Remote customer service jobs are on the rise, unfortunately, that does not mean that you can just waltz in to one of these positions without putting any hard work in to your application. There is huge competition for these roles. Zapier reported that just 2% of applicants for their Customer Champion roles get an interview, and only 0.4% get hired.
So how are you going to make sure you are in that 0.4%? This blog and take-away cheat sheet will tell you.
1. First thing’s first, find a remote customer service role that is actually right for you
Not a role that you think might be bearable, or that you could settle for just to end that pesky commute. You need to find something that fits you on every level.
Work and responsibilities that you actually find exciting
If you currently dislike answering 400 Zendesk tickets a day in the office, then you probably aren’t going to love answering 400 Zendesk tickets a day from your home. Think about what you have enjoyed in your previous roles and look for opportunities that include similar work.
A useful exercise is writing a dream job description (and by this I mean dream job, rather than dream job – we can’t all be water slide testers or penguin erectors) laying out exactly what you want from an employer and a role, then using that to weigh up whether an advertised job is good for you.
Fully distributed v partially distributed organizations
For context: fully distributed organizations are those where all their employees work remotely, and usually will have been this way since they began, whereas partially distributed organizations have a combination of in-office and remote workers.
The levels of support and the processes in place for remote workers varies hugely between organizations, but a fully distributed company is more likely to have everything in place to give you a great onboarding, equip you to do your job, and help you build relationships with your new coworkers. If you are new to remote work or feel you’ll be more successful with greater support, make sure to ask what systems the organization has in place.
You also need to consider how susceptible you are to FOMO (fear of missing out) when applying to a partially distributed organization. If half of your team are in the office together are you going to feel left out and find it harder to integrate? Does the thought of missing out on weekly birthday cake fill you with dread? If so, partially distributed might not be good for you.
You can check out our list of companies with remote customer service roles here.
Set working hours or complete flexibility
Remote customer service roles are (for obvious reasons) more likely to have set hours that you are required to be working, however there are still lots of very flexible roles. Depending on what other life commitments you have going on, one of these is likely to suit you better. If you are not a morning person then a set 6am till 3pm working pattern is not going to work so well.
2. Next, get to know the organization like you already work there
Research their culture and the way that they work
Most organizations that hire remote workers are proud of this fact and actively talk about the steps that they take to nail this alternative working style. This might include what they expect from their employees, how and when they communicate with each other, and what their values are. In your application you can talk about how you will slot right in to this, or if it turns out that reading up on this made your stomach turn, then they are not right for you.
Use their product (as far as it is possible)
If you want to show that you are the right person to be serving a company’s remote customer service to their customers, then you need to know what these customers are using, and what kind of service they are going to need. Obviously in some cases this won’t be possible (eg for organizations that manufacture spaceships, or those that provide low cost cosmetic surgery), but if you can get a free trial and try out their product then it will really help your application. Makes notes on your experience and anything that was confusing. Think about why you might need to speak to a member of the team. This will also give you further insight into what the role will involve.
Read their whole website
Yes all of, it. Find out as much as you can about who they are and what they do. Mentioning a small detail that they wouldn’t expect you to know can really grab the hiring manager’s attention. After all that reading you should have a good idea of the tone and voice that the organization use too. You should match this in your application.
3. Research over, now to put in some serious work to that application
Be prepared to do more than a cover letter
Lots of applications for remote customer service roles replace the cover letter with a whole bunch of questions, and others have both. You’ll need to thoroughly research and answer all of them.
Showcase your writing skills
Not only do remote customer service jobs involve writing to customers over email and chat, but they also require the majority of your communication with your team to be written. Because of this, you need to prove that you can handle the written word like a boss. The content of your application is important, but you need to put as much time in to the style and grammar. Remember to mirror that of the organization’s job post and website, and get your personality across as much as possible.
Go above and beyond
Want your application to stand out and be memorable over the other 500? Do something they haven’t asked for. If their product is a video editing tool, make an impeccably edited video telling them what features you like the most. If their product is time tracking and invoicing software, use it to track the time you spend on the application, and then invoice then for it. Be creative and do something extra on top of jumping through the hoops.
4. Lastly, make sure you have highlighted why you can handle ‘remote’
Talk about any experience that you have
You don’t need to have had a previous remote customer service role to have had relevant “remote” experience (but if you do then yes, talk about it). Working from home occasionally, freelancing, or a role with little supervision are all good things to bring up to show that you can get stuff done without anyone telling you to.
Prove that you are a motivated self-starter
Remote organizations can’t micromanage, so they want people with a track record of taking the initiative to start something new or to change something. You can talk about any side projects that you might have had, times when you have upskilled yourself, or leadership experience.
Describe your current setup
If you already have a decked out home office and have removed all potential distractions from your house then go ahead and mention it. You might already be a regular at a coworking space or might just be vaguely nearby to someone else who works at the company. This can demonstrate that you are serious about this working style and give you an extra edge.
And that’s it!
Do all of the above and your application is sure to stand out. We’ve condensed the contents of this blog in to the take-away cheat sheet below, so save it and refer back to it as you go.
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