The customer service job description highlights the roles of company ambassador, problem-solver and guide for the customer’s relationship with a brand or business. Performing the duties generally requires patience, communication skills and the ability to solve problems. Technology can help customer service representatives satisfy customers, but can also temper job prospects.
Job Overview: What Does a Customer Service Representative Do?
Within the customer service job description lies the responsibility to attract and retain customers. In fact, these duties entail courteous responses to customer concerns and questions and taking other actions to enhance a customer’s experience. Typical tasks include helping customers maintain accounts and venture into new products or services.
Customer Service Job Duties
- Answer or respond to customer inquires about product, services, bills and other matters involving customer accounts and also the company.
- Assist customers experiencing technical or other problems.
- Process orders, payments and requests for exchanges or refunds.
- Review or change customer accounts, such as by amending credit limits, upgrading or removing services and changing addresses as reflected in the company records.
- Suggest or invite customers to register for new products or services, upgrades and discount programs and other programs offered by the business.
Customer Service Essential Skills
Interpersonal. Customers may register complaints about product or service quality, perceived errors in bills and delays, among other issues. Additionally, representatives may find customers argumentative. As a result of this, patience and grace are often part of the customer service job description. Customer representatives must exhibit a positive, assuring and friendly attitude regardless the circumstances.
Communication. Customer service representatives must listen attentively to customer requests, questions or complaint. Customers typically want clear, direct suggestions for their problems or a message that the company will solve them. Communication includes speaking and electronic live-chat messaging.
Problem-Solving. Retention of customers depends on the ability of the representative to solve problems. Customer service representatives should offer solutions based on particular complaints or problems. They may need to consult with supervisors to find answers not immediately or readily apparent.
Becoming a Customer Service Representative
The level of education and training usually turns on the industry in which the customer service representative is employed. Businesses in certain sectors may have a more complex array of services and products. Additionally, with many of these businesses subject to regulations, the customer service representative must be able to rely accurate information.
Qualifications & Training
Typically, a high school diploma will suffice with regard to educational requirements. Employers generally train customer service representatives on the products or services, company culture and terminology and their procedures for responding to customer inquiries.
The company’s line of business determines the new hire’s length of training. For retailers and service providers such as utility, wireless and cable companies, the training may last two to three weeks. Banks, investment firms and other financial sector companies may train employees longer and more extensively. These businesses have more complex products and services that may require considerable explanation or even be considered financial advice. Depending on the state, customer service representatives may need a license to dispense such information.
Prior experience is helpful for customer service representatives, especially those seeking supervisory or higher-level positions. In some settings, a customer service representative may need experience in a particular sector. For example, dealership service departments might seek for prefer applicants with prior work experience in vehicle repair shops. Given that companies often train customer service representatives, prior experience tends less to be a prerequisite for entry-level positions.
Most customer service representatives work full-time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2014, one-fourth of these jobs were part-time.
The customer service job description of many business frequently includes an applicant’s willingness to work evening, night and weekend shifts. Also, as customers shop and use devices around the clock, companies seek to fill their demand and need for assistance and services beyond traditional business hours. Under federal government guidelines, cable companies are to make trained customer service representatives available for some evening hours, at least one night per week or some weekend hours.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the customer service representative field could grow about 10 percent from 2014 to 2024.
The largest growth could come from customer call, or telephone call, centers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 39 percent increase in these positions between 2014 and 2024. As a result, retailers, communications companies and other companies are increasingly engaging contractors, who can combine customer service and sales function. Companies in the insurance and financial sector and which handle highly technical items may still continue to staff their own customer service representatives.
The harnessing of technology and automation by businesses may stunt some job growth. In fact, now customers can locate answers to common troubleshooting questions through “Frequently Asked Questions” links and “knowledge bases” furnished by manufacturers or sellers. Moreover, many companies rely on customer service management software to allow companies to answer anticipated common questions without the need for a human. Service providers and banks allow customers to pay bills online and schedule automatic payments.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, customer service representatives earned an average of $34,560 per year, or $16.62 per hour, as of May 2015. Furthermore, the highest average pay was reported in the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing sector, at $55,570.
Seekers of customer service jobs may find competition from knowledge bases, “Frequently Asked Questions” and troubleshooting problems. Other aspects of the customer service job description, such as processing payments and changing accounts, can be accomplished automatically or otherwise without a customer service representative.
The best prospects may come to applicants for call center positions or with companies that handle more complex products and services.