Customer Service Representative Job Description

Customer service representatives serve as ambassadors between the companies they work for and the customers who use their services. There are customer service roles in virtually every industry, so there are many opportunities available to good representatives.

Depending on their exact role, the primary job function for a customer service representative could be resolving customer complaints, handling merchandise returns and exchanges, or answering any questions that customers might have.

Some customer service representatives work with customers in person (in retail stores, for example), over the phone (call centers), or through email (web support) Regardless of how they interact with customers, the fundamentals of the occupation remain the same: providing excellent support for the company's customers, so they remain satisfied with the company and continue using their product.

Responsibilities for customer service jobs can vary considerably depending on the position, but here are some of the most common responsibilities:

  • Accepting returned or exchanged items and applying the appropriate refund or credit.
  • Taking or canceling orders.
  • Obtaining details of complaints and taking the appropriate steps towards resolution
  • Determining the cost of products or services and setting up billing arrangements.
  • Selling additional products or services.

Work Environment and Schedule

Customer service representatives may work in many different environments, depending on the function of their job. They commonly work in call centers, banks, retail stores, and anywhere else where their role is needed. In recent years, more and more customer service representatives are able to work out of their homes.

Customer service representatives work in a very demanding occupation. They often deal with angry customers, with little or no break between interactions and limited flexibility to fix their problems. Additionally, most companies monitor all customer service activities, and hold representatives responsible for achieving quality metrics. It can be stressful, but some people thrive in the environment.

Depending on the type of customer service performed, schedules can be very inconsistent or very regular. Retail customer service representatives are often need to be flexible with their schedule and work evenings and weekends. On the other hand, call center representatives often work a more regimented schedule.

How to Become a Customer Service Representative

Most companies train customer service representatives on the job. There are rarely any formal education requirements, though a high school diploma is generally preferred.

Depending on the type of customer service performed, training can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. In industries such as banking or healthcare, representatives may be required to re-train regularly given the consistently evolving nature of the industries.

Most representatives do not need any kind of formal license. The only exceptions are those who work in industries like insurance or financial services.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 2,187,300 customer service representatives in the United States, with 95,960 new customer service representative job openings created each year.

Customer Service Representative jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Customer Service Representative Salaries

Salaries by State

Hover over your state to get an idea of what Customer Service Representatives make in your area.

How to use this salary data.

Job seekers can use it while negotiating a salary.

Employers can use it to help set appropriate wage levels while writing job descriptions.

Overall Salaries

Customer Service Representative salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most customer service representatives make between $24,200 - $39,000 per year, or $11.64 - $18.75 per hour.

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Salary and statistical data provided by the BLS.