Customer Service Representatives

Description

Interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.

Tasks

  • Confer with customers by telephone or in person to provide information about products or services, take or enter orders, cancel accounts, or obtain details of complaints.
  • Keep records of customer interactions or transactions, recording details of inquiries, complaints, or comments, as well as actions taken.
  • Check to ensure that appropriate changes were made to resolve customers' problems.
  • Determine charges for services requested, collect deposits or payments, or arrange for billing.
  • Refer unresolved customer grievances to designated departments for further investigation.
  • Review insurance policy terms to determine whether a particular loss is covered by insurance.
  • Contact customers to respond to inquiries or to notify them of claim investigation results or any planned adjustments.
  • Resolve customers' service or billing complaints by performing activities such as exchanging merchandise, refunding money, or adjusting bills.
  • Compare disputed merchandise with original requisitions and information from invoices and prepare invoices for returned goods.
  • Obtain and examine all relevant information to assess validity of complaints and to determine possible causes, such as extreme weather conditions that could increase utility bills.
  • Complete contract forms, prepare change of address records, or issue service discontinuance orders, using computers.
  • Solicit sales of new or additional services or products.
  • Recommend improvements in products, packaging, shipping, service, or billing methods and procedures to prevent future problems.
  • Review claims adjustments with dealers, examining parts claimed to be defective, and approving or disapproving dealers' claims.
  • Order tests that could determine the causes of product malfunctions.

Knowledge

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Clerical
Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
English Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Persuasion
Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Work Activities

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interacting With Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Work Context

Telephone
How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Deal With External Customers
How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
Contact With Others
How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled
How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Electronic Mail
How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Importance of Repeating Same Tasks
How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
Frequency of Decision Making
How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
Spend Time Sitting
How much does this job require sitting?
Face-to-Face Discussions
How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions
How much does this job require making repetitive motions?

Interests

Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Lay Titles

Account Adjuster
Account Manager
Account Service Representative
Adjustment Clerk
Automotive Service Advisor
Automotive Service Writer
Bill Adjuster
Call Center Representative
Claim Adjuster
Claim Agent
Claim Approver
Claim Clerk
Claim Processor
Claim Representative
Claim Taker
Claims Adjuster
Claims Assistant
Claims Clerk
Claims Service Representative
Clerical Adjudicator
Client Relations Specialist
Client Services Representative
Compensation Adjuster
Complaint Adjuster
Complaint Clerk
Contact Center Specialist
Customer Administrator
Customer Advocate
Customer Care Representative (CCR)
Customer Care Specialist
Customer Complaint Clerk
Customer Contact Specialist
Customer Relations Manager (CRM)
Customer Relationship Manager
Customer Service Agent
Customer Service Assistant
Customer Service Associate
Customer Service Clerk
Customer Service Consultant
Customer Service Manager (CSM)
Customer Service Officer
Customer Service Representative
Customer Service Specialist
Customer Solutions Associate
Customer Support Manager
Customer Support Representative
Field Service Representative
Film Replacement Orderer
Gas Distribution and Emergency Clerk
Hub Associate
Inbound Customer Service Representative
Lineman Service or Work Dispatcher
Lost and Found Clerk
Marketing Associate
Member Services Representative
Membership Coordinator
Merchandise Complaint Adjuster
Passenger Relations Representative
Phone Representative
Policyholder Information Clerk
Product Consultant
Product Support Specialist
Regulatory Specialist
Return Clerk
Return-to-Factory Clerk
Service Representative
Service Writer
Telephone Service Adviser
Tire Adjuster
Trouble Clerk
Utilities Customer Service Representative
Utility Bill Complaints Investigator
Warranty Administrator
Warranty Clerk
Warranty Manager

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$14.7 hourly, $30,580 annual.
Employment (2008):
2,299,750 employees