Customer service representatives help customers with a wide range of issues, from problems with their orders to general feedback and complaints. Computer support specialists, on the other hand, help organizations and individuals with their computer and software-specific problems.
Both customer service representatives and computer support specialists have traditionally worked in call-center environments. At larger organizations with dedicated on premise computer support specialists, technicians often have their own department and workspace.
However, an increasing number of customer service jobs allow for remote work, either from a coworking space or home. Advances in technology mean support specialists no longer have to depend on an office infrastructure and can instead work from anywhere online.
Computer support specialists, in particular, may be asked to report to an office or other premise to resolve an issue. With the ability to take control of computers remotely, however, computer support specialists can still accomplish much of their work remotely.
Many customer service and especially computer support specialists work during standard business hours. Since many computer specialists must support businesses and their employees, they must be on hand during the business day.
Still, both customer service and computer-related problems can arise at any hour. Some customer service departments and even computer support departments operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This necessarily means that certain employees might have to work evenings, weekends, and/or holidays.
As for advancement, both customer service representatives and computer support specialists may be able to move into supervisor, management, or training positions.
Advancement opportunities are generally positive for those who choose to make a career out of either customer support or computer support. Customer support representatives may be able to rise into supervisor positions, spending less time on the phone and more time guiding their direct reports. Still, customer support supervisors will occasionally have to work directly with customers to resolve particularly problematic issues.
Some companies have even elevated customer support to a C-Level position. A customer service representative may be able to hold the title “Chief Customer Happiness Officer” or something similar.
Help support specialists enjoy a plethora of advancement opportunities. Many computer support specialists are able to further their skills, education, and training, and can move into even more specialized roles, such as a systems administrator.
From there, specialists may be able to advance into a systems engineer, network engineer, or information technology management position. In certain cases, further education will be required. Some computer support specialists go on to become Vice President of Information Technology, Service Delivery Manager, or another senior leader.
In rare cases, a computer support specialist might rise to become a company’s Chief Technical Officer.
Many customer support companies and departments will hire individuals who have graduated with a high school diploma. That said, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree will usually make candidates more desirable.
Many computer support specialists either have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a more technical focus. Some graduate from certificate programs, while others undergo online training. Occasionally, employers will waive education requirements in lieu of specialized work experience.