Every organization that provides a product or service wants to make sure their customers are happy with their purchases and return as a customer. Most people think of consumer services as things like:
In reality, there is a much wider variety of roles that can fall under consumer services. Here are five areas worth looking into.
Many busy professionals look for flexible support to help them with their small business, or even to help keep their personal or business lives operating smoothly. This sort of position involves completing tasks like scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, creating and managing content, running errands, managing communications and miscellaneous “paperwork”.
The last few years have seen a rise in virtual assistant roles, which are 100% remote. They generally require a high school education, although some may require a degree. These roles utilize the same expertise as a non-virtual administrative position; for example, computer skills like word processing, spreadsheets, email or calendar management. Typically they also require reliable phone, computer and internet access.
A personal assistant helps keep their clients’ life organized. This kind of role can have overlap with some of the same administrative responsibilities as the virtual assistant, but may also involve tasks of a more personal nature. These can include running errands, working with family and friends on scheduling, managing personal finances or acting as a concierge for their client.
In the retail industry, there are various career options beyond just “retail associate” or “cashier”. One of the most linear ways to earn more responsibility and increase compensation is to go into retail management. There is generally a logical progression here. Let’s dig into a few of the positions available along the way.
Assistant managers train and supervise staff on shifts, help with performance reviews and discipline and perform opening/closing activities (including managing the tills and making end of day deposits). They typically have the authority to resolve customer complaints or grievances. Assistant managers generally have a high school diploma, at minimum.
Another potential role is the retail store team lead. In stores that have multiple areas of merchandise, the team lead focuses on one department instead of the entire store. They have similar responsibilities as an Assistant Store Manager, but they focus on a single department and liaise with the store management team.
Next we have the position of retail store manager. This person has oversight of operations for a single physical location. They have ultimate responsibility for all HR functions—hiring, scheduling, training, discipline and termination of all employees. They are also responsible for the financial management of their store including profit/loss management, monthly budget and income reconciliation. They will typically also be involved in developing and implementing new processes and procedures as well as making sure those are communicated to the staff. If the store is part of a chain or brand, they generally report to a district manager. Store managers may have a college degree, but at minimum they usually need a high school diploma and several years of progressively more responsible experience.
District managers work for retail organizations with multiple physical locations in a given geographic area. They are responsible for hiring, training and firing store managers and making sure that all stores in their district receive and implement corporate policies in all aspects of operations. District managers also ensure individual stores are hitting profit goals and act as the liaison between their stores and the corporate office. They generally have extensive experience as store managers and should have at minimum a high school diploma, although often a degree is required (particularly if the person is an external hire).
When we think of hospitality jobs, we tend to think of food and beverage businesses, but this area also includes many positions in the hotel industry. In the food and beverage space, the most commonly found roles are server, cook, and bartender. People in these positions usually have a high school diploma/GED, although some roles may require a food handler’s permit. In the most basic terms, cooks prepare menu items at restaurants, servers take orders and deliver food and bartenders take orders and mix and serve drinks. The hotel industry frequently includes all of these positions, as well as additional roles such as event staff (catering, event management, etc.), reservations/front desk, night audit and concierge.
Transportation jobs can be found in the air, bus, and train industries. Each industry has its own specific positions available, but one role that is commonly found across all transportation sectors is that of the ticketing agent. Ticketing agents make sure customers have the appropriate tickets (paper or electronic), help them check their baggage if they have any, direct them to their departure points, and provide general information. A ticketing agent typically needs a high school diploma/GED and may also require industry training and comfort using computers. See below for some jobs that are particular to each transportation sector.
Cabin stewards ensure safety regulations are followed on airplanes, answer questions, assist customers on the plane, and provide passengers with refreshments. The job generally requires a high school diploma, 2 or more years of customer service experience, and completion of an airline training program.
Bus drivers get passengers from one destination to another on buses. These can include school buses, city buses, commercial bus lines such as Greyhound, and private bus tour companies…or even tour buses for musicians! These positions generally require a high school diploma, a driver’s license with Commercial Driver specification and without major points on it, several years of driving, safety training, and 20/20 vision (with or without lenses).
Train crew members help passengers navigate dining cars and sleeping cars and provide general assistance during a train journey. They need a high school diploma or GED and safety training.
Conductors interact with passengers by helping them board and find their seats, punching tickets and overseeing safety. They are also responsible for calling stops and communicating with station personnel. They must have a high school diploma or GED, obtain industry experience, pass a certification course, and possibly obtain/maintain a license.
One area that has grown significantly in the last decade can be broadly defined as the “Gig and Sharing” economy. Think of companies like Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB — or delivery services like GrubHub, Instacart and DoorDash.
These jobs generally don’t require a college degree and allow you to set your own hours—so they can be part time “side hustles” or a full-time job.
It’s important to understand that if you work for one of these companies, you are considered an independent contractor (also referred to as a 1099 Contractor in the US). As an independent contractor, you are responsible for your own equipment, filing your own taxes and providing your own relevant insurance. For any job involving a car, you will also need to prove you have a valid driver’s license.