Customer Service Representative
Customer service representatives provide a valuable link between customers and the companies who produce the products they buy and the services they use. They are responsible for responding to customer inquiries and resolving customer complaints. Although most customer service representatives do their work by telephone in call centers, some interact with customers by e-mail, fax, post, or face-to-face.
Many customer service inquiries involve simple questions or requests. For instance, a customer may want to know the status of an order or wish to change his or her address in the company’s file. However, some questions may be more difficult, and may require additional research or help from an expert. In some cases, a representative’s main function may be to determine who in the organization is best suited to answer a customer’s questions. Some customer inquiries are complaints, which generally must be handled in accordance with strict company policies. In some cases, representatives may try to fix problems or suggest solutions. They may have the authority to reverse erroneous fees or send replacement products. Other representatives act as gatekeepers who make sure that complaints are valid before accepting customer returns. Customer service representatives use computers, telephones, and other technology extensively in their work.TCC programs that are right for you:Business Management and Accounting Programs
Although customer service representatives work in a variety of settings, most work in areas that are clean and well lit. Those who work in call centers generally have their own workstations or cubicle spaces equipped with telephones, headsets, and computers. Because many call centers are open extended hours or are staffed around the clock, these positions may require workers to take on early morning, evening, or late night shifts. Weekend or holiday work is also common. Because peak times may not last for a full shift, many workers are part-time or work a split shift. As a result, the occupation is well suited to flexible work schedules. Many companies hire additional employees at certain times of year when higher call volumes are expected. Customer service representatives may have to deal with difficult or irate customers, which can be challenging. However, the ability to resolve customers’ problems has the potential to be very rewarding.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of customer service representatives is projected to grow by 15 percent between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Providing quality customer service is important to nearly every company. In addition, because companies are expected to begin placing greater emphasis on customer relationships as a way to differentiate themselves from competitors, the need for customer service representatives is projected to increase. Employment also will increase as consumers continue to demand products and services that require customer support. When a new product is introduced in the marketplace, additional customer service representatives will be needed to answer questions and resolve problems related to its use.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.