Employers hiring for customer service positions look for candidates with pleasant attitudes and a knack for finding solutions to common problems. Customer service job qualifications include a high school diploma and strong communication and listening skills. Workers are also sufficiently trained by companies on how to provide clear solutions to both simple and complex customer issues.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) "Occupational Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition," customer service representative jobs rank as one of the largest occupations in the United States. In addition, a May 2008 BLS report states that customer service representatives earned an average wage of $14.36 per hour.
Answer Customer Inquiries
Customer service representatives respond to customer questions using a variety of methods, including phone, email, fax and postal mail. Because nearly every industry provides some form of customer service, customer requests vary and range in difficulty. For example, a bank customer may ask about increasing his credit card limit or applying for a personal loan. On the other hand, an insurance customer may simply phone her insurance company to cancel or renew her policy. The customer service representative must be ready to assist customers and complete standard and complex requests with a positive and friendly attitude.
Escalate and Resolve Complaints
In cases in which customer service representatives are unable to resolve a customer issue, the representative is responsible for routing the person's call or email to the appropriate specialist. Representatives must follow standard company procedures and guidelines when escalating complaints and other complicated problems. It is the specialist's responsibility to quickly research and fix the customer's issue or to defer the problem to a supervisor if they lack the authority to perform a particular action. As representatives are speaking to customers, they enter data into computers to record whether a customer complaint was resolved or requires further follow-up. Because customers may be upset or irate when calling the customer service department, it is important that the representative remains courteous and calm at all times.
Promote and Sell Products
In addition to responding to questions, requests and complaints, customer service professionals also help customers purchase products and services. For example, makeup companies hire makeup specialists who speak with customers via phone or email regarding foundation shades, makeup ingredients and other features based on the customers' skin tone or facial features. Specialists may spend significant time extolling a product's benefits or promoting accessories and additional merchandise based on a customer's previous purchases. Retailers and other companies also hire customer service representatives to process transactions, returns and exchanges.
- Photo Credit customer service image by Kurhan from Fotolia.com
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