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

By Robert Half February 10, 2018 at 3:00pm

Customer service leads to effective problem solving, increased customer satisfaction and better collaboration, an OfficeTeam survey shows. But are you ready to hire for this role and pay the going customer service representative salary?

The first thing you might need to be convinced of is that customer service excellence is one of the advantages that helps set companies apart from competitors. When customers experience issues or concerns, the first place they typically turn to is the customer service department or call center.

Think about it from their side: 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. A great experience often means you'll stay loyal to a brand and happy with a company because you feel they care about their customers.

Here are the customer service representative salary ranges, job descriptions and required skills to help you hire in the customer service field.

Customer service representative salary ranges

According to the 2019 OfficeTeam Salary Guide, customer service professionals are in demand. 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 levels of experience. Provided below is a list of midpoint salaries for four different customer service jobs:

  • Customer service representative: $30,750
  • Call center representative: $32,500
  • Senior customer service representative: $38,000
  • Senior call center representative: $40,000

​​​​At the midpoint, candidates have average experience with the necessary skills to meet the job requirements, and the role may be in an industry where competition for talent is moderate

Use our Salary Calculator to find out the customer service representative salary in your city.

Job descriptions for four 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 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

It’s true that caring for customers begins with a department; however, it’s upon each and every member of the team to have good customer service skills as an agent of the company’s products and services, using verbal and/or written communication skills to proficiently handle questions, concerns, provide information and more.

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

Are you ready to conduct a search for candidates for this vital role?

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.

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