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Customer Service Careers, Jobs and Employment Information

Customer Service Representative Career Information and Job Description

Customer service representatives work for a variety of firms throughout the country and act as a direct point of contact for customers. They must ensure that their customer’s are assisted properly and that all their questions and concerns are addressed. Customers can be single consumers or large firms, and the needed services can be quite different depending on the customer.

Obviously every representative works with customer directly in order to provide timely responses to questions about the goods and services offered, or to take care of complaints. The vehicle of communication can be by telephone, e-mail, snail mail, fax, the internet, or in person. Some work as specialists are deal with specific issues while others deal with general questions, concerns, and problems.

Most customer issues deal with run of the mill questions and requests. For instance, customers might request their bank account balance, or want to look up the status of an order they made. These types of requests are simple and merely need to be looked on the computer. Other inquiries may be more complicated and might require extra research or a detailed explanation by the representative. As always, customer representatives must adhere to company guidelines and policies when resolving issues with the customer. These policies might include asking additional questions to ensure the validity of the complaint, suggesting potential solutions, refunding the customer, exchanging the product, of offering complimentary discounts and coupons. In some situations, representatives must follow up questions and concerns until the customer’s inquiry has been completely resolved.

Some customer service representatives aid customers in determining what kinds of goods or services would optimally fulfill their needs. They might even assist customers in buying the good or carrying out transactions. The main objective of customer service reps is not sales, though some may try to persuade customers to buy extra goods or services. Customer service representatives might change or update to a customer’s personal information or account information as needed. They might also record transactions and keep the main database up to date with current information.

For the most part customer service representatives utilize computers and telephones to do their job. Customer service representatives routinely key in information into a PC as they are conversing with customers. Typically customer reps are able to access the customers account information as they are talking to the customer so that the rep can answer detailed questions about the account. They also can access the frequently asked questions in order to assist the customer with general inquiries. When questions or problems arise that the customer reps is unsure of how to handle, they typically may defer to their supervisor for the solution. Customer service representatives work on telephones systems which have multiple lines and calls normally can be relayed straight through to the necessary representative. Sometimes a worker may have to forward a customer to another representative better suited to handle the call.
Customer service reps working for some companies are on the phone the whole work day. Other companies may have their employees work the phones for half of the day and the other half is spent addressing concerns raised in e-mails. Still others may work with customers in person every day. One must mentally track the time used to assist each customer so that their time is fairly distributed to all customers requiring assistance. It is especially important for customer service reps whose main job is to take incoming calls to monitor the length of their calls, and some companies will have a policy of keeping calls within a certain time constraint. For employees of call centers there is minimal time between calls as normally they must move on to the next call upon completion of a call. Employees in call centers are typically closely supervised as well. Calls might be recorded and/or monitored by supervisors so that the supervisor can make sure all company policies are being adhered to.

The duties and tasks of an employee will vary according to the industry in which the customer service representative is working in. For instance, a customer service representative employed by the branch office of a may perform the work of others, like those duties of a teller or new account clerk as required. A customer service rep employed by an insurance agency works with agents, insurance companies, and policyholders. The perform duties associated with the paperwork required by insurance policies, like applications, changes, or renewals of current policies. They help customers in submitting claims, answer questions related to policy coverage, and provide any other support that might be needed. They are similar to insurance agents in that they must know nearly as much about policies and typically must have credentials on par with those held by an agent who actually sells the product, but they are different in that a customer service representative does not pursue clients or customers. Customer service representatives that work for communications and utilities corporations help customers that want to start a new account for products like electricity and gas, or for communication services like cable TV and telephone. They describe the plans and options to the customer and take orders for services that need to be installed, turned on or off, or changed in some way. They also deal with complaints and issues related to billing or services offered by telephone, utility, and cable TV companies.

Customer Service Training and Job Qualifications

A wide variety of companies utilize customer service representatives to act as the first line of contact for consumers. They must ensure that customers are dealt with properly and appropriately. Some customers are large companies while others are individuals and consequently their demands will vary accordingly.
All customer service representatives interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products or services and to handle and resolve complaints. They communicate with customers through a variety of means in person; by telephone, e-mail or regular mail correspondence, or fax; or even over the Internet. Some customer service representatives handle general questions and complaints, whereas others specialize in a particular area.
Almost all representatives work with customer directly in order to provide timely responses to questions about the goods and services offered, or to take care of complaints. The vehicle of communication can be by telephone, e-mail, snail mail, fax, the internet, or in person. Some work as specialists are deal with specific issues while others deal with general questions, concerns, and problems. Most customer issues deal with run of the mill questions and requests. For instance, customers might request their bank account balance, or want to look up the status of an order they made. These types of requests are simple and merely need to be looked on the computer. Other inquiries may be more complicated and might require extra research or a detailed explanation by the representative. As always, customer representatives must adhere to company guidelines and policies when resolving issues with the customer. These policies might include asking additional questions to ensure the validity of the complaint, suggesting potential solutions, refunding the customer, exchanging the product, of offering complimentary discounts and coupons. In some situations, representatives must follow up questions and concerns until the customer’s inquiry has been completely resolved.

Some customer service representatives aid customers in determining what kinds of goods or services would optimally fulfill their needs. They might even assist customers in buying the good or carrying out transactions. The main objective of customer service reps is not sales, though some may try to persuade customers to buy extra goods or services. Customer service representatives might change or update to a customer’s personal information or account information as needed. They might also record transactions and keep the main database up to date with current information.

Most customer service representatives utilize computers and telephones to do their job. Customer service representatives routinely key in information into a pc as they are conversing with customers. Typically customer reps are able to access the customers account information as they are talking to the customer so that the rep can answer detailed questions about the account. They also can access the frequently asked questions in order to assist the customer with general inquiries. When questions or problems arise that the customer reps is unsure of how to handle, they typically may defer to their supervisor for the solution. Customer service representatives work on telephones systems which have multiple lines and calls normally can be relayed straight through to the necessary representative. Sometimes a worker may have to forward a customer to another representative better suited to handle the call.

Customer service reps working for some companies are on the phone the whole work day. Other companies may have their employees work the phones for half of the day and the other half is spent addressing concerns raised in e-mails. Still others may work with customers in person every day. One must mentally track the time used to assist each customer so that their time is fairly distributed to all customers requiring assistance. It is especially important for customer service reps whose main job is to take incoming calls to monitor the length of their calls, and some companies will have a policy of keeping calls within a certain time constraint. For employees of call centers there is minimal time between calls as normally they must move on to the next call upon completion of a call. Employees in call centers are typically closely supervised as well. Calls might be recorded and/or monitored by supervisors so that the supervisor can make sure all company policies are being adhered to.

The duties and tasks of an employee will vary according to the industry in which the customer service representative is working in. For instance, a customer service representative employed by the branch office of a may perform the work of others, like those duties of a teller or new account clerk as required. A customer service rep employed by an insurance agency works with agents, insurance companies, and policyholders. The perform duties associated with the paperwork required by insurance policies, like applications, changes, or renewals of current policies. They help customers in submitting claims, answer questions related to policy coverage, and provide any other support that might be needed. They are similar to insurance agents in that they must know nearly as much about policies and typically must have credentials on par with those held by an agent who actually sells the product, but they are different in that a customer service representative does not pursue clients or customers. Customer service representatives that work for communications and utilities corporations help customers that want to start a new account for products like electricity and gas, or for communication services like cable TV and telephone. They describe the plans and options to the customer and take orders for services that need to be installed, turned on or off, or changed in some way. They also deal with complaints and issues related to billing or services offered by telephone, utility, and cable TV companies.

Customer Service Job and Employment Opportunities

Since more positions than applicants are expected, opportunities in this field should be great. Applicants that are bilingual should have particularly good opportunities. Besides openings caused by new or expanding businesses, many new positions will be caused by experienced employees who leave the work force or move to a new occupation. The demand for replacements should be noticeable in this field since many young people begin as reps and then move on to other jobs. The job is typically provides an adaptable work schedule, and opportunities to work part time exist as well, especially as firms try to cut costs by utilizing temporary employees.

Through 2012, employment of customer service representatives is projected to rise faster than the average. Besides the growth associated with expansion of the industries in which customer service representatives are employed, the demand for more workers as companies rely on customer service representatives more. Customer service is paramount to the success of any customer oriented business, and solid customer service can help increase sales and awareness as firms try to appear better than their competitors. As many industries become increasingly competitive, more and more importance will be place on customer service in an attempt to achieve a competitive advantage and retain customers. This notion is especially pertinent in fields such as financial services, communications, and utilities that already employ many customer service representatives. As the movement to consolidation with industries persists, central call centers will enable to companies to offer excellent customer service. Thus, the growth in employment of customer service representatives rise more rapidly in call centers than in other areas; however, this growth may be curbed as elements such as technological improvements make it easier and cheaper to build call centers offshore. Technology is causing changes within the industry. Innovations like the internet and ATM machines enable customers to seek information and perform transactions without the need of “live” representative. Technology also has enabled processes to be streamlined as well enabling greater productivity of employees. The use of advanced technology will become more popular in the next few years making processes simpler and more automated. Advancements in technology will include improvements related to computer software and filtering technology for e-mails, automatic responders and the direction of messages to their proper recipients, as well as telephone systems that automatically redirect calls to the appropriate representative.

In spite of advancements, the demands for customer service will likely stay strong. To some degree, the availability of information has increased the consumer’s expectation with regards to information and customer support, and thus there is more of need for customer service representatives now. Additionally technology is no replacement for human skills. As increasingly complicated technologies are able to address customers’ questions and concerns, the inquiries addressed by customer service representatives will probably become more and more complicated.

Additionally, the duties of customer service representatives are increasing as well. As companies look be more cost effective, workers are taking on more and more responsibilities like opening bank accounts or cross-selling goods. Thus employees may begin to favor applicants with a college degree or some college experience to fill jobs that are becoming increasingly complicated. Typically the occupation is not extremely sensitive to economic downturns, though jobs in certain industries such as retail may be more susceptible to such fluctuations.

Historical Earnings Information

The average incomes for wage and salary customer service representatives were $26,240, in 2002. The middle 50 percent made anywhere from $20,960 to $33,540. The bottom 10 percent made below $17,230, and the top 10 percent made upwards of $42,990.