Customer Service Representatives

Career, Salary and Education Information

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a customer service representative with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Customer Service Representative Jobs

  • Customer Service Account Representative - Freudenberg Household Products (FHP) - Aurora, IL

    Your tasks • Research and know customer policies and fine procedures of all assigned accounts. • Directly manage customer’s scorecards and

  • Bi-lingual Customer Service Representative - PrePaid Ventures - New Hyde Park, NY

    The Customer Service Representative is primarily responsible for assisting our card holders over the telephone with any basic questions or issues

  • Customer Service Representative - Conduit Global - Cordova, TN

    Attendance is 100% mandatory for training. We are currently hiring for the following shifts: 12:00 PM - 9:00 PM 3:00 PM - 9:00 PM Training wage

See all Customer Service Representative jobs

What Customer Service Representatives Do[About this section] [To Top]

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and provide information about an organization's products and services.

Dutiesof Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives typically do the following:

  • Listen to customers' questions and concerns, and provide answers or responses
  • Provide information about products and services
  • Take orders, calculate charges, and process billing or payments
  • Review or make changes to customer accounts
  • Handle returns or complaints
  • Record details of customer contacts and actions taken
  • Refer customers to supervisors or more experienced employees

Customer service representatives answer questions or requests from customers or the public. They typically provide services by phone, but some also interact with customers face to face, or by email or live chat.

The specific duties of customer service representatives vary by industry. For example, representatives who work in banks may answer customers' questions about their accounts. Representatives who work for utility and telecommunication companies may help customers with service problems, such as outages. Those who work in retail stores often handle returns, process refunds, and help customers locate items. Some representatives make changes to customers' accounts, such as updating addresses or canceling orders. Although selling is not their main job, some representatives may help generate sales while providing information about a product or service.

Customer service representatives typically use a telephone, computer, and other office equipment. For example, representatives who work in call centers answer phone calls and use computers to explore available solutions for customers. Those employed in retail stores may use registers to process returns or orders.

Work Environment for Customer Service Representatives[About this section] [To Top]

Customer service representatives hold about 2.8 million jobs. The largest employers of customer service representatives are as follows:

Retail trade 14%
Insurance carriers and related activities 12
Telephone call centers 9
Wholesale trade 8
Professional, scientific, and technical services 6

Customer service representatives are employed in nearly every industry. Representatives usually work in an office setting, but working from home is also possible in some companies. In offices, representatives may work in a large room alongside other employees, so the work area can be noisy. Some workers may be under pressure to answer a designated number of calls while supervisors monitor them for quality assurance. In addition, the work can sometimes be stressful when they interact with dissatisfied customers.

In retail stores, representatives may spend hours on their feet assisting customers in person.

Customer Service Representative Work Schedules

Although most customer service representatives work full time, about 1 in 5 work part time. Customer service representatives often need to work during busy times, such as evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Positions in call centers may require early morning or late night shifts because some call centers are open 24 hours a day.

How to Become a Customer Service Representative[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Customer Service Representatives near you!

Customer service representatives typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training to learn the specific skills needed for the job. They should be good at communicating and interacting with people and have some experience using computers.

Education for Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Customer Service Representative Training

Customer service representatives usually receive short-term on-the-job training, typically lasting 2 to 3 weeks. Those who work in finance and insurance may need several months of training to learn complicated financial regulations.

General customer-service training may focus on procedures for answering questions, information about a company's products and services, and computer and telephone use. Trainees often work under the guidance of an experienced worker for the first few weeks of employment.

In certain industries, such as finance and insurance, customer service representatives must remain current with changing regulations.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives who provide information about finance and insurance may need a state license. Although licensing requirements vary by state, they usually include passing an exam. Some employers and organizations may provide training for these exams.

Advancement for Customer Service Representatives

With experience, customer service representatives may advance to supervisory roles.

Important Qualities for Customer Service Representatives

Communication skills. Customer service representatives must be able to provide clear information in writing, by phone, or in person so that customers can understand them.

Customer-service skills. Representatives help companies retain customers by answering their questions and responding to complaints in a helpful and professional manner.

Interpersonal skills. Representatives should be able to create positive interactions with customers.

Listening skills. Representatives must listen carefully and understand a customer's situation in order to assist them.

Patience. Representatives should be patient and polite, especially when interacting with dissatisfied customers.

Problem-solving skills. Representatives must determine solutions to a customer's problem. By resolving issues effectively, representatives contribute to customer loyalty and retention.

Customer Service Representative Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median hourly wage for customer service representatives is $15.53. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.01, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.83.

The median hourly wages for customer service representatives in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Wholesale trade $17.89
Insurance carriers and related activities 17.38
Professional, scientific, and technical services 17.33
Telephone call centers 12.98
Retail trade 12.13

Although most customer service representatives work full time, about 1 in 5 work part time. Customer service representatives often need to work during busy times, such as evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Positions in call centers may require early morning or late night shifts because some call centers are open 24 hours a day.

Job Outlook for Customer Service Representatives[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of customer service representatives is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Overall employment growth should result from growth in industries that specialize in handling customer service. Specifically, telephone call centers, also known as customer contact centers, are expected to add the most new jobs for customer service representatives. Employment of representatives in these centers is projected to grow 36 percent over the next ten years. Some businesses are increasingly contracting out their customer service operations to telephone call centers because the call centers provide consolidated sales and customer service functions.

Employment growth of customer service representatives in all other industries will be driven by growth of those industries, as well as consumers' demand for products and services that require customer support. Some companies will continue to use in-house service centers to differentiate themselves from competitors, particularly for inquiries that are more complex, such as refunding accounts or confirming insurance coverage.

However, some companies are increasingly using Internet self-service or interactive voice-response systems that enable customers to perform simple tasks, such as changing addresses or reviewing account billing, without speaking to a representative. Improvements in technology will gradually allow these automated systems to perform more advanced tasks.

Job Prospects for Customer Service Representatives

Job prospects for customer service representatives are expected to be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Employment projections data for Customer Service Representatives, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Customer service representatives 2,784,500 2,920,500 5 136,000


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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