become a customer service rep

What does a Customer Service Representative do?

A customer service representative deals with customers who have questions concerning products, policies, or services. They listen to the concerns or complaints of their customers and give answers and any helpful information needed to solve an issue. Those in this career may work by interacting with customers face-to-face, phone, email, or even live chat. Check out the job of a counter and rental clerk who must provide customer service each and every day.

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How to Become a Customer Service Representative

become a customer service rep

A customer service representative typically requires a high school diploma or the equivalent and after they are hired to receive on-the-job training that may last from 2 weeks to several months depending on the industry. An employer looks for candidates with good communication skills, those that interact well with people, and many like to see that a candidate has experience using computers.

In some cases, like those employed by finance or insurance industries, you may need a license by the state to work and these licenses typically require passing an exam. In certain industries, you would need to remain up-to-date with changing regulations. According to O*NET OnLine, almost 70% of the representatives surveyed held a high school diploma or equivalent while a little more than 15% held a bachelor’s degree. Less than 10% reported having taken some college courses.

Job Description of a Customer Service Representative

The specific duties of a customer service representative may vary according to by industry. However, they typically listen and respond to customers’ questions or concerns and provide answers and information about services and products. They often use a computer to make detailed notes of the customer interaction along with any action they may have taken. They would also be responsible to make profile updates to the customer’s account, such as updating an address or phone number when necessary.

Some customer service representatives may help with service problems, such as an outage if working at a utility company. Others may even provide technical support for customers having issues with a product. They may also handle product returns, cancel services, start services, or process refunds. A customer service representative uses various office equipment, computers, and telephones and is employed in many industries.

Customer Service Representative Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of the Army. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Serves as a hotel customer service clerk at a lodging property having in excess of 800 rooms.
  • Performs duties normally associated with front desk operations as a desk clerk, PBX services, reservations, activities, and security for the main desk area.
  • Duties include providing information to customers and guests on the various hotel services, shows and functions, the local installation, and the surrounding area businesses and activities.
  • Interacts with guests on a continual basis by answering and/or resolving billing questions and other concerns.
  • Sells tickets to shows.
  • Provides guest assistance such as making arrangements for personal transportation, assisting with luggage, key issues, and providing various forms of information important to the guest during their stay.
  • Resolves conflicts of a minor nature and advises supervisor of more serious and non-routine concerns for resolution.
  • Operates various office machines and equipment such as a cash drawer in order to receive payments and give change and a receipt for services provided.
  • Posts charges and payments.
  • Responsible for the accountability and safekeeping of a revolving change fund during assigned shift.
  • Cashes travelers and personal checks and secures credit card authorizations.
  • Provides communication assistance in medical and fire emergencies.

This position was posted to run 12/21/2018 until 01/31/2019 with a salary range of $21.85 to $24.28 per hour on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Customer Service Career Video Transcript

Whether they’re renting out a steam-powered carpet cleaner, receiving an antique lamp for repair, or writing up a service order for a fishing boat, counter and rental clerks help customers meet their needs for equipment and services. Counter and rental clerks receive orders for repairs, rentals, and services. They provide information and recommendations to customers, handle cash transactions, and keep records.

Rental clerks train customers on basic equipment use and safety guidelines and provide advice for their particular situation. Clerks check over equipment when it’s returned to ensure that it isn’t damaged, and remains well-maintained. Counter and rental clerks work in a wide variety of settings, including hardware stores, auto rental desks, bicycles, boats, or ski rentals, dry cleaners, and repair shops.

Part-time work is common, but some jobs are full time, and busy season hours can be more than 40 hours a week. Attention to detail is essential in this role, along with strong customer service skills and the ability to deal with conflict. There are no formal education requirements for counter and rental clerks and most training is done on the job.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Customer Service Representative.

National Center for O*NET Development. 43-4051.00. O*NET OnLine.

The video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.