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

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for customer care specialists in the Vancouver, Washington area. Currently, 32,770 people work as customer care specialists in Washington. This is expected to grow 16% to 37,940 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for customer care specialists are expected to grow by about 17.7%. 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 earn about $14 hourly or $30,960 per year on average in Washington and about $14 hourly or $29,860 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for customer care specialists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Human Resources and Customer Service in Washington and not quite as good as general Human Resources and Customer Service category earnings nationally.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree as a customer care specialist. Given that the most common education level for customer care specialists is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Vancouver include:

  • Eligibility and Occupancy Interviewer. Determine eligibility of persons applying to receive assistance from government programs and agency resources, such as welfare, unemployment benefits, and public housing.
  • 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

Clark College - Vancouver, WA

Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598. Clark College is a large college located in Vancouver, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,378 students. Clark College has a less than one year program in Receptionist which graduated one student 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: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.