Customer care consultants, also called customer service representatives, act as liaisons between a company and its clients. They answer questions, address complaints, process orders and provide information. Most work in call centers, alongside dozens of other customer care consultants, in a sometimes fast-paced, noisy environment. They need strong interpersonal skills, as they deal extensively with the public and work in conjunction with other departments and teams within the organization.
Education and Experience
A customer care consultant role requires at least a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. Most companies also require prior experience, with many preferring candidates who have at least one year of experience in either a call center or another customer service position. Some also prefer industry-related experience. For example, Back-Up Care, an organization that helps clients find child and adult care, prefers applicants with prior experience in a childcare or home health agency environment. Some companies also prefer previous sales experience or experience in an office environment.
Customer care consultants deal one-on-one with customers or potential customers, most often by telephone. For some, 75 to 80 percent of their time is spent on the phone or working at the computer. They also maintain records of all conversation or other correspondence with customers. At some organizations they triage calls, categorizing and directing customers to the appropriate person or department. In addition, they often educate customers on the options available to them and what might best serve their needs.
The job requires computer proficiency and experience in word processing programs, spreadsheets, email and data entry. Customer care consultants also need excellent verbal and written communication skills, because they spend much of their time talking to customers, entering information into the computer and writing reports and correspondence. They also need strong organizational skills and problem-solving abilities. They might encounter difficult or complicated cases for which they must make a decision on how best to meet the customer’s needs.
Challenges and Special Skills
Customer care consultants deal with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, which is why some organizations favor applicants who are bilingual, typically looking for people who speak both Spanish and English. A customer care consultant is an official representative of the company he works for, and is often the only direct contact a customer has with someone in the company. It’s imperative that he represent the company in a positive manner, using tact, courtesy and diplomacy in all dealings with the public.
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