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Summary:

With technology such as remote control applications hitting the market, tech support and customer service roles can increasingly be performed remotely by anyone with the right skills, a computer, a phone line and a reliable Internet connection. Is tech support or customer service the web working […]

Tech SupportWith technology such as remote control applications hitting the market, tech support and customer service roles can increasingly be performed remotely by anyone with the right skills, a computer, a phone line and a reliable Internet connection.

Is tech support or customer service the web working career for you?

Types of Tech Support and Customer Service Careers

Tech support and customer service jobs don’t just involve working directly with customers using a product or service. Brian Roberts of nesaru consulting, for example, acts as the focal point for communications between his clients and their U.S. customers, service centers, sales groups, distributors.

Here are three general careers in tech support and customer service:

Customer service: Provides support for products and services including set up, repair, training, distribution and other logistics.

Tech support: Solves technical problems, remove malware, and provide help with applications. Jobs may involve specializing in several areas, depending on the business and its products or services.

Trainer: Show users how to use business applications. Training may be included in the responsibilities of someone working in tech support or customer service. In addition to offering tech support to clients, tech “go to” guy and WebWorkerDaily writer Scott Blitstein conducts training.

How to Qualify

Tech support pros often begin learning the job by taking care of their own computer problems and becoming the “go to” resource for family and friends. “I have been a technology innovator for almost 30 years. I love learning about new technology; it was fun to roll up my sleeves and learn about VoIP long before it was easy (like 10 years ago),” says F. Andy Seidl, president and co-founder of MyST Technology Partners, Inc.

In his role as founder and president of eSeMBe Technical Services, Scott Blitstein provides technical support services for clients. His experience comes from a combination of formal training, self-teaching and collaborating. “I do a lot of reading and internal testing to stay up to date and comfortable with current technology,” he says.

These jobs often involve interfacing directly with customers, so people skills matter. Managers often say they’d rather hire those with people skills first than those with tech support knowledge, because you can’t teach people skills. Another important trait is patience, as customers often feel frustrated or aggravated and take it out on the first representative they speak with from the company. Representatives not only deal with the physical problem of a product or service, but also the customer.

Tech Support and Customer Service Tools

People in this career rely on specific applications that help them review and identify problems. For example, computer tech support workers use remote control software such as LogMeIn, CrossLoop and NTRsupport Pro to access a customer’s PC to see and fix problems. Of course, a fast Internet connection is a must and headset comes in handy so you can free your hands for heavy-duty keyboarding and mousing. Customer support staff often also rely on a support ticketing app.

They also use many of the common web worker tools: Skype, instant messaging, Basecamp or other project management application and online meeting tools like GoToMeeting.

Find Clients

Word-of-mouth marketing continues to be the leader for lead generation in these fields. F. Andy Seidl finds his company’s primary sources for leads come from the company web site, and via resellers and value-added resellers (VARs).

Cold calling still works, as Brian Roberts attests, and so does face-to-face marketing. “We network a lot in international trade events to identify potential clients and have developed a community of companies and people with complementary skills and services we can offer to our clients,” says Roberts.

Would you consider a tech support or customer service career?

Photo credit: c ps

  1. Add to that Sys Admin, Network Admin, Sys/Network engineer, etc.. honestly speaking I drive to an office 20 miles away to manage servers in a colo 1800 miles away. It was honestly mentioned one day that everyone gets to go to the office so they know they’re working. I understand for upper level support items that could be handled by rotation of who is in office, yet in this case a virtual office would more than suffice for nearly everyone who works there.

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    1. CBulla, I can’t tell you how hard it is to draw the line. It’s too easy for these things to spiral out of control, so we’re trying to keep it general enough to give readers an idea of what’s out there. Thanks for listing these.

      Yes, some of these jobs can’t be done remotely as my spouse is an IT manager. Some of the problems require him going to the colocation center.

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  2. There are also a few sites that allow you to work as a freelance tech support and make a living.

    I have a friend that started answering questions at http://www.fixya.com he isn’t going to retire or quit his day job, but he’s making a nice second income, using the knowledge he has from his previous jobs.

    I think that we can see n the horizon the end of the huge call center, also the ones in India…. :-)

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    1. The CrossLoop marketplace is also a good source of remote work opportunities.

      SB

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  3. [...] 28th, 2009 (1:00pm) Scott Blitstein No Comments In a recent post, Meryl discussed careers in remote tech support and customer service. In my business, providing remote support is a very important part of my service offering. [...]

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  4. I read this page. I started my on virtual answer service business. In order to get off the ground, I read a lot of blogs and took seminars. I also got an e book “How to Start An Home Base Answer Service Business”. Below is the link. It covers everything. I am earning about $375.

    http://www.megadigi.com

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  5. Sarah in Utah Monday, August 31, 2009

    I think freelancing or starting your own company is the way to go for tech support. I had a great job doing phone support for a huge company, but about four months ago they decided to outsource all support to Malaysia. If you want to make a living doing tech support, you’re better off working for yourself or in a field where you have to be on site.

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