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Customer Service Representative Job Description

Aparna Iyer
A customer service representative's job is to cater to the needs of the organization's clientèle by effective communication and problem solving skills, but that is not all! There is more to customer service. This story will give you an apt description of what is expected of this job, and what skills will help you become successful in this career.
If you carefully observe the term, Customer Service Representative (CSR), it consists of the three basic parameters that this job is based on:
Customer - the ultimate source of revenue and the direct point of contact with the CSR, is the one who should be catered with the best service - that includes business deals, processing, handling complaints, and constant follow-up; thereby making the representative a positive reflection of the organization's image.

Therefore, we can say that an ideal customer service representative is expected to possess all those skills that can contribute in keeping the customers happy and satisfied with the provided services, while bringing a positive representation of the organization into the forefront, which is necessary to ensure customer loyalty.
A CSR acts as an interface between the customers and the company by attending to their queries and handling consumer complaints. Large companies, especially those operating in the field of finance, marketing, banking and insurance; felt the need for call centers in various parts of the world to expedite the process of handling queries and complaints.

Job Description

The actual job profile will vary depending upon the industry. For instance, if you are applying in a call center, you will be expected to deal with the needs of the customers on phone. On the other hand, if you are working in an office with a customer service desk, then you have to deal with the consumers face-to-face, and tactfully handle their queries.

Each and every query/solution that takes place between you and the consumer will require proper documentation in the organization's database. You will also have to perform a follow-up to make sure that the customer's query is solved.
All business organizations deal with a valuable clientèle, and to make sure that the customers remain loyal to their services, it is important to have a skilled set of employees that prove to be a healthy reflection of the organization's dedication towards customer satisfaction.
A person applying for this job should have a pleasant and hospitable personality, so that the same is reflected while performing the job.
The duties and responsibilities that a customer service representative is expected to perform, are listed as under.
  • To please the customer with a hospitable approach in helping them with their queries, and generate revenue for the organization. This can be done by acquiring excellent communication skills and product knowledge.
  • To retain the existing customers by building rapport and providing customer satisfaction.
  • To attract potential clients by displaying and selling the products and services offered by the organization. This needs effective salesmanship and building a genuine rapport with the potential clients.
  • To maintain proper records of all the transactions/sales/complaints/orders/cancellations that have taken place, and to ensure a proper follow-up as and when required.
  • To listen to the consumer query with patience and not to assume the problem yourself.
  • To provide timely solutions of the customer queries, and ensure that the problem does not occur again.
  • To direct the customer to the right person in-charge, if handling the query is beyond your authority, so that the solution is attained immediately.
  • To keep the organizational data and consumer information confidential.
  • To handle workload and customer queries with patience, and to not let work pressure reflect on the way you deal with the clients.

Possible Working Conditions

  • Dealing with all kinds of customers, mostly those who may be disappointed with the services of the company.
  • Many customers will be irate or angry, and the CSR will have to deal with them very politely and patiently.
  • A solution to the customer's query will have to be brought to the forefront as quickly as possible. This means that the job could be hectic and will require the CSR to be efficient in multitasking and quick thinking.
  • If working in a team under a supervisor, there are likely to be certain team targets to achieve. There is a possibility that there will be pressure from the supervisor to achieve certain numbers, which could be sales figures, or the number of calls to be taken on a daily basis.
  • The working hours could be extended based on the workload. For instance, if there are a number of customer complaints in line, then one could be asked to work overtime. This also means that you will be paid extra, in most cases.
  • If you are working in a call center, then most of them have team activities and rewards within the working place as a means of employee motivation. 
However, if you are in an office, where you are dealing with the customers face-to-face, then your efficiency in handling them will earn the trust and the rapport that is required by the organization to earn customer loyalty and goodwill in the market.

Essential Skills Required

  • Excellent communication skills: This is required to tactfully understand, interpret, and respond to the consumer query in a timely and appropriate manner.

  • Computer Literacy: One needs to keep a record of all the transactions that takes place with the clients. Various software are used for this purpose; which is why it is important to have the aptitude to learn and work with computer software and database. Mostly, training is given for the same by the employer

  • Good Typing Speed and Computer Navigation Skills: This comes handy if you are working in a call center, or at an office wherein queries are attended to, on a regular basis. A good typing and navigation speed will help you do your work quickly, and help you meet your targets, if any.
  • Ability to Multitask with Professionalism: The job of a CSR can be pressurizing when it comes to dealing with a number of customer queries one after the other, or, at the same time. If your job includes team-oriented targets to achieve, then it becomes essential for one to possess multitasking skills, and to handle the pressure professionally.
  • A Cheerful and Hospitable Attitude: Not everyone has this skill, but it's definitely an add-on for your career growth in this field. A customer service representative is the direct link between the organization and the client. Because CSRs are dealing with individuals, a cheerful and hospitable attitude will definitely help build rapport with the clients.
  • Excellent Convincing Skills: In a market environment full of competition, convincing skills are absolutely essential to keep your customers loyal to the organization. Convincing is an art, and you need to do it without being obvious. Without this skill, its really hard to "force" the customers to listen to them, and eventually end up losing on sales.

  • Ability to Work in Teams: Many jobs offered in this sector are team oriented. You will be asked to work in teams under a supervisor. The team will have individual targets and goals to achieve; which is why, you need to be able to co-operate with other team members.

Educational Skills

  • High school diploma or an equivalent degree.
  • A degree in effective communication skills and computer literacy. (Optional)
The job profile will vary depending upon the sector. A CSR in a banking sector will have different knowledge than a CSR in a sales company. Usually, on-the-job training is given by the employer to gain product knowledge. Customer representative jobs are usually entry-level jobs, and therefore, they mostly do not need any specific qualification or degree.
The basic requirement is that you must possess good communication and computer skills, along with a high school diploma. A significant amount of work experience in the field of customer service or hospitality is preferred, as it brings a prior knowledge of dealing with customers. This can give you an opportunity to work as a supervisor, or a manager.

Scope and Remuneration

The scope in this field is wide, simply because of the fact that each and every sector deals with consumers and needs skillful representatives to deal with them effectively. It is an entry-level job, which means that anybody with the necessary skills and aptitude can be a part of this career.
As you gain more experience and product knowledge, the company promotes you from being a novice, to a supervisor who handles various novices under his team. The rise in hierarchy can also reward you with good monetary benefits.
According to Payscale, the hourly remuneration of a CSR in the United States ranges between $9.93 - $19.14. Additional payment is given to those who work overtime, and the amount varies from $12.00 - $27.34. A major part of the salary is the commission earned, in most cases.
Based on that and the performance of the employees, the overall remuneration of a customer service representative lies between US $20,000 - US $38,000 annually. There are factors such as working hours, working place (call center or CSR in an office), and the working industry that contribute to the pay scale.
There has been an increasing demand in the market for efficient customer service employees lately, and it is not likely to decline in the near future. It is the goal of each and every business to increase their market share, which means, to attract more and more customers to their products and services.
Therefore, in order to retain their market share, in other words, the customers, the organizations also need people who will make sure that the customers are kept happy and satisfied. This means that the scope and demand for this job is never ending.
Also, because a customer service representative is dealing with the most important area of an organization - the consumers, jobs in the field of public relations, consumer research, customer consultancy, etc., can always be a future consideration. All in all, this job will give you an experience that will prove to be a stepping stone to a great career ahead.