Consumer services – what are they and who does them the best? Those are the questions that we will look at in this article.
What is consumer service?
Firstly, don’t confuse consumer service and customer service. Customer service is about helping a customer with a problem they have about their product. Consumer service IS the product. Consumer service is, in it’s nature, very similar to a consumer good, like, for example, food, or furniture. But while consumer goods are tangible and can be stored somewhere, consumer service is immaterial and cannot be physically interacted with.
I think the best way to show you the difference is to show you some of the most used consumer services.
Here are some examples:
- Travel – This is the one i think you use the most. Be it just a simple Uber, or a long-distance flight or a cruise, travel is one of the best examples of consumer service. You can’t really touch it, you can’t break it (unless you break the vehicle, but that doesn’t really break the “travel”, just the means of it), and you definitively can’t store it anywhere.
- Media – We all consume some form media our whole lives, so you are probably familiar with this one. This includes stuff like the newspaper or the TV news, video and music streaming services, or even this article.
- Leasing – This is a service about temporarily providing consumer goods, usually for some kind of monetary price. It includes all types of items, from car rentals to even house renting. Keep in mind, it’s again not about the product itself, but about the service of borrowing it.
- E commerce – By this, I mean the act of shopping online. This is a service that allows the shops customers to purchase their items from home, without ever entering the “real” store. Some stores today have moved practically all of their stock online, so this service might be the only way to actually buy anything from them.
I hope you now understand what counts as a consumer service. Let’s now look at some of the companies in each of these categories. We’ll go by category, and take a look at one or more of the main actors in each one. With some of them, we’ll also look at ways for you to become personally involved with them and what job positions they offer.
American Automobile Association (AAA)
Here I’m cheating a little, because AAA is not just about traveling. It’s also about helping you to achieve this travel. They offer many different services for your vehicle of choice (mostly cars). On their official website, they offer basic roadside assistance in the event of an accident.They also offer maps, tour books, and many other automobile essentials, as well as global discounts and many application forms for improving your traveling experience. You can also become a member (of which there are around 60 million now), which will grant you many additional perks and bonuses.
Now for a bit of history and facts. AAA was founded 121 years ago in 1902, around 10 years after the first ever car run in the USA. Ever since then it served as one of the only road map providers in the whole country. Later in it’s life, as it gained more followers, AAA started to also work on providing teaching materials on pedestrian safety and road behavior for high-schools. Many of these teachings are still used to this day.
Nowadays, they are mostly working on software development. So, if you want a job position within this company, the ones currently offered are somewhere in that field. Most of them are in line of Managing Director, Applications Manager, or Software Engineer.
You probably expected me to mention some of the today’s most popular streaming services like Netflix or HBO, but those are only video streaming services, and there are many more forms of media than that.
Comcast started of as a simple cable operator, but in time, grew to be not only the major provider for television cable, but also one of the biggest provider for mobile phone networks, internet, and even their own TV networks.
They also own many companies under them, the main ones being Sky and NBCUniversal. These lesser companies develop their own means of entertainment and also the ways to advertise that entertainment. This includes them even producing their own news network.
If you are interested in movies about finances, but don’t know about any, here’s an article that might help you decide.
This means that if you are looking for a position anywhere of Comcast’s vast array of companies, you will need experience with software and its development. The positions they offer are almost always about some form of software engineering and application development. Recently, they also started delving into machine learning, so you might have a chance there as well.
The Walt Disney Company
I don’t think I need to really introduce this one. The, now almost a century old, media enterprise that is Disney had managed to weave it’s way into the lives of basically everyone in one way or the other. From the very beginning of this company, Walt Disney specialized in making animated movies and shorts. Not only have they continued doing that, they have also expanded their reach so much that they basically became the modern animation industry.
They also built many theme parks and attractions all over the world, many of which make billions of dollars every year. They also started their own streaming platform, Disney+, which is ranked #3 in the number of subscribers, with around 160 milion paid subscribers. I think it’s fair to say you won’t find a bigger player in the media field.
This also means that working for them is a real honor not many people achieve. If you want to attempt it, keep in mind that they offer a very wide variety of jobs. From animators, to programmers, almost any type of software work might come in handy in this company. Today, they are mostly looking for programmers, program managers and lead software engineers.
I’m sure most of you have heard about Airbnb by now. Some of you may have even used it in the past, or maybe you’re even using it right now. The concept of the company is very straightforward – simply create a free account and browse for a possible place to stay at. or even offer a place for someone else! The main point of Airbnb is to offer more natural alternatives to hotels and motels. What started off as a small idea quickly turned into a world-wide phenomenon, with Airbnb being used in almost 200 countries.
Do you own your own property that you don’t use that much? (don’t worry if you don’t, we have an article about that). you can actually use it as an Airbnb yourself and turn in into your own hotel of sorts. Not only will you offer a temporary living space for someone else, but you will also make profit from it! And that’s what I call a win-win.
If you are interested in pursuing a job at this company, keep in mind that you will most likely have to work on their media space. Most wanted positions with them are Security and Backend Engineers and Data scientists. Remember that, again, this position will already require a hefty bit of experience.
And let’s start this category with something big. Although many of us still view Amazon as basically just a large store, that isn’t exactly correct. Frankly, we could put Amazon into any of these categories, and it would be correct. Instead of just a shop, they also own the companies that deliver the things you buy, along with the 2nd largest streaming platform, and even their own game studio. I wouldn’t even say that they are a part of the E commerce industry, but that they are the majority of it.
Even though it’s headquarters are in Washington, to say it has a wide reach would be an understatement. Whenever we buy something from the internet, it’s basically guaranteed that Amazon will have a hand in at least some parts of the shopping process. It’s the primary shopping site in almost every developing country, outside of China, which *technically* has an Amazon site, but it’s actually another store, but re-branded.
If you are looking for a job at Amazon, you will have a plethora of options. As said before, they own many different industries, which require many different skills. But it’s most likely that you will want to work for the “main” branch – it’s online web-store. In that case, you can certainly expect to get jobs involving either software development, or web development.
The handyman’s dreamland. Home Depot offer a very wide assortment of DIY products to help you build whatever you need. With it’s several thousand shops across the entirety of Northern America, there really isn’t a better pick if you are looking to build something, whether it’s just a small birdhouse on your backyard, or a major reconstruction work.
As you might have guessed already, if you want to deliver consumer services, you will do that through their online storepage. So, if you are looking to find a job at Home Depot, which won’t include the heavy lifting, you can, similarly as with other consumer service companies, expect mostly software work. Jobs like Software and Systems Engineer are basically the bread and butter (as you might have already figured out) of the consumer service industry.
Now, those are just some of the companies in the consumer service field. We could talk about many more, but since there are around 450,000 of them, we’d probably be here all day. I hope this article helped you not only find out what is the consumer service field, but also if it’s something for you.
Simply put – if you want a job at a company like the ones we just looked at, you can, with certainty, expect to work on some form of computer software/their website. These jobs are also mostly done from home, so that’s another plus of these jobs.