All You Need to Know About Customer Service Jobs

By Robert Half September 19, 2016 at 7:00am

Beginning a career in customer service is fairly accessible, as usually a high school diploma and a year or two of work experience is enough to get you started. Opportunities for newcomers and career-oriented customer service staff are usually abundant and continually available.

The 2019 OfficeTeam Salary Guide calls customer service representatives one of its top "hard-to-staff positions." Even with a strong demand for these jobs in the coming year, you need to take the right steps to shine in these roles.

Customer service specialists play a big part in a company's success. Those who work in this field can affect how people perceive a business, so it takes a well-rounded skill set to be effective. Here are the skills you need on your resume, what you need to know about succeeding as a customer service professional, and what kind of salary to expect:

Customer service jobs and qualifications

There are a variety of customer service jobs. Two common positions include the following:

  • Customer service representative — Customer service representatives receive and place telephone calls and help maintain solid relationships with customers by answering questions and concerns with speed and professionalism. An excellent customer service representative resume must include research skills, communication skills and data entry skills. According to the Salary Guide, a customer service representative can expect a midpoint salary of $30,750. After gaining more experience, a customer service representative can move on to a senior customer service representative role or customer service manager, both of which command higher salaries.
  • Call center representative — Another of the most common customer service jobs is the call center representative. This person works at an inbound call center, responding to customer inquiries, processing orders and routing calls to appropriate departments. This professional handles a high volume of calls and must have stellar interpersonal skills, alphanumeric data entry skills and, of course, customer service skills. The midpoint salary range for a call center representative is $32,500. Pay increases for senior- and manager-level roles.

Interested in a career in customer service? OfficeTeam can help you find the right position. Check out our job listings to find your next opportunity.

How to succeed in customer service jobs

Once you've secured a position in customer service, there are a number of ways to succeed in customer service jobs. Here are a few tips that can help you stand out to your employer:

  • Be positive and persistent — As with every profession, there will be aspects of of all customer service jobs that you love — and some you don’t enjoy quite so much. Focus on the elements that excite you about the work and demonstrate positivity in all your thoughts and actions. Being persistent will help you make it through tough times and win over even the most difficult customers.
  • Expect a learning curve — Wouldn’t it be great if we already knew everything we needed to know about a job right at the beginning? OK, this only happens in fairy tales and Hollywood blockbusters. And, since we live in the real world, the best approach is to have patience and set realistic expectations. While it may not be particularly difficult to join the customer service field, it will take time to master it and to learn the unique professes and procedures of your employer. Don't be afraid to ask your boss and colleagues for tips as you aim to exceed expectations in the customer service jobs you hold.
  • Think ahead — Few things are as valuable in customer service jobs as a proactive mindset. For instance, if you dealt with a problem with an order, contemplate the cause and response and how the issue can be dealt with effectively should it arise again. Thinking ahead and offering ideas can also help you in developing stronger leadership skills — exactly what you need to stand out at work and advance.
  • Learn how to collaborate with others — Being a team player is essential to working in a call center or as a member of a customer service department. Often, more than one person is needed to resolve an issue or answer a customer inquiry. The better able you are at collaborating with others, the farther you'll go in your customer service career.
  • Keep learning — Whether you are starting out in the profession or are a seasoned customer service professional, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends, such as new systems and advancements in customer care techniques. Seek out and request training that can help make you more effective at your job. Be sure to document the new skills and tools you learn on your resume so you are well-positioned to pursue new opportunities with your company or customer service jobs with other firms.
All You Need to Know About Customer Service Jobs — Infographic Titled Excellence in Customer Service

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.

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