Career Definition for a Customer Support Specialist
When customers have questions, complaints or suggestions about a company's service or product, they turn to customer support specialists' representatives for answers. Customer support specialists provide specific information regarding the services, products or materials offered by a company. They answer phones, provide troubleshooting information, report and analyze customers' information and needs, issue billing details and open and close customer accounts. In summary, they are the direct link between a company and its existing and potential customers.
|Education||High School Diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree in business administration|
|Job Skills||Verbal and written communication skills, thorough knowledge of product, multi-tasking.|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$33,750 (all customer service representatives)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||5% (all customer service representatives)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Most customer service specialist positions do not require an education above a high school diploma. However, many companies prefer customer service specialists to have college experience, making a bachelor's or associate's degree in business administration an appealing option. Aside from these degrees, many companies require industry-specific in-house training.
Customer service specialists must have well-developed verbal and written communication skills. They must have a thorough knowledge of the service or product and be able to describe its functions, features and details to customers. Customer service specialists must be able to respond to customer complaints, requests and inquiries in a professional and timely manner. They should have good organizational skills, general knowledge of Microsoft Office computer programs and be effective multi-taskers.
Economic and Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, customer service representatives held about 2.8 million jobs in 2016. In that same year, 14% of the employed customer service representatives worked in retail trade. According to the BLS, customer service representatives had a median salary of $33,750 in May 2018. Although many businesses are relying on the Internet and foreign companies to handle service and product support, the demand for customer support specialists is expected to increase at a steady pace of 5% from 2016-2026.
Alternate Career Options
Similar career options within this field include:
Computer Support Specialist
With varying degrees of postsecondary education, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree, depending on the position, these specialists give individuals or information technology employees advice about computer equipment and software products. A faster than average employment growth of 11% was predicted by the BLS, from 2016-2026, for this occupation that paid an annual median wage of $53,470 in 2018.
Often securing positions with a high school diploma and computer proficiency, receptionists may answer phones, use computers, provide information, schedule appointments and greet visitors, depending on the work setting. The BLS reported median earnings of $29,140 per year for receptionists in 2018. The projected average job growth was 9% for receptionists from 2016 through 2026.