The customer service professional plays the roles of a problem-solver, company ambassador, and a guide handling the relations between a customer and business.
To succeed in this position, one needs advanced problem-solving, communication skills as well as a great level of patience.
With technology, customer service representatives can improve their service to increase customer satisfaction.
However, it can also affect the projections for the career.
Article Table of Contents
What Does a Customer Service Representative Do
Customer service professionals are responsible for attracting and engaging customers.
They should politely address customer concerns, answer their questions, and take other actions to improve customer experience.
Typically, customer service reps help customers maintain their accounts and introduce them to new products and services.
- Respond to customer inquiries concerning products, services, bills, and other aspects related to customer accounts and the company.
- Help customers resolve technical and other issues.
- Process orders, requests for refunds or exchanges as well as payments.
- Review and modify customer accounts by adjusting credit limits, upgrading information or changing addresses shown in the company’s records.
- Promote new services or products to customers as well as sign them up for upgrades, discount programs, and other promotions offered by the company.
Customers may file complaints about the quality of services or products, errors in bills or delays.
Besides, customers may be argumentative.
Therefore, customer service reps should have patience and grace while handling requests.
Under any circumstances, customer service employees must maintain a positive, friendly, and assuring attitude.
Professionals in customer service should listen to customer questions, requests, or complaints.
Customers need clear and direct solutions to their issues or the message that the company will deal with it.
Communication skills also include speaking and messaging in live-chats.
Whether the customers stay with the company vastly depends on the problem-solving abilities of the customer service reps.
They should offer solutions addressing specific problems and complaints.
Sometimes, they may need to consult with supervisors to find the right solution.
How to Become a Customer Service Representative
The level of training and education usually depends on the industry of employment.
Some sectors of business may have a more complex range of products and services.
Besides, some businesses may have specific regulations that customer service reps should adhere to, so they provide accurate information.
Training and Qualifications
Usually, it’s enough to have a high school diploma for this job.
Customer service reps are usually trained on the products and services, terminology, procedures and other things by the company.
The length of this training is usually determined by the company’s line of business.
In such companies as retailers, cable, utilities, the training may last for two to three weeks.
In the financial sector including banks or investment firms, the training is more extensive and longer.
Their products and services are more complex requiring a thorough explanation or even financial advice.
In some states, customer service reps will need a license to work with such information.
Having experience as a customer service representative is helpful when seeking a job, especially if you’re looking into supervisory positions.
In some companies, you may need experience in a specific sector or industry.
For instance, customer service in dealership prefers applicants with experience in vehicle repair shops.
Still, companies usually train these employees, so the experience isn’t so important for entry-level positions.
Usually, customer service reps work full-time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, one-fourth of these positions were part-time.
In many businesses, customer service representatives are required to work night, evening, and weekend shifts.
Also, since customers shop and use devices 24/7, companies are filling their demand for customer support after standard business hours.
The federal government guidelines state that cable companies need to have customer support reps working for some evening hours, some weekend hours and at least one night a week.
As the BLS reports, the employment rate of customer support representatives should increase by 10% through 2024.
The largest growth is expected to be for the positions in customer call centers, by 39% through 2024.
Therefore, retailers, telecommunication companies and others are hiring more contractors who can perform both customer service and sales functions.
Insurance and financial companies handle highly technical items, so they still continue to hire their own customer support.
With growing technology and automation, some employment growth may be affected.
Some of the basic troubleshooting procedures can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions sections and knowledge bases the sellers create.
Additionally, many companies employ customer support software that can handle common questions without human interference.
In the financial sector, customers can handle most money transactions online and schedule automatic payments.
As per the BLS data, the average salary of customer service representatives was $34,560, or $16.62 per hour, in May 2015.
The highest salary was offered in the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing field, $55,570 per year.
Those who seek employment in the customer service area may find competition in the form of FAQs, knowledge bases, etc.
Some other services customers seek are now automated and can be completed online, such as payments or account refilling.
The most positive opportunities for customer service reps exist in call centers now or at companies offering more complex services or products.