Customer Service Representatives
Exploring this Job
Explore your interest in customer service by getting a job that deals with the public on a day-to-day basis. Talk with people who work with customers and customer service every day; find out what they like and dislike about their jobs. There are other ways that you can prepare for a career in this field while you're still in school. Join your school's business club to get a feel for what goes on in the business world today. Doing volunteer work for a local charity or homeless shelter can help you decide if serving others is something that you'd enjoy doing as a career.
Evaluate the customer service at the businesses you visit. What makes that salesperson at the Gap better than the customer service representative you talked with last week? Volunteer to answer phones at an agency such as a nonprofit organization in your town or city. Most receptionists in small companies and nonprofits are called on to provide customer service to callers. The nonprofit organization might be especially open to the help, and you will get a firsthand look at customer service.
Customer service representatives work in a variety of businesses, but one thing is common—the customer. All businesses depend on their customers for revenue, so customer service, whether handled internally or outsourced to a call center, must see that customers' needs are met and that customers are satisfied. Customer service representatives must listen and understand what customers want and then find solutions.
Some customer service representatives do most of their work on the telephone. Others may represent companies in the field, where the customer is actually using the product or service. Still other customer service representatives may specialize in Internet service, assisting customers over the Web via e-mail or online chats, or even through social media.
Their work usually involves reviewing customers' account records to see the history of transactions, making sure that appropriate charges are applied for products or services. They collect deposits and payments and set up billing plans for customers. They review merchandise shipping and delivery records and invoices to help resolve customers' disputes. They may also review insurance policy terms to make sure insurance covers loss.
Not all customer service representatives work a varied schedule; many work a traditional daytime shift. However, customers have problems, complaints, and questions 24 hours a day, which is why many companies staff their customer service positions for a longer number of hours, especially to accommodate customers during evenings and weekends, and during holidays also.