Job description

Customer service representatives offer support to clients, shoppers and patrons by answering questions, replying to complaints, offering information and rectifying billing issues. They serve as a front-line associate for a company, which is essential to ensure customers are 100% satisfied with its products, services and other features.

Duties

    • Greet customers, offer to help with anything they need and be ready to answer questions
    • Take orders, provide details of goods or services, process transactions or cancel accounts
    • Write down full details of complaints submitted by the customers
    • Create, maintain and store records of customer interactions
    • Collect payments and either use the point-of-sale system or count to return change
    • Explain to customers about how products or services work and how to maximise their use
    • Respond to customers by phone or email regarding questions or concerns they have
    • Offer complementary products that would match the initial item shoppers are purchasing
    • Review claims adjustments with dealers
    • Assess parts that are the supplier confirms is defective
    • Monitor inventory and restock shelves or the backroom when supply is running low
    • Examine returned merchandise to ensure a return can be granted based on store policy

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Customer service
Organisational
Communication
Negotiation
Problem-solving
Product knowledge
Patience
Time management
Independence
Teamwork
Tech-savvy

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Shift Work

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

Customer service representatives mostly work a 40-hour workweek, but the hours do vary based on the industry they work in. For instance, a customer service representative in a store might have three different shifts to choose from, depending on the hours of operation. A support specialist, meanwhile, might clock in the usual 9am–5pm, Monday–Friday schedule.

During peak shopping seasons, a customer service representative might have the opportunity to work overtime or have the flexibility to adjust their shifts based on store needs.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$22k

Median

$34k

Top 10%

$55k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High School

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

4weeks

No formal education is required to become a customer service representative. Most businesses will typically request a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, but experience and work ethic are the main considerations when hiring candidates, extending greater responsibilities or promoting employees.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.

5%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

136.3k

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

55%

Career progression

A customer service representative will perform basic functions when initially hired, such as processing transactions, helping customers and maintaining inventory. But the position can progress to tremendous heights, advancing to the role of the key holder, supervisor, store manager, inventory manager and other higher-up roles. If you’re really good at your job, then there is an opportunity to move up to the head office or work in other locations belonging to the company.