What Is an Inbound Customer Service Representative?

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Inbound Customer Service Representatives, or CSRs as they are more commonly known, are the people who staff call centers to answer questions about products or services, and sell products or services.

Who Can Do It?

  • Anyone can be an Inbound CSR, but the potential representative should have a pleasant phone voice, pleasing personality, and the desire to assist customers with their questions, concerns, or needs.

Function of an Inbound CSR

  • The CSRs are trained for a specific product or service, sometimes as long as six weeks or more, to ensure that they will be able to answer any question asked by a customer about the product. For example, some insurance companies have an 800 number for customers to call to buy a policy or ask questions about policies. The people answering the calls have been trained to know all about the policies and have been given tools not available to the customer to research and answer any questions that might arise.

Types of CSR

  • There are many different types of inbound CSRs. Some CSRs sell insurance policies and must be licensed by the state in which they sell. Other CSRs are pharmacy technicians who are available to answer questions about medications. Customer service representatives, possibly the largest group of CSRs, are trained to provide a variety of services, from answering questions about turkeys on Thanksgiving Day to solving problems with cell phones for a variety of national providers.

Inbound CSR vs. Automated Systems

  • The biggest reason that Inbound Customer Service Representatives are so important is that customers prefer asking questions of a person instead of a machine. The CSR can ask the customer probing questions to get a better idea of the problem. An automated system can't do that, which leads to frustration for the customer.

Salary of the Inbound Customer Service Representative

  • Many CSRs do not make a high hourly wage. Most CSRs are paid through bonuses or incentives. Average call times, number of calls taken in a day, work attendance, sales quotas (when applicable) and/or hours of overtime worked, are ways that CSRs are further compensated for their abilities on the phone. Call time (average length of time on the phone with a customer) is generally the most common cause for bonuses or incentives.

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