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Career and Education Opportunities for Customer Care Specialists in Seattle, Washington

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for customer care specialists in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 32,770 jobs for customer care specialists in Washington and this is projected to grow 16% to 37,940 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for customer care specialists, which sees this job pool growing by about 17.7% over the next eight years. Customer care specialists generally interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.

Customer care specialists earn about $14 hourly or $30,960 per year on average in Washington and about $14 per hour or $29,860 annually on average nationally. Incomes for customer care specialists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Human Resources and Customer Service in Washington, and not quite as good as the overall Human Resources and Customer Service category nationally.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a customer care specialist. Customer care specialists usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a customer care specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Customer Care Specialist

Customer Care Specialist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, customer care specialists interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.

Customer care specialists talk with customers by telephone or in person to furnish data related to products and services, to take or enter orders, cancel accounts, or to obtain specifics of complaints. They also check to insure that appropriate changes were made to deal with customers' problems. Equally important, customer care specialists have to keep archives of customer interactions and transactions, recording specifics of inquiries and comments, as well as actions taken. Finally, customer care specialists refer unresolved customer grievances to designated departments for further investigation.

Every day, customer care specialists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to speak clearly. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for customer care specialists to decide on charges for services requested, collect deposits or payments, or manage billing. They are often called upon to resolve customers' service or billing complaints by performing activities such as exchanging products and adjusting bills. They also contact customers to respond to inquiries or to notify them of claim investigation results and any planned adjustments. They are sometimes expected to complete contract forms, ready change of address archives, and issue service discontinuance orders, using computers. Somewhat less frequently, customer care specialists are also expected to keep archives of customer interactions and transactions, recording specifics of inquiries and comments, as well as actions taken.

and obtain and examine all relevant data to gauge validity of complaints and to establish possible causes. And finally, they sometimes have to talk with customers by telephone or in person to furnish data related to products and services, to take or enter orders, cancel accounts, or to obtain specifics of complaints.

Like many other jobs, customer care specialists must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Accounts Receivable Specialist. Locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visit to solicit payment. Duties include receiving payment and posting amount to customer's account; preparing statements to credit department if customer fails to respond; initiating repossession proceedings or service disconnection; keeping records of collection and status of accounts.
  • Credit Investigator. Investigate history and credit standing of individuals or business establishments applying for credit. Telephone or write to credit departments of business and service establishments to obtain information about applicant's credit standing.
  • Human Resources Administrator. Compile and keep personnel records. Record data for each employee, such as address, weekly earnings, absences, amount of sales or production, supervisory reports on ability, and date of and reason for termination. Compile and type reports from employment records. File employment records. Search employee files and furnish information to authorized persons.
  • Insurance Processing Clerk. Process applications for, changes to, and cancellation of insurance policies. Duties include reviewing insurance applications to ensure that all questions have been answered, compiling data on insurance policy changes, changing policy records to conform to insured party's specifications, compiling data on lapsed insurance policies to determine automatic reinstatement according to company policies, canceling insurance policies as requested by agents, and verifying the accuracy of insurance company records.
  • Interviewer. Interview persons by telephone, mail, or by other means for the purpose of completing forms, applications, or questionnaires. Ask specific questions, record answers, and assist persons with completing form. May sort, classify, and file forms.
  • License Clerk. Issue licenses or permits to qualified applicants. Obtain necessary information; record data; advise applicants on requirements; collect fees; and issue licenses. May conduct oral, written, or performance testing.
  • Telephone Operator. Provide information by accessing alphabetical and geographical directories. Assist customers with special billing requests.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Customer Care Specialist Training

Tacoma Community College - Tacoma, WA

Tacoma Community College, 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466-6100. Tacoma Community College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,942 students. Tacoma Community College has a less than one year program in Receptionist which graduated five students in 2008.

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has a less than one year program in Customer Service Support/Call Center/Teleservice Operation which graduated six students in 2008.

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has a less than one year program in Receptionist which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Clover Park Technical College - Lakewood, WA

Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499-4004. Clover Park Technical College is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,781 students. Clover Park Technical College has a less than one year program in Customer Service Support/Call Center/Teleservice Operation which graduated eleven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Customer Service Specialist: An individual who successfully passes ETA's World Class CSS Certification exam is professionally recognized as having the ability to uphold the interpersonal and business standards necessary in today's workplace.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Customer Support Analyst: Support center analysts provide front line support and act as the primary contact for customers.

For more information, see the Help Desk Institute website.

Customer Service Representative: This one-day skills training and certification introduces the skills and techniques required to provide exceptional customer service and support.

For more information, see the Help Desk Institute website.

Desktop Support Technician: The HDI Desktop Support Technician certification is designed specifically for IT support professionals who spend much of their day visiting customers at their workstations or home office.

For more information, see the Help Desk Institute website.

Knowledge Management Foundations: KCS Principles: This certification will help you adopt a Knowledge-Centered Support (KCSSM) strategy that will shift your support center from a call-centric model to a knowledge-oriented model.

For more information, see the Help Desk Institute website.

Certified Customer Service Representative: Applicable to financial services professionals who have completed the AIB Customer Service Representative Certificate and who function as customer service representatives.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Bankers website.

National Professional Certification in Customer Service: National Professional Certification in Customer Service® is an industry credential that facilitates career mobility for employees, applicants, and students; adds value to education and training programs; and helps employers identify the qualified professionals.

For more information, see the National Retail Federation Foundation website.

National Professional Certification in Sales: The Certification was designed to capture the core Sales duties for a broad range of entry-level through first-line supervisory positions across the sales and service industries.

For more information, see the National Retail Federation Foundation website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.