Customer service representatives are the public face of a business, fielding questions, comments and complaints from established and potential customers. They should have in-depth knowledge of the product or service they support, along with skills in communication, conflict mediation, and knowledge of company policies and regulations.
Your Career as a Call Center Operator
For call center operators, most calls involve data entry of some sort. This involves looking up a customer's profile in a computer database and editing information while conversing with the customer. The operator must take care to satisfactorily answer the customer's questions and respond to their complaints in the manner prescribed by their company's guidelines.
Some inquiries may require thought on the part of the operator, as well as further questions concerning the nature of the problem. The operator may have to look up information for the customer while on the phone. In the event that the operator cannot answer a question, a supervisor should be available. Supervisors routinely check in on the performance of their workers by listening to recorded conversations.
Call center jobs can be demanding, as operators are usually given a new call as soon as they finish with a previous one. They strive to be as efficient as possible by satisfactorily concluding each call in the minimum amount of time. Some centers are functional at all hours of the day, so operators may have to work odd hours.
However, not all customer service jobs are in call centers. Some positions require responding to questions and complaints over e-mail, and others even involve face-to-face discussions with the customer.
Customer Service Online Degrees
There are numerous customer service-oriented training programs available through online universities. Most offer classes in general business program and with an emphasis on customer service. Upon completion of a customer service career training program, you will receive a certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree, depending on the length of the program. Graduates of these programs may find work with insurance carriers, banks, retail companies, telecommunications providers and manufacturing firms. The details of customer service positions vary greatly from job to job, as one who works at a bank might carry out the tasks of a teller, while another working at a phone company could answer questions about bills and problems with phones. Jobs in customer service may act as a springboard to higher positions within the company, particularly management and product research.
Explosive Growth Means Lots of Job Opportunities
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job prospects are excellent for careers in customer service; positions are expected grow by 25 percent in the coming years. Bilingual employees may see the most favorable job prospects. In 2007, median earnings in the field were almost fifteen dollars an hour. Earnings may be slightly higher for workers with special skills like technical support, or those with management experience.