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Working as a Customer Service Agent abroad
If you’re looking to start a new adventure working abroad, and you enjoy talking to new people, working as a customer service agent may be perfect for you. This article will give you an insight into the following:
- What will you do as a customer service agent abroad?
- Skills you’ll need as a customer service agent
- What are the principles of good customer service?
- Working hours and wage conditions
- 10 reasons why you should work as a customer service agent abroad
Recently, many companies have started to move their customer services abroad. This is mainly because they can get cheaper rents and find more attractive labour markets in other countries.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of companies hiring customer service agents. Companies are especially looking for people who know multiple languages and are thinking about moving abroad.
The best thing about this career prospect is that many jobs in this field are the same regardless of the country you’re living in, making it perfect for those who have dreams of travelling and working.
No one can travel indefinitely; you need to make a bit of money along the way. Unless you want to blow all your money, you’ve probably thought about taking on some work to fund your travels.
You also can't always expect life as a traveller to be non-stop fun, you need something to fill your everyday life with. Choosing a position like a customer service agent can be a rewarding experience, and open doors for you later in life.
Working in a call centre requires a lot of skills and commitment when searching for roles, attending interviews, and starting at a company. But, in many respects, it's a perfect job for young people who don’t want to settle down and find a permanent career any time soon.
For many ex-pats, it’s not the customer service job itself that attracts them, but the experience of living and working abroad. In this job, your life may not be the most glamorous. But you'll make up for it with potentially lower rent and the joys of living in another country. Building a new life in a new culture is an extremely exciting prospect, so this is an opportunity not to miss.
If you think working as a customer service agent abroad could be for you, keep reading to learn more about this opportunity.
What will you do as a customer service agent abroad?
Working as a customer service agent is a great role for recent graduates or people without a lot of academic or professional experience.
Your role in the company will be to offer support to customers who are contacting you with questions, complaints, or problems. You may also talk to people who want to purchase a product or service.
You could be talking to customers over the phone, email, online chat, or on your company’s social media platforms.
As a customer service agent, you have the task of being the customer's contact with the company. It will be your responsibility to answer questions and help the customer understand what your company sells.
If your own knowledge is not enough, you will act as a central hub that directs conversations to different departments. Although you can pass on queries to your colleagues, you will still need a general knowledge of all departments. This will help you make sales over the phone, deal with complaints, and answer general questions about your company.
It’s an extremely important role as you may sometimes be the only point of contact a customer has with your company. If you give them a bad impression, they may be put off from buying anything or coming back to your company again. So, even though it is a simple job, you will have a lot of responsibilities to juggle.
The work you complete as a customer service agent will be very similar, regardless of the company you’re working for. However, you will have to familiarise yourself with your company’s operations and customers’ needs to do your job effectively.
Like any job, for the first few weeks, you'll receive training on how to do your job. Training may include learning about customers, practising common answers, and learning about your company's services.
Here’s a quick run-down of the responsibilities and common tasks you will carry out as a customer service agent abroad:
- Talk to customers over the phone, email, online chat, or social media
- Listen to customer queries and complaints, responding according to company guidelines
- Keep a record of personal information to create, update and edit customer accounts
- Keep a record of call information to pass on to your colleagues for auditing and reporting
- Pass customers to relevant teams to deal with their enquiries
- Manage angry customers by keeping a calm manner and de-escalating aggressive situations
- Suggest products and services that customers may like, based on their requirements
- Make calls to customers to follow up on previous discussions
If all these tasks sound like things that you’d be able to manage, a role as a customer service agent may be perfect for you.
Skills you’ll need as a customer service agent
You don’t need a lot of academic qualifications to become a customer service agent. However, there are a lot of personal skills you’ll be expected to demonstrate.
Like we’ve discussed, customer service agents are often the only people in the company that a customer talks to. For this reason, it’s important you have the right skills to deal with complaints and questions in the best way possible.
Here are some of the most important skills that you’ll need to get a job as a customer service agent:
1. Problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills are a crucial part of any customer service agent’s job. Using these skills will help you provide effective solutions the customer didn’t know were available.
Unfortunately, you can’t always expect your calls with customers to go smoothly. You’ll often find yourself having to adopt problem-solving skills to get to the root of a customer's issue.
You may need to reproduce an issue before diagnosing the problem. Or you might have to ask the customer questions before figuring out where their problem lies.
Patience is going to be another important skill for any budding customer service agent. A lot of customers that get in touch may be confused or frustrated – or they may just not understand what you are trying to tell them over the phone.
Most customers need someone who’s going to listen and help solve their issue, rather than being made to feel rushed and like a nuisance.
You can’t expect to quickly resolve every problem. Be prepared to work on your patience skills to fully understand each customer’s problems before finding a solution.
3. Emotional intelligence
The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand situations from different perspectives is an important quality of emotional intelligence. This skill will come in especially handy when working as a customer service agent abroad.
These skills allow you to communicate effectively with whatever type of customer gets in contact with your company. If they’re frustrated, you won’t take it personally and will just focus on providing them with the help and information they need.
Showing empathy and emotional intelligence can de-escalate negative situations and help solve issues far quicker.
After all, the customer is always right so being able to deal with requests – no matter what your personal feelings are – is a great skill to have.
4. Good communication skills
As a customer service agent, you'll be speaking to people all day so it's essential to have good communication skills.
You’re on the front line of your company, so you must communicate clearly and effectively. Without these skills, you won't be able to satisfy customers and support them with their issues.
Miscommunication can often lead to a range of issues when working as a customer service agent. It could cause customers to become confused or disappointed with your service.
By the end of every customer interaction, the customer should feel assured and without any doubts about the question they came to you with.
Being able to put a positive spin on stressful situations is a skill everyone needs in their life, especially customer service agents.
The way you conduct yourself in customer interactions is not only a reflection of you but of your company. If you come across negatively and don’t satisfy the customer, they'll have a negative opinion of your company.
Whenever a customer comes to you with a problem, try to find the positive in the situation. You'll be surprised how far this can get you.
For example, take a look at these two messages below. One is positive and one is slightly more negative.
If you were a customer, which one would make you feel better?
“Sorry, that product is unavailable. I can’t send that to you.”
“The product is due to come back into stock in a few weeks. I can put an order in for you now so you get it straight away?”
The first message is pretty unhelpful. You may hang up after this message and buy the product from somewhere else.
The second message is much more positive. The customer service agent has helped you and even offered to place an order for your product.
6. Time management skills
Although it’s important to be patient and give your undivided attention to every customer you speak to, you won't always have enough time to do this.
You can’t spend all your time on one customer when there are other people waiting in the queue to talk to you. Having the ability to manage your time well is important if you want to get all your work completed in a day -- no one wants to work late!
You need to know when you can help customers, and when you don’t have the skills or knowledge to do so. If you’re not able to help a customer, quickly pass them to another department that can.
Trying to help a customer without the right knowledge will just be a waste of both of your time.
It may seem like an obvious skill, but as someone who talks to customers all day, you should be people-oriented.
You should want to help others and get satisfaction from providing customers with the advice and information they need.
If you’re not a naturally people-oriented person, you may find working as a customer service assistant difficult.
What are the principles of good customer service?
If you're now considering a role in customer service, you should think about what is 'good customer service'?
You'll be in charge of delivering this to every customer, you at least need to know what it is!
We can all look back on a time when we were somewhere we received bad customer service. Maybe the agent on the phone wasn’t listening to our problem, or they were being rude. Whatever the reason may be, bad customer service is hard to forget.
This is why it's so important for companies to hire excellent customer service agents – just like you!
No matter where you work, you'll need to exemplify a few key principles of good customer service. You should show these with every customer interaction if you want to make a good impression on your employer.
These principles include:
- Create a personalised approach: Show the customer you care about what they are saying, and seem interested in solving their problem. Human touch can go a long way when you’re a customer service agent.
- Competent: Have a good knowledge of your company’s products and services before you talk to your first customer. This knowledge will allow you to deal with problems smoothly and effectively.
- Proactive: Being a customer service agent is not all about sitting and waiting for the phone to ring, you’ll have to be proactive as well. Reach out to customers when there are issues that could affect them, let them know about new products, and don’t forget to check in with them after the call.
Working hours and wage conditions
A job in customer service is usually not a nine-to-five job. Remember that most companies have customers who work during office hours and only have time to call when they get home.
As a customer service agent, you’ll have to be available whenever customers may need you. This may involve working flexible hours, and potentially on weekends.
After all, a company that offers round-the-clock service is, in the customer's eyes, a helpful company.
To deliver this, you and your team will have to divide the working day between you. You may have to work late nights some weeks, but you will normally rotate your shifts.
Customer service agents are full-time roles, but your company may let you work fewer hours depending on your schedule.
The salary for a customer service agent is not usually very high but will be different depending on your company and the country you’re in. You could move to a country with a lower cost of living to compensate for your lower salary. If you're living somewhere with a higher cost of living, you may need to take on extra hours to keep up your lifestyle.
In this industry, hard work will often pay off. If you’re consistent in your work, provide good quality service and become knowledgeable in selling your company’s products and services, you can expect promotions and salary increases in no time to positions such as team manager, senior sales representative etc.
In some roles, you may also receive a commission based on your work. The commission could be a certain amount per new customer, a percentage of the profit you've made, or another performance-based metric.
It’s important to remember that being a customer service agent is not the easiest job in the world. Even after you consider perks like flexible hours and opportunities for high commission, it's going to be hard work.
Having to talk to angry customers all day, long hours and performance-based salaries can be extremely stressful for some. But, once you get your first job in customer service, you’ll never have to worry about getting another as companies are always hiring.
It can also be a step up on the career ladder for you to move to a role more suited to your passions and interests. You can easily go on to work in larger and more prestigious workplaces as customer service is an attractive skill to employers.
10 reasons why you should work as a customer service agent abroad
We think working as a customer service agent abroad is a great opportunity for anyone looking to work and travel at the same time.
But, if you’re still not 100% convinced, here are our top 10 reasons why being a customer service agent is a great job choice:
- There will never be a shortage of work
- The role can be the perfect step-up on the career ladder for graduates
- You can develop important communication and problem-solving skills
- You don’t need any previous experience to apply
- It will look great on your CV
- The tasks will be the same whatever country you work in
- The salary is not bad for a job that requires no experience
- You can often work from home, and travel while working
- Very flexible hours, depending on your company
- In some roles, you’ll get the opportunity to receive a high commission if you work hard
If, after reading this article, you’re thinking to yourself “I think I want to move abroad and work as a customer service agent” we can help make that a reality for you.
Working as a customer service agent is an excellent career prospect for graduates or travellers who don't want a demanding job.
Although you'll need some personal skills, most employers don't ask for any experience or qualifications.
As a customer service agent, you’ll learn extremely important skills that will help you to move forward in your career. Not only are these skills beneficial professionally, but they will also help you grow your self-confidence.
So if the thought of living abroad and working in customer service attracts you, why not check out some of the job vacancies we offer here at Lingocruit!