More than 2 million people worked as customer care representatives in 2008, making the field one of the largest occupation groups in the country, according to the United States Department of Labor. The department expects about 400,000 jobs to be added to the industry between 2008 and 2018, so prospects are good for those who want to pursue a career in customer service.
Customer care representatives may troubleshoot problems, suggest products, place orders or answer questions for customers. This work is often done by phone, but service an also be provided via email, fax and written correspondence.
Representatives may provide customers with information about the company's services or explain the options available to resolve their concern. They may make address and other changes to customer accounts. Some representatives provide basic instructions about product use and schedule appointments for repair technicians to come to the customer's home.
Employers may expect representatives to document each encounter with customers.
Customer care specialists must be proficient in data entry and the use of computers and telephones. Some employers want representatives who are skilled in Microsoft Office products and can type 25 words per minute. Representatives should possess strong verbal and written communication skills; the ability to speak multiple languages can make a job candidate more appealing. Representatives need the ability to handle a high call volume.
Employers look for customer care representatives who have patient, courteous and compassionate personalities. Representatives must be comfortable working in a fast-paced, stressful environment. A willingness to work nights, weekends and/or a flexible schedule may be expected.
Education and Experience
A high school diploma or GED is often a job requirement for customer care workers. Companies may expect them to have at least six months of customer service experience; some employers may want that experience to be in a specific industry, such as health care.
Pay and Job Outlook
Customer service representatives made an average of $15.58 per hour, or $32,410 annually, in May 2009, according to the United States Department of Labor. "Employment of customer service representatives is expected to grow by about 18 percent over the 2008-18 period, faster than the average for all occupations," according to the agency.
- United States Department of Labor: Customer Service Representatives
- CareerBuilder: Customer Care Representative Jobs in Olivette, Missouri
- CareerBuilder: North Austin Customer Care Representative Jobs in Austin, Texas
- CareerBuilder: Customer Care Representative Jobs in Honolulu, Hawaii
- United States Department of Labor: Customer Service Representatives, Employment and Wages
- Photo Credit customer service image by Kurhan from Fotolia.com
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