Customer Service Professionals: Employment Info and Requirements

These professionals can assist customers in a wide range of industries, from banking and insurance to telecommunications and retail, helping them with inquiries, handling complaints and performing simple administrative tasks. Read further to learn the requirements and benefits of this occupation.

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Career Definition for Customer Service Professionals

Customer service professionals communicate with customers on behalf of the company they work for. They can do so in person, over the phone, by email, by fax, via regular mail, or over instant messenger. Typical duties include answering customers' questions, addressing concerns about products, services, or company policies, and performing administrative tasks, such as opening and closing accounts, taking orders, receiving payments, and providing customers with refunds and exchanges.

Education High school diploma or equivalent
Job Duties Communicate with customers, answer questions, address concerns
Median Salary (2015)* $31,720 (customer service representatives)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 10% (customer service representatives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A high school diploma is sufficient for most customer service positions although some employers may require an associate or bachelor's degree. There is no specific major requirement although courses in English, business, and psychology may be helpful.

Skills Required

Customer service professionals must have excellent oral and written communication skills. Problem-solving abilities and the ability to think on one's feet are also important. Basic computer and typing skills may also be required. Those who communicate with customers in writing should have a basic knowledge of grammar and spelling. Fluency in a foreign language, such as Spanish, can be helpful in some cases.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for customer service representatives was $31,720 in May 2015. Employment is expected to grow by 10% between 2014 and 2024, with approximately 252,900 new jobs being created during that period. Call center jobs are expected to grow faster than jobs in other areas.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Computer Support Specialist

Depending on the position, training ranges from postsecondary courses to a bachelor's degree for these specialists, who assist people in the use of computers. According to the BLS, the annual median wage for this profession in 2015 was $48,620, and a faster-than-average employment growth of 12% was projected from 2014 through 2024.

Retail Sales Worker

Jobs selling retail merchandise to customers, helping them with locating products, and taking their payments for products may be secured even before earning a high school diploma. The BLS forecasts fast-as-average employment growth of 7% for these positions from 2014 to 2024, and it revealed their annual median salary as $21,780 in 2015.

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