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Customer Service Representatives picture    Customer Service Representatives image

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives provide information in response to peoples' questions regarding products and services. They also resolve complaints. Customer service specialists often deal with customers that are returning products. Some customer service representatives provide information about products or services to customers.

Customer service specialists are employed in almost every industry and their duties vary depending on the company. They often work at a company's front desk or in a call center. They communicate with customers via the telephone, fax, e-mail and by standard mail.

Customer service agents working in call centers spend most of their day on the telephone. Employers at call centers usually keep statistics to make sure that each customer service representative is being efficient and handling a certain amount of calls each day. Supervisors may listen to telephone calls or taped telephone calls to make sure the customers are being taken care of properly and efficiently.

Customer service representatives are provided with the information and resources required to answer customers' questions. Sometimes a customer service agent will route the customer's call to a staff member who can provide them assistance and resolve their problems. Customer service representatives need to adhere to company policies.

Sample job titles are account representative, client services representative, customer service specialist, member services representative, customer service agent, call center representative and account services representative.

Responsibilities

  • Provide information to customers via telephone, e-mail, fax, standard mail or in person
  • Resolve customers' complaints
  • Determine charges for services that were requested
  • Keep records of customer transactions and interactions
  • Make sure the appropriate actions were taken to resolve customers' problems
  • Refer unresolved customer complaints to appropriate personnel
  • Contact customers in order to respond to their inquiries
  • Prepare invoices for returned goods

Job Characteristics

Customer service representatives should be polite and friendly. Strong communication, problem solving and interpersonal skills are important for the occupation. Customer service specialists should also be proficient with computers. They need to maintain their poise if a customer becomes rude or confrontational. However, resolving a customer's problems can be rewarding.

Customer service reps that work for retail stores may help customers by telephone or in person. They may work in the evenings and during the weekends.

Customer service specialists that are employed at call centers generally are provided with their own workstation or cubicle space. They work with telephones, headsets and computers. Call centers often are open for extended hours or around the clock, thus customer service representatives may have to work early morning, evening or late night shifts. They may have to work during the weekends and holidays. Many customer service agents work part-time or a split-shift. Some customer service agents work from their home.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted an 18 percent growth in the employment of customer service representatives between 2008 and 2018 which is faster than average for all occupations. A large number of customer service specialists are employed in the finance and insurance industries. In addition, being bilingual may be helpful in acquiring a job.

Many companies that have Internet operations provide customer service by telephone which has increased the demand for customer service representatives. Although some customer service call centers have been relocated in foreign countries, this strategy is less prevalent than in the past.

The median hourly wage for customer service representatives in 2008 was $14.36. Regarding the major employment industries for customer service agents, the highest wages were paid by the following sectors: Insurance carriers; agencies, brokerages and other insurance related activities; and depository credit intermediation.

Customer service positions often serve as a good introductory jobs into a company or industry. Some customer service agents may become supervisors or managers or move into other departments at a company.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Most employers require applicants to have a high school diploma. Some customer service specialist positions require an associate or a bachelor's degree. Courses in English, computers and business are beneficial for the occupation. Training is provided by employers.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employment sectors are finance, insurance, retail, administrative support and call centers.

Schools for Customer Service Representatives are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Customer Service Representatives Skills

Below are the skills needed to be customer service representatives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Active Listening3.883.75
Speaking3.883.75
Service Orientation3.753.5
Reading Comprehension3.383.38
Persuasion3.123

Customer Service Representatives Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be customer service representatives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Oral Comprehension43.75
Oral Expression43.75
Speech Clarity3.883.25
Speech Recognition3.753.25
Problem Sensitivity3.53.12

Customer Service Representatives Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be customer service representatives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Customer and Personal Service4.465.26
English Language3.613.68
Clerical3.513.98
Computers and Electronics3.293.99
Mathematics2.82.91

Customer Service Representatives Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being customer service representatives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Getting Information4.373.87
Interacting With Computers4.253.53
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization4.23.59
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.184.1
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships4.115.09

Customer Service Representatives Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being customer service representatives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Attention to Detail4.52
Cooperation4.51
Integrity4.37
Dependability4.26
Concern for Others4.12

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Customer Service Representatives

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Customer Service Representatives jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington86,000$36,040
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim81,860$39,310
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale69,170$33,590
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach68,410$31,730
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell68,230$36,320
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land54,880$34,940
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater49,790$31,330
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn45,050$34,920
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue37,640$39,670
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford31,200$31,380

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Customer Service Representatives

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Salary

Total employment and salary for professions similar to customer service representatives

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

Most Popular Industries for
Customer Service Representatives

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

IndustryTotal EmploymentPercentAnnual Median Salary
Office Services And Staffing349,68015%$25,460
Insurance251,83011%$32,340
Banking And Credit206,2109%$29,880
Telecommunications131,4105%$32,780
Professional And Technical Services114,0405%$31,970
Durable Goods Wholesale104,8504%$33,760
Business Management76,5903%$31,490
Grocery Stores67,6003%$19,770
Government55,5902%$31,530
Non-durable Goods Wholesale53,2102%$31,610
Department And General Stores52,3602%$21,770
Non-store Retailers42,5401%$25,680
Medical Office41,1801%$29,870
Online Wholesale32,6901%$33,460
Hospital31,8001%$29,980
Utilities29,3501%$36,520
Printing27,0601%$33,590
Traditional Publishing24,7301%$30,640
Non-profit24,5701%$27,510
Real Estate22,9501%$27,510
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Customer Service Representatives.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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