If you’re a detail-oriented person with excellent people skills, working as a customer service representative can be a great fit. In this position, you will mainly assist customers by providing product and service information, as well as handle product and service problems that may arise during a typical work day. You will deal with complaints, process orders, and give clients advice. The work environment varies depending on the organization you work for- customer service representatives typically work in call centers, stores, or regular offices.
While stressful at times, this career can be highly rewarding – your main job is to help people and solve their problems. Since you will be doing in on the company’s behalf, your attitude needs to remain professional and calm at all times. Depending on the setting, you may handle other duties as well. Nonetheless, this is a job that requires great listening and communication skills, as well as a knack for connecting with people on the spot. Think you’ve got what it takes? Read on.
The typical duties of a customer service representative are pretty straight-forward, and include listening to customers’ questions and concerns and providing answers or responses. You may also need to provide clients with information about the organization’s products and services or handle complaints/returns. Additionally, the job sometimes involves taking orders, calculating charges, and processing billing or payments. A customer service representative may be expected to review or make changes to customer accounts or review and select standard responses for answers or solutions. While customer service representatives usually deal with clients by phone, you might be required to interact with them face to face, via email, or by live chat.
The specific duties will depend on the type of company you work for. For instance, if you’re employed by a bank, you will need to answer inquiries about clients’ account. If you work for a utility company, you will help customers with information about various service problems, such as outages. In retail, a customer service representative usually help customers find items, processes cash refunds, and handle returns. In some case, you may be required to also make changes to a client’s account – like cancel an order or update contact data. Selling won’t on your job description, but it’s widely known that customer service representatives can drive sales for the company by providing useful information about a product/service.
Skills and Training
Customer service representatives typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. They receive short-term on-the-job training, which usually lasts about two or three weeks. Regarding equipment, they only handle a phone and computer, although learning how to operate a cash register may be required. Trainees often work under the guidance of an experienced worker for the first few weeks of employment, until they get the hang of things. However, if you work in finance or insurance, the training may be more extensive and last several months. Additionally, you will also be expected to stay on top of changing regulations relevant to your industry.
As for skills, great communication is a must. You need to answer customers clearly and communicate information effectively, both in person and in writing. Interpersonal and customer-service abilities are also important, since creating positive interactions with clients will be a big part of your day-to-day job. If you’re seeking a career in the field, listening skills can be a plus – you will have to actively listen to the client state their problem and understand what they want in order to be able to work.
On top of that, cultivate patience. Unfortunately, difficult customers will come your way every now and then, and you need to be ready to act as politely and professionally as possible when they do. Problem-solving skills will also come in handy. At the end of the day, customer service representatives significantly contribute to customer loyalty and retention by solving client issues effectively.
What’s the pay like?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, customer service representative have a median salary of $30,580 per year, or $14.70 per hour. The pay will vary depending on the industry you activate in. In insurance, the median pay is $16.44; while for administrative and support services, it’s only $12.71.
Most customer service representatives work full-time, but there are also cases when they are employed part-time. Since many call centers are open around the clock, you may work in shifts, or during weekends/holidays.
However, the job outlook is good: employment of customer service representatives is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be best in telephone call centers, since these types of organizations are expected to add the most new jobs for customer service representatives. Employment of customer service representatives in call centers is projected to grow 38 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This is mainly because more and more businesses are outsourcing their customer service operation to telephone call center.
Customer service representatives are the direct link between the organization that they work for and the clients looking for service. They are the initial point of contact, so their attitude needs to be professional and helpful at all times. It’s their job to help customers, provide assistance, and answer questions – and all of these duties need to be perform with a smile; otherwise, the customer may not come back next time. If you’re a naturally helpful person who finds joy in helping others, you just found the perfect career to pursue.