What is a Customer Service Representative

Do you like listening to others' problems? Well, ok, nobody really enjoys listening to complaints, but some are better at pretending to care than others. If that's you, maybe consider a career as a customer service representative.

From customer complaints to processing orders and just being able to answer questions, customer service representative interact with customers throughout their day. The great news is that representatives are needed in almost every industry, so it shouldn't be that difficult to find a job. And as long as you're able to communicate well with others and know your way around a computer, all you need is a high school degree and some on-the-job training.

What Does a Customer Service Representative Do

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

Learn more about what a Customer Service Representative does

How To Become a Customer Service Representative

Customer service representatives typically need a high school diploma 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

Customer service representatives typically need a high school diploma.

Training

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

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 a written exam. Some employers and organizations may provide training for these exams.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Customer service representatives must be able to provide 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 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.

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Average Salary
$29,624
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-2%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
200,034
Job Openings
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Customer Service Representative Career Paths

Top Careers Before Customer Service Representative

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Average Salary for a Customer Service Representative

Customer Service Representatives in America make an average salary of $29,624 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $37,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $23,000 per year.
Average Salary
$29,624
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Customer Service Representative Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Customer Service Representative. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Customer Service Representative Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Customer Service Representative resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Customer Service Representative Resume Examples And Templates

Customer Service Representative Demographics

Customer Service Representative Gender Statistics

female

65.1 %

male

25.3 %

unknown

9.6 %

Customer Service Representative Ethnicity Statistics

White

60.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

18.4 %

Black or African American

11.5 %

Customer Service Representative Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

74.2 %

French

6.7 %

Portuguese

2.1 %
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Customer Service Representative Education

Customer Service Representative Majors

28.3 %

Customer Service Representative Degrees

High School Diploma

32.7 %

Bachelors

30.6 %

Associate

21.3 %
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Online Courses For Customer Service Representative That You May Like

Customer Service, Customer Support, And Customer Experience
udemy
4.4
(254)

Customer service, customer support, and customer experience training. Loyal clients through world-class customer service...

Customer Service Mastery: Delight Every Customer
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4.6
(10,227)

Master Customer Service using this practical customer care course...

Customer Service
udemy
4.6
(4,506)

How to Approach New Customers and Maintain Existing Ones...

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Top Skills For a Customer Service Representative

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 16.3% of customer service representatives listed communication on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and computer skills are important as well.

12 Customer Service Representative RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Customer Service Representative

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a customer service representative. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Washington, Massachusetts, and California. Customer service representatives make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $33,745. Whereas in Washington and Massachusetts, they would average $33,118 and $32,286, respectively. While customer service representatives would only make an average of $32,263 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Dakota

Total Customer Service Representative Jobs:
469
Highest 10% Earn:
$41,000
Location Quotient:
1.45
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wisconsin

Total Customer Service Representative Jobs:
2,167
Highest 10% Earn:
$43,000
Location Quotient:
1.12
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Iowa

Total Customer Service Representative Jobs:
1,704
Highest 10% Earn:
$41,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Customer Service Representatives

How Do Customer Service Representative Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Customer service repAugust 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoCustomer service repAugust 2019

What do you like the most about working as Customer Service Representative?

I like building relations with other companies, keeping customers satisfied and growing in all areas,

Zippia Official Logo

3.0

MeeaJuly 2019

3.0

Zippia Official LogoMeeaJuly 2019

What do you like the most about working as Customer Service Representative?

The challenge, helping people, Show More

What do you NOT like?

Non caring employer's , standing on my feet all day, working weekends, low pay Show More

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Top Customer Service Representative Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ customer service representatives and discovered their number of customer service representative opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Alorica was the best, especially with an average salary of $26,084. Xerox follows up with an average salary of $31,776, and then comes Teleperformance with an average of $24,157. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a customer service representative. The employers include CVS Health, Cigna, and CBRE Group

Customer Service Representative FAQs

How can I be a good customer service representative?

To be a good customer service representative, you must be able to solve problems while providing positive customer experiences.

If you are in a customer service representative role in a fast-food industry or restaurant, a large part of success is related to your ability to provide customers with positive experiences. To be a successful customer service representative requires the following:

  • Active listening

  • Adaptability

  • Attentiveness

  • Conflict resolution

  • Creativity

  • Decision-making

  • Dependability

  • Patience

  • Quick thinking

  • Creativity

  • Effective communication

  • Empathy

  • Friendliness

  • Knowledge of your products and services

A good customer service representative should also have a decent understanding of computer programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. In addition, being a certified typist not only looks impressive on the resume, but it is also a very practical skill to refine and will help you get your job done in a more timely manner.

Customer service representatives come in all shapes and sizes. Many works for different companies, from insurance companies, manufacturing companies, cable corporations, rental companies, restaurant beverage companies, just to name a few.

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How do I get a job as a customer service representative?

To get a job as a customer service representative, apply for customer service jobs with a resume and cover letter that describe your accomplishments working with customers in the past. Working as a customer service representative involves talking face-to-face with customers, solving problems, and helping others, so these are the most important elements to focus on during the application process.

It's good to have a high-school diploma or GED to get your foot in the door. Many customer service representatives have associates in arts or business or even a bachelor's degree.

Firstly, look for the right customer service position for you. There are many different types of customer service positions. Some jobs require that you have sales experience, while others will provide you with on-the-job training. Factors such as flexible schedules, working holidays, weekends, and late nights may be important to factor in.

Secondly, create a professional resume. Some elements of a good job application are a sharp resume and a good cover letter. The cover letter is the first document employers read, so it needs to be well-written and precise. Make sure to highlight any specific skills from the job description.

Thirdly, prepare for the interview beforehand. Employers hiring for customer service representative positions usually ask the same interview questions, such as 'do you work well with others?' or 'how would you handle an angry customer?' It's best to practice several of the more common interview questions and how you would respond.

Fourthly, research your potential employer. It's good to know as much about the company as possible. This way you can show that you have done your homework. This comes in handy for the cover or during interview questions. Also, it's a big plus to ask a question or two about the company during the interview.

If you have done your research, you can ask a more specific question about the business that will surely make you stand out from other candidates.

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Is a customer service representative a hard job?

No, being a customer service representative is not a hard job. It's not the easiest job either. Lots of customer service representatives must work long hours, deal with angry customers and low wages. The term customer service representative is a catch-all job title for many different roles in customer service.

There are many different types of customer service representatives and different degrees of difficulty. A customer service rep who provides phone or online customer care typically works at a call center. Working at a call center can be high-pressure and distracting (e.g., loud, big open office). Other call centers, however, allow you to work from home.

A customer service rep can be a great job for someone who enjoys people and has a good deal of patience. A common occurrence when working as a customer service representative is dealing with angry customers, who may yell at you or just act in ways that make it very difficult to understand and solve the problem.

If you are not a good problem solver and not a people person, then this job would be hard for you.

The work schedule of a customer service representative can be quite variable depending on the industry. Some companies have you work regular nine-to-five. Others have round-the-clock hours and may expect you to work the graveyard shift. Some customer service reps have weekends and holidays off, while others must work on those days.

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What are the duties and responsibilities of a customer service representative?

The duties and responsibilities of a customer service representative are focused on providing customer support. A customer service representative serves as the liaison between the company and the customer base. Customer support can come in the form of phone, email, live chat, social media, or some combination of those things.

Depending on the position, customer service reps may need highly specialized knowledge related to the industry or company. The term customer service representative is a catch-all job title for many different roles in customer service.

Here is a list of the most common duties of a customer service representative:

  • Listening and responding to complaints

  • Canceling or upgrading customer accounts

  • Attempting to dissuade customers from canceling their service or account

  • Providing information about the company and its products

  • Assisting customers with order placement, refunds, exchanges, or delivery options

  • Collecting customer contact and payment information

  • Addressing billing questions and concerns

  • Answering questions about warranties or terms and conditions of a sale or product

  • Handling issues surrounding product recalls

  • Assisting customers when a product or service does not work as expected

  • Offering products, services, or upgrades in a sales capacity

  • Generating reports for management

  • Identifying and evaluating complex or high-priority cases for resolution

  • Verifying, correcting, and updating account information

Here are a few qualities to look for in the position or company before your start to help better understand what your duties and role will be as a customer service representative.

  • Will they provide training?

  • Do they have clear procedures?

  • Do they ask you to use your judgment or to follow a set of rules with no exceptions?

  • Will you work well with the people on your team?

  • Does this position offer a strong career path?

  • What is the turnover in the department?

  • How important are the services to the company's mission and values?

  • Is there anyone there who could serve in a mentorship role?

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What are the top three priorities for a customer service representative?

The top three priorities for a customer service representative are the 'Three Ps' professionalism, patience, and a "people-first" attitude. Although customer service varies from customer or company, the 'Three Ps' will work in almost any customer service representative job.

The first "P," professionalism, reflects your attitude towards customers, most importantly, but also your team members. Even when someone is behaving badly or even yelling at you, it's up to you to diffuse the situation.

  • staying cool, calm, and collected

  • see bad customer experiences as a learning opportunity

  • build relationships with your coworkers

The second "P," patience, means remembering that every customer is different. Even though there are some common 'do's; and 'don'ts', each customer reacts differently, and being able to actively listen and be flexible will go a long way.

  • adjust to meet the customer's needs when possible

  • allow customers the freedom to grow at their own pace

  • practice self-care after tough customer experiences

The third 'P,' people-first, even though cash is changing hands, money is not the most important part of the transaction. It's the relationship that you make with the customer that matters.

  • empathize with your customers

  • personalizing connecting with customers

  • do unto others as you would have them do unto you (i.e., the golden rule)

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What qualifications do you need for customer service?

The only qualification to become a customer service representative is a high school diploma. However, having an associate degree or even a bachelor's can open up new doors to better positions at more notable companies with more competitive salaries. An associate's degree in business or arts is highly desirable.

Also, having people skills and being friendly is, of course, a big part of working as a customer service representative. However, this friendliness should extend to your coworkers. A strong team can make the shift go much smoother.

There are many different types of customer service representative skills, which require different training and skillsets. Overall, however, there are some core skills that all customer service representatives should have.

Good communication skills and the ability to deal with customers clearly in a way that allows you to solve the customer's problem or meet their need is key. Also, being technological savvy is essential, as well as knowledge of some basic computer skills, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

Here are some ways to improve customer service representative skills and qualifications:

  • Ask for direct feedback from customers and colleagues - doing this can help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses.

  • Ask a manager for feedback - ask them to highlight your strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Read customer feedback reports - this may give you a different sense of your current customer service abilities.

  • Practice new skills - practice skills like active listening or friendliness.

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Updated August 18, 2021