If you're a recent graduate, the job search can be daunting. Those first years in the workforce can set the direction for your future career path - pick the wrong one and you might find yourself at a professional dead end.
Luckily, some jobs will equip you with skills that are readily transferrable across any industry. Customer service is a prime example. No matter which industry you enter - from banking to ICT to agriculture - chances are you'll need to interact with clients at some point. Develop the skills to win customers over early on, and you'll enjoy an edge over the competition.
Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why you should start your career in customer service:
1. Companies value customer service skills.
To remain competitive in the global economy, companies must deliver exceptional customer service. A 2014 survey by a U.S. research firm found that 89% of companies expected to compete on the basis of customer experience by 2016. In 2010, only 36% of companies relied on customer service to stand out. Employees skilled in customer service are positioned to go far in today's client-focused marketplace.
2. Your skills can be used across industries.
Odds are your bank, telecom provider, and even supermarket all have customer service centers. The quality of those services may be debatable, but that's changing as companies invest more in providing positive consumer experiences. By acquiring customer service skills early in your career, you can enter a wide variety of industries and even switch between them. The hospitality and tourism industry has always sought customer service talent, and that client-orientated focus is spreading.
3. Customer service is in demand worldwide
No matter where you are, employers value customer service on a CV. So if you're looking for jobs elsewhere in Africa or the world, for that matter, customer service can help you get there.
4. Customer service has its own career paths
Some assume that customer service is merely an entry point to other careers, but that simply isn't the case anymore. The field has quickly become a career path in its own right. If you thrive on interacting with clients, you can pursue a wide variety of professional roles, including business development, account management, sales, and management.
The writer is a San Francisco-based writer and editor
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