Customer Service Representatives: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Customer service representatives typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Training Required
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.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 5% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Advancement
With experience, customer service representatives may advance to supervisory roles.
Licenses/Certifications
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.
Median pay: How much do Customer Service Representatives make?
$32,300 Annual Salary
$15.53 per hour

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

What do Customer Service Representatives do?

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.

Careers for Customer Service Representatives

  • CSRs
  • Complaint clerks
  • Contact center specialists
  • Customer complaint clerks
  • Customer contact specialists
  • Customer relations representatives
  • Customer support representatives
  • Gas distribution and emergency clerks
  • Passenger relations representatives
  • Policyholder information clerks
  • Warranty clerks

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