Customer service representatives act as liaisons between the company they work for and its customers. They handle inquiries and complaints from the customers via telephone, email or in person. Since their job requires dealing with customers, customer service workers must possess strong people and communication skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage of customer service workers was $14.36 as of 2008. A variety of personal qualities can help customer service workers perform their jobs better.
A good customer service person must have the patience to work with all types of people. When a customer contacts the service department with an issue, she may be agitated or upset, or may not know how to explain the issue. The customer service representative must be able to work with the customer without getting upset herself, and must be able to remain calm so that she can obtain the necessary information to guide the customer to the best solution.
Making the Customer Feel Important
A good customer service person has the ability to make the customer feel important and not like a face-less name or number. A simple technique to use is to repeat the customer's name throughout the conversation. He can also convey to the customer that he genuinely cares about her needs by offering an apology for the customer's problem, even if the company is not at fault.
Good customer service representatives are expert listeners. While the representative may be tempted to interrupt a customer who is venting her frustration, the true root of the problem is often revealed during the customer's tirade. Listening also involves asking questions to clarify the customer's problem and showing that the representative truly understands the issue.
Willingness to Learn
Some businesses can experience rapid and frequent change, such as adding new product lines or revising their policies and procedures. The more knowledge the customer service person has about his company, the better service he will be able to provide to the customer. Therefore, he must be willing to keep up with the changes by educating himself and by taking advantage of training opportunities offered by the company.
Customer service can be a stressful line of work, especially when handling a high volume of customers or when dealing with those who are upset. A good customer service person is able to maintain a positive attitude, even when she is having a bad day. A negative attitude can be picked up on easily by the customer, which diminishes the customer service experience.
2016 Salary Information for Customer Service Representatives
Customer service representatives earned a median annual salary of $32,300 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, customer service representatives earned a 25th percentile salary of $25,520, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $41,430, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 2,784,500 people were employed in the U.S. as customer service representatives.