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Career profile Customer Service Representative

Also known as Account Representative, Call Center Representative, Client Services Representative, Customer Care Representative (CCR), Customer Service Agent, Customer Service Representative (Customer Service Rep), Customer Service Specialist, Member Services Representative, Sales Facilitator

Customer Service Representative

Also known as Account Representative, Call Center Representative, Client Services Representative

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Social
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$24,120 - $57,830 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Service Orientation
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administrative
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Confer with customers by telephone or in person to provide information about products or services, take or enter orders, cancel accounts, or obtain details of complaints.
  • Check to ensure that appropriate changes were made to resolve customers' problems.
  • Keep records of customer interactions or transactions, recording details of inquiries, complaints, or comments, as well as actions taken.
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What does a Customer Service Representative do?

Customer Service Representatives interact with customers to provide basic or scripted information in response to routine inquiries about products and services.

In addition, Customer Service Representatives

  • may handle and resolve general complaints,
  • excludes individuals whose duties are primarily installation, sales, repair, and technical support.

What kind of tasks does a Customer Service Representative perform regularly?

Customer Service Representatives are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Confer with customers by telephone or in person to provide information about products or services, take or enter orders, cancel accounts, or obtain details of complaints.
  • Check to ensure that appropriate changes were made to resolve customers' problems.
  • Keep records of customer interactions or transactions, recording details of inquiries, complaints, or comments, as well as actions taken.
  • Resolve customers' service or billing complaints by performing activities such as exchanging merchandise, refunding money, or adjusting bills.
  • Complete contract forms, prepare change of address records, or issue service discontinuance orders, using computers.

The above responsibilities are specific to Customer Service Representatives. More generally, Customer Service Representatives are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What is a Customer Service Representative salary?

The median salary for a Customer Service Representative is $35,830, and the average salary is $38,510. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Customer Service Representative salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Customer Service Representatives earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Customer Service Representatives earn less than $24,120 per year, 25% earn less than $28,760, 75% earn less than $45,400, and 90% earn less than $57,830.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Customer Service Representatives is expected to change by -1.2%, and there should be roughly 361,700 open positions for Customer Service Representatives every year.

Median annual salary
$35,830
Typical salary range
$24,120 - $57,830
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-1.2%

What personality traits are common among Customer Service Representatives?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Customer Service Representative are usually higher in their Enterprising, Social, and Conventional interests.

Customer Service Representatives typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Customer Service Representatives typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Customer Service Representatives typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Customer Service Representative tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Customer Service Representatives very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Customer Service Representatives moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Customer Service Representatives moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Customer Service Representatives must consistently demonstrate qualities such as cooperation, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Customer Service Representatives, ranked by importance:

Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

What education and training do Customer Service Representatives need?

Working as a Customer Service Representative usually requires a high school diploma.

Customer Service Representatives need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Customer Service Representatives

  • 3.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 26.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.0% completed some college coursework
  • 12.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 22.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 4.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Customer Service Representatives

Customer Service Representatives may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, administrative, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Customer Service Representatives might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Important Abilities needed by Customer Service Representatives

Customer Service Representatives must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Customer Service Representatives need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and speech clarity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Customer Service Representatives, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Customer Service Representatives

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Customer Service Representatives frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and service orientation to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Customer Service Representatives, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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