How to Hire (and What to Pay) Customer Service Representatives

By Robert Half February 10, 2017 at 3:00pm

Customer service excellence will always be one of the critical advantages that helps set companies apart from competitors. Great customer service representatives also support positive positioning in the minds of customers, helping to keep them happy, satisfied and loyal.

Think about it: Whether you need help fixing a computer issue, or a product you purchased is defective, your experience with customer service shapes how you view a firm. If you have a poor experience, you might not want to buy a product or service from that firm again, but a great experience often means you'll stay loyal to a brand or company because you feel they care about their customers.

Typically, when customers experience issues or concerns, the first place they turn to is the customer service department (or a call center at some organizations). It’s true that caring for customers begins with a department; however, it’s upon each and every member of the customer service team to be an agent of the company’s products and services, using his or her communication skills to proficiently handle questions, concerns, provide information and more.

Are you conducting a search for a customer service representative, or are you looking for a job? Here are the salary ranges, job descriptions and required skills you can expect in the customer service field.

Salary ranges for the Job

According to the OfficeTeam Salary Guide, customer service professionals are in demand because whether they work in-house or via a third party call center, they help companies achieve market advantage by building relationships with new and existing customers. To attract and hire the best candidates in the field, employers offer competitive salaries that are based on their level of experience. Provided below is a list of salary ranges to expect for customer service and call center representative jobs:

  • Customer Service Representative: $28,250 - $39,500, a 3.8% increase from last year.
  • Call Center Representative: $28,250 - $38,000, a 3.5% increase over the prior year.
  • Senior Customer Service Representative: $36,750 - $48,250, a 4% increase over 2016.
  • Senior Call Center Representative: $35,500 - $46,750, a 3.8% increase over last year.

Job descriptions for four different customer service positions

Although the end goal of customer relations is the same, the positions vary in responsibilities depending on the work experience of the person and the industry. Job duties may include:

Customer Service Representative

  • Performs data entry
  • Receives and places telephone calls (or if online, receives or offers chat communications)
  • Handles questions, provides information, troubleshoots and resolves issues

Senior Customer Service Representative

In addition to the responsibilities mentioned above, duties also include:

  • Managing database records
  • Act as resource for customer service escalations to a problem
  • Provide status reports of issues and resolutions
  • May provide training and/or supervise employees

Call Center Representative

  • For inbound call centers, respond to customer inquiries, process orders and route calls to appropriate departments
  • For outbound call centers, call on businesses and consumers, with or without an existing account, to offer products and services, obtain customer information and produce leads
  • Manages a high volume of calls

Senior Call Center Representative

Along with the duties of a call center representative, this position must also have a deeper knowledge of accounts, products and services, and more work experience:

  • Proactively communicates with prospective customers and clients
  • Upsells to existing accounts
  • May provide training and/or management of a staff of call center representatives

OfficeTeam surveyed more than 380 administrative professionals about how their company offers customer service. While phone and online forms continue to be the most common customer service channels, companies are turning to social media as well*:

  • Phone: 95%
  • Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter): 33%
  • Online form on website: 62%
  • Online chat: 16%
  • Mobile app: 9%
  • Other: 27%

Note: Multiple responses permitted.

Essential skills

Among the skills that are necessary for the success of a customer service or call center representative are possessing a good understanding of the company’s products and services, excellent verbal and/or written communication abilities, being savvy at data entry, and demonstrating a professional demeanor over the phone or online.

Ready for a career in customer service? Don’t delay — search, view and apply to our current job openings now.

*Source: TechValidate survey of 387 users of OfficeTeam.

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Note: This post has been updated. It originally appeared on 10/6/14.

 

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