers in the consumer services industry. It pays handsomely and depends on the employer, city or state where you work, experience level, and educational qualifications. The average salary for this position in the United States is about $76,257 per year, according to PayScale salary statistics.
6. Market Researcher
The role of a market researcher is to investigate the market and its activity and make recommendations based on research findings. The recommendations are then used to enhance service delivery and meet consumers’ needs. In addition, a market researcher evaluates the past performance of the service or product and uses it to assess the future.
Therefore, as a market researcher, you will be tasked with collecting customer information and product and service sales trends and using them to develop marketing strategies for the future. This job needs strong attention to detail, strong analytical skills, and good communication, among other vital skills.
To qualify for a market researcher position, you need a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, statistics, communication, or social science. This is typically for entry-level positions since advanced positions may require a master’s degree or other qualifications depending on the employer.
Average Annual Income
7. Customer Services Representative
Customer service representatives handle customers’ basic questions and complaints and recommend solutions to them. As a customer service representative, you will be the first person to respond to customer issues and problems, helping them with useful information and following up on them to ensure that the frustrated customers find the help they need.
As a customer service representative, you must be equipped with customer service skills such as problem-solving skills, empathy, excellent communication skills, people skills, and a friendly attitude.
In addition, of course, it is important to understand that satisfied customers always come back when they need the same service. Therefore, ensuring that you achieve the best customer experience through your interaction with them is important in making customers happy.
As I noted, you need good communication and interpersonal skills, among other valuable skills, to become a successful customer service representative. Apart from that, the minimum educational requirement for this role is a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification.
However, some companies may prefer to employ someone with additional education, such as a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, to be on the safe side, you need to further your studies, even when you get a chance with a high school diploma, to grow your career.
Average Annual Income
Customer service reps in the United States earn an average salary of about $35,459 per year. This, however, is subject to vary based on educational qualifications and experience and depending on your work location.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Career In Consumer Services?
The consumer services fields come with a wide range of services that target individuals and households. Working in this field can be fulfilling and, at the same time, comes with challenges that you ought to deal with. Therefore, some of the pros and cons of this industry include:
Of course, there are so many positives that come with a career in the customer service field. The most obvious is that you get a chance to advance in your career due to many growth and development opportunities. Other advantages include the following:
Most occupations in the field of customer service pay well. Apart from the basic salary, you also get a chance to earn some good bonuses and commissions. For instance, most companies’ customer service representatives earn bonuses and commissions on every sale above their targets.
Low Entry Requirements
Of course, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to pursue a career in consumer services. With a school diploma, you are good to start in most careers in the consumer service sector. Once you get a chance, you can learn on the job and make the best of your career. Therefore, an entry-level position in consumer services does not need a lot of qualifications.
Gain Useful Skills
By engaging with many people in your job, you get to develop a wide variety of valuable skills such as interpersonal and problem-solving skills. These skills are helpful in the consumer service industry and useful across all industries. These soft skills will help you understand different customers and to handle their cases or situations to their satisfaction.
Opportunity For Growth
One thing about customer service careers is that you get exposed to situations that will sharpen your understanding of your scope of work, gain transferable skills, and have an excellent chance for upward mobility in your career. Therefore, as you gain valuable skills, you also enhance your opportunities for promotion.
Of course, most employees would want to have a career that is stable and guarantees security. However, the good thing about consumer services careers is the positive prospects and the numerous opportunities that come along with them. Moreover, the industry also offers transferable skills and guarantees promotion and employment in different sectors of the consumer services industry.
Consumer services careers also come with disadvantages. Though numerous benefits come with them, there is also the negative aspect, but it all depends on the profession you are engaged in. Some of the cons include:
Depending on the nature of your profession, you may experience irregular shifts where you may work late hours or come to work earlier than usual, depending on demand or the nature of your job. For instance, in the transportation business, you may be required to receive or deliver goods outside of your work hours. This may happen more frequently during peak seasons, such as Christmas, than during off-peak seasons.
Stress And Burnout
You may also experience some stress and burnout, and this is something that we need to emphasize. Some people may think that consumer services jobs are smooth, but sometimes, there are difficult times when you need to handle the most difficult situations. For instance, when dealing with rude customers, you may end up stressed and exhausted due to the nature of your work.
Another thing that may cause stress and burnout is when you are tasked with a lot of responsibilities that you need to work extra-long hours than usual, for instance, when you are called to work night shifts or earlier than your regular working hours.
What Is The Difference Between Consumer Services And Consumer Goods?
Consumer services are those intangible things that help consumers achieve their needs. It includes processes, experiences, and outcomes; these services are sold directly to individuals, not businesses or organizations. Examples of consumer services include house cleaning, legal advice, and consulting services, among others.
On the other hand, consumer goods are tangible items sold to consumers or households, such as food, appliances, clothing, vehicles, and any other physical item that can be sold.
As you have learned, consumer services industry careers are the best. Indeed, you have a lot of professions to choose the best career of your choice. Moreover, as I have discussed, this industry has entry-level job positions that do not need a lot of educational qualifications and give you a good start in your career. Therefore, a career in consumer services is worth it.