As a customer service representative, you interact with clients on a regular basis, on behalf of an organization. You must provide accurate information about the organization’s products and services, and respond to customer complaints in a polite and timely manner. Sometimes, you might also be required to take orders and process returns, depending on the organization’s profile.
Many customer service representatives work in customer contact centers. However, others work in banks, stores, insurance agencies, or any type of companies that have contact with customers. Generally, this is a full-time job, although working part-time can also be a possibility.
Customer service representatives work in almost every industry, so your job description can vary depending on your place of employment. For example, if you work for a financial institution you will be expected to provide customers with information about their accounts. If you work for a utility company, you may need to help clients with service problems, such as outages. When you work for a retail company, you will need to process orders and handle returns.
Generally speaking though, your main duties will be to listen and respond to clients’ needs and concerns. You will have to provide information about the company’s products and services, take orders, determine charges, and oversee billing or payments, in some cases. You may also need to review or make changes to customer accounts, handle returns or complaints, and research answers or solutions as needed. It’s likely that you will have access to responses for commonly asked questions and to specific guidelines on how to deal with request. If you’re unable to answer a customer’s question or solve a specific problem, you will need to refer the customer to a supervisor or someone else who can help.
Depending on your workplace, you will either answer incoming calls in a call center, or interact with customers face-to-face. Other common methods of interacting with clients include email and live chat. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, customer service representatives earn on average $30,580 per year, or $14.70 per hour. Employment of customer service representatives is projected to grow by 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, so overall job opportunities should be good.
This is generally and entry-level position, so customer service representatives typically need only a high school diploma. However, there is some serious training involved with the position. Usually, the training is short-term and on-the-job, lasting about two or three weeks, depending on the company you’re working for. However, if you’re going to work in finance or insurance, you may need several months of training to get familiar with more complicated regulations. The training will include several procedures for answering questions, information about the company’s products/services, as well as computer or telephone use.
As with every job, there are several skills you will need to master in order to excel in your position. Here are the most important ones:
- Communication skills – since you’re required to interact with clients on a regular basis, strong communication skills are a must – both written and spoken.
- Listening skills – in order to help clients, customer care representatives need to be able to listen carefully to clients’ issues and understand their demands clearly
- Patience – difficult customers come with the job, so will need to be patient and polite when interacting with them
- Customer-service skills – your main job will be to keep clients happy and solve their problems in order to help the company retain them. You will need to answer questions and complaints in a professional manner.
- Problem-solving skills – there will be times when you will be required to find a solution to a client’s problem; if you’re efficient, you will positively contribute to customer loyalty and retention.
In order to woo a potential employer, you resume will need to highlight your strong communication abilities and customer-service skills. Here is a sample to get you inspired.
LinkedIn profile: …
I am professional, customer-oriented individual, with over five years of experience in interacting with clients. I possess a deep commitment to customer service and proved ability to build productive relationships with clients. My problem-solving skills and passion to boost customer loyalty highly recommend me to fill the position available within your company.
# Customer Service Representative
Company Name, City, State, Period of Employment
- Respond to telephone inquiries, providing quality service to customers
- Handle customer inquiries, complaints, questions
- Access various electronic and paper cataloging systems to look up product information and availability
- Expected to calm angry clients and regain their trust
- Process client orders and handle returns
- Contributed to a 15% sales increase by providing excellent service and communicating product benefits
- Managed a high-volume workload – resolved an average of 400 inquiries/week and consistently met performance benchmarks
- Completed voluntary customer service training to learn new ways to enhance customer satisfaction.
- “Focus on the customer”
- “How to Maximize Productivity in a Deadline-Driven Environment”
# Customer Service Agent
Company Name, City, State, Period of Employment
- Respond to various telephone inquiries
- Build rapport, listen, and manage customer complaints/questions
- Manage angry customers and conflicts
- Deliver outstanding service and build long-term loyalty
- Recognized as “#1 Customer Service Rep” (out of 50 reps in the division)
- High school diploma, XXXXX High School, graduated XXXX, GPA XXX
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Great interpersonal skills
- Extensive computer skills
- The ability to work under pressure and multi-task
- Good organizational skills
- Capable to deal promptly with various types of client demands
- The ability to follow instructions and handle client inquiries
- Superior problem-solving skills
Available on request.
Working as a customer service representative can be a stressful, but extremely rewarding experience. If you’re an outgoing person who likes to interact with others on a day-to-day basis, this type of job might be a great fit. However, you may have to handle difficult or angry customers, which is particularly challenging – make sure you have the patience necessary to deal with these types of situations before diving in. Good luck!