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The customer service department fulfills an important role for an organization. Customer service is often the main point of contact for a customer, so representatives can paint the company in a positive light by providing friendly and prompt service. In some cases, the customer service department can even generate additional sales for the company. Customer service requires a great deal of patience since customers may be rude or demanding at times. The main focus of a customer service department should be to attempt to satisfy the customer's needs.
Customer service representatives handle inquires made via email, telephone or in person. They answer questions concerning products and services and provide information about company policies and procedures. Examples of common customer inquiries include questions about a billing statement, checking the progress of a shipment or asking about hours of operation.
The customer service department is usually the customer's initial resource when a problem arises. For example, if a customer is expecting a shipment on a specific date and it has not arrived, the customer will contact the customer service department to check the status. If the customer service representative cannot find the answer immediately, he may be required to conduct some research and get back to the customer with the answer.
Customer service is usually charged with the sometimes unpleasant task of handling customer complaints. Unsatisfied customers may become irate, especially if a problem cannot be resolved to their liking. The customer service representatives must handle these situations as diplomatically as possible and attempt to assist the customer while maintaining a positive image of the company.
In some companies, the customer service department also serves in a sales capacity. When a customer calls with a question or problem, the representative may attempt to sell products or services once the issue is resolved. Customer service representatives who take orders over the phone may attempt to make "add-on" sales such as product accessories or extended warranties.
Customer service representatives typically are responsible for entering data into a computer. When a customer places an order, the representative enters the information into the computer system and sends a confirmation email to the customer. If a customer calls about a problem, the representative will log the information into the computer system so that a record of the situation is on file.
Chris Joseph writes for websites and online publications, covering business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.