“What else does the product do?”
In a perfect world, this would never happen. Customers would always be happy with their purchases and they’d never have problems getting the most out of the product. At least, that’s the way businesses would ideally like to operate.
Since they can’t, however, the next best thing is to have a place to refer people. A place that’s kept somewhat separate from the rest of the company so that regular operations can continue to run smoothly.
Who fills in this role? None other than Customer service representatives. Here’s what this job is all about.
What Does the Job Entail?
Customer service representatives are the liaisons between the public and the company. They take complaints, handle orders, and give information. Believe it or not, this is a crucial function. With many products or services being distributed through stores and office branches, a customer service rep is sometimes the only way customers can reach the organization. Executives and staff members alike can’t afford to be dealing with questions and complaints every day.
As you can see, these representatives act as both a buffer and a filter for their employers.
These are a few of the duties a customer service rep might have:
1) Working With Computers– Since this line of work normally involves a computer system for logging complaints, working with computers is par for the course. The use of spreadsheets or other processing methods make courses such as Microsoft Excel 2010 Course Beginners/Intermediate Training and the Advanced Microsoft 2010 Access Tutorial particularly useful.
2) Lots of Human Interaction– Customer service representatives do more than just key complaints into the computer. They also work to explain things to people (sometimes more than once) and they also try to draw out more information so that clients’ needs can be better addressed. Dealing with people who test your limits and taking drastic measures with “CustoMonsters” is par for the course.
3) Problem-Solving– What the position boils down to is this: helping customers find solutions to their problems. Sometimes that means walking them through a procedure. Other times that means referring them to another department. Reps are always working towards an outcome that benefits both sides.
Areas of Specialization
Interestingly enough, this isn’t a job that requires any more specialization than usual. Reps must know the policies of their employers but that’s about it.
- Being Able to Listen to and Really Hear What Customers Have to Say: You’d be surprised at how hard it is to find good listeners these days
- Patience: You never know what callers will say next.
- Strong Reading Skills
- Excellent Written and Oral Communication Skills
- Solution-based Thinking: You’re not just reciting memorized answers; you’re applying what you know to help customers.
- Accurate record keeping practices
- Comfortable With Computer-based Systems
Indeed.com lists the average yearly salary for Customer Service Representatives at $28,000.
Employers normally like to see the completion of some schooling in job candidates. At the very minimum, High School graduation is standard. Language proficiency is another with respect to both written and spoken English. Beyond that, customer service representative experience is always a positive. A course like Customer Service Training can only increase your chances of getting hired.
Although many don’t see it right away, a customer service representative is an important part of helping the company run more efficiently.
Do you think in-house customer service reps are a good idea? Why or why not?