A Customer service representative provides an important and integral role in how a company or business interacts with consumers. These representatives are often the only link to a company and provide a wide array of duties depending upon the nature of the business.
What to Expect as a Customer Service Representative
Customer service representatives work closely with customers and consumers. They often act on behalf of the company they are employed by. These employees are granted the ability to perform any number of tasks as needed.
Responsibilities of a customer service representative can include;
- Answering phone calls
- Addressing questions or concerns
- Responding to complaints
- Selling products
- Suggest products or solutions to fit a customer’s needs
- Relaying information
Customer service representatives generally work over the telephone though they can also work through online communications such as instant messaging or email. They differ from sales associates as they rarely interact face to face with customers. Although there are customer service representatives in some of the larger retail stores. These representatives handle the return of items or the exchange of items as requested.
For the most part customer service representatives work in massive call centers. Their calls are often monitored for quality purposes and the number of calls received and handled is tracked to ensure that customers are getting the aid they need.
Customer service representatives can be found in nearly every industry and business.
Education, Training, and Certification for a Customer Service Representative
For many customer service representative roles a high school diploma is all that is required. All though there are companies who are demanding a higher level of education and training for their representatives and may require a bachelor’s degree as well as considerable training in computer systems and business.
Companies often provide additional training for their representatives with some even handing out scripts that are to be repeated from customer to customer. There are many positions where the representative is responsible for filing paper work as well as calling up information and records. Training is usually provided for these functions as well.
In fields that handle finances such as banking or insurance agencies, representatives will be held to more exacting standards. They will often undergo additional training and even certification before being allowed to handle calls.
Customer service representatives should also exhibit certain personality traits. Since they are often the only contact with the company, these representatives should present a professional attitude and demeanor.
Qualities that are sought after are;
- Fantastic phone manners
- A pleasant speaking voice
- Good listening skills
- The ability to communicate clearly
- Basic computer skills
- The ability to multi-task
- The ability to handle pressure and stress
Patience is a virtue in this field. Customer service representatives are expected to answer questions, solve issues, or sell items to consumers who may not always be as receptive as desired. Representatives should not be quick to anger and should be able to remain courteous and polite.
Employment Options for a Customer Service Representative
Customer service representatives are among the largest occupations today. This industry employs well over 2 million individuals through a variety of businesses, fields, and industries.
It is safe to assume that if a company deals with customers then there will be customer service representatives.
Employment Outlook for a Customer Service Representative
This industry promises to grow as businesses continue to expand. As competition between businesses continues the need for competent and polite representative will increase. More emphasis is being placed on how businesses handle their customers and customer service representative are often the first line in keeping customers.
The increase use of online interfaces and automated systems will also increase the demand for customer service representative.
Projected Salary for a Customer Service Representative
Salary is often dependent upon the company and exact nature of the work. Many can expect to earn around $14 hourly though there were some positions that averaged at the current minimum wage.
The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"