This is the story of Natasha, a customer support agent working from Sri Lanka.
When did you become a customer support agent, and why?
In the spring of 2021, I became a remote customer support agent.
Before that, I was a photographer with no assignments coming in, thanks to the pandemic. With bills and rent to pay, I needed a dependable job to keep me safe and support me.
Luckily, I found customer support!
Why are you so happy to work remotely?
Remote customer service is the perfect solution for me.
Customer service offered me an established job to do safely, without leaving home. And I can rely on my pay cheques like clockwork.
In photography, my clients disappear into corporate Jumanji whenever fees are due.
What do you like about your job?
I enjoy working in remote customer service, even though we’re no longer in lockdowns.
It’s so interesting to chat with people from all over the world every day. All my colleagues come from diverse countries and cultures too.
My job is all about human connection. Sharing a laugh, listening to a personal story, helping someone out. I’m a very sociable person, and all this is super engaging. I find my work a lot of fun.
Personally, I’ve finally found freedom in my life too.
By not having to report to a physical space or hustle for jobs, I have a very different working life than before. At the moment, I’m in a beautiful island country, surrounded by palm trees, bird calls, and the twinkling ocean.
What do you mean by that?
Having a remote job has enabled me to really cut loose.
Now I can plan on living anywhere I like because I’m still employed wherever I go. I’ve moved out of an overpriced flat and out of the city I no longer need to hustle photography gigs in.
I’ve even finally left India, my country of birth!
What kind of work is remote customer service?
My remote customer service job involves handling customer inquiries via digital channels.
Some remote service jobs may require phone support, but my job is purely online. I manage live chat and email support only.
What kind of work do you do daily?
During my typical eight hour workday, I handle a list of assigned customer tickets. The topics range from various product information requests to resolving technical or purchase issues.
I also take part in scheduled team video calls.
Here, my colleagues and I spend time just kicking back and relaxing over informal conversations. Virtual coffees are the new watercooler gossip centres, and it’s always fun to hang out with my team.
How do you handle customer questions?
All agents are given handy digital tools and standard operating procedures to do their job. These help us quickly find resolutions for common customer queries.
Can you name three things you have learned?
Working in remote support has taught me how to communicate effectively. This is especially important when handling upset customers.
Maintaining professionalism can positively change even a negatively charged interaction.
It also helps me practise conscious empathy every day.
Though a fundamental aspect of human existence, empathy is one we rarely exercise. Customer support teaches you to empathise with customers while learning not to take their moods personally.
And it really sharpens my problem-solving skills and mental agility.
Often, customers come in with issues there may not yet be a solution for. I’ve learnt to think on my feet and present workarounds or on-the-spot alternatives, even when an actual solution is missing.
How did working as a customer support agent benefit you later in life?
I truly believe that working in customer service has been an enriching experience for me.
I’ve learnt how to be a thorough professional and stay in control during any situation. I’ve developed the ability to come up with alternative ideas, even in hopeless circumstances.
By consciously seeing the world from a stranger’s perspective, I’m far better at being there for others in their time of need.
I believe these are powerful facets of personality to unlock within ourselves. And I know my professional and personal growth will only benefit from this going forward.
What would you like to say to agents starting out?
I strongly believe we would all be much better people if we spent a portion of our lives working in the service of others.
Managing a hugely varied, daily influx of people with queries, complaints, and requests is a thoroughly unique learning experience. You’ll literally never have such rich exposure in any other walk of life.
So if you’re planning to pursue customer service as a career, know that you will be profoundly shaped by it.
Keep your heart open, your mind sharp, and your speech pleasant, and you’ll go far. Not just in customer service but in life as a whole.
And, if you have a travel-hungry soul like mine, a remote customer service job can quite literally take you places!
Want to try your hand at becoming a customer support agent like Natasha? Register now. (It’s free!)