According to 2009 studies, the average Customer Service Representative (often referred to as CSR) in the United States makes between $8.71 an hour and $22.11 an hour, which is a salary between $18,100 and $46,000 a year.*
Customer service representatives with no prior experience or those that work part time can expect earnings near the lower end of the spectrum. Ten percent of customer service representatives working in the United States make less than the reported $8.71 an hour while ninety percent of customer service representatives in the United States make more than $8.71 an hour, or $18,100 a year.*
The average, or median customer service representative salary in the United States is $13.62 an hour, or $28,300 a year. According to studies, fifty percent of customer service representatives in the Untied States make more than $13.62 an hour and fifty percent make less.*
Seasoned, full time customer service representatives can expect earnings near the higher end of the spectrum. As of 2009, ten percent of all customer service representatives in the United States earned more than $22.11 an hour and ninety percent of those employed as customer service representatives earned less.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Sales people or repair persons are not considered customer service representatives and therefore the customer service salary overview does not apply to individuals involved with sales or repairs.
A customer service representative is defined as someone who is employed for the sole purpose of interacting with customers. Customer service representatives usually provide information in response to inquiries about products and services. Those employed as customer service representatives can also expect to routinely handle and resolve customer complaints.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the customer service field is expected to experience faster than average growth, growing by as much as eighteen percent in the next ten years. New and expanding businesses are expected to contribute to this rapid growth as well as workers who are expected to leave this occupation, due to retirement or other reasons. It is projected that in the next ten years, approximately four hundred thousand new customer service jobs will be provided.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
A customer service representative can expect higher than average job openings when searching for a new job. Bilingual job seekers should have no problem beginning a career as a customer service representative, as there are more and more non-English speaking people living in the United States.
Studies have shown that those working as customer service representatives are not as susceptible to layoffs as workers in other occupations, in turn making them not as affected by economic downturns.
Training and Education Requirements
Most customer service representative positions require a high school diploma or GED. However, the qualifications for each customer service representative positions may vary from company to company. More and more employers are demanding a more skilled work force; as a result, more and more employers are requiring their customer service representatives to have a college or technical degree. It may prove helpful for a prospective customer service representative to complete some college level courses in business, English or business.
The majority of customer service representatives are provided with on the job training by their employer. Most employer provided training focuses on the company’s history and products. The employee can expect to be schooled on the most frequently asked customer questions, computer and telephone system overviews and basic people skills. It is not unusual for companies to require their customer service representatives to regularly update their training. However, training requirements vary company to company, industry to industry.
Customer service certifications are available. Obtaining a certification may increase the potential customer service representative’s chances in becoming gainfully employed. Certifications are typically available online or at a local community college. Certifications are often offered by the employer, as well, in exchange for a contract, or promised period of employment by the customer service representative who became certified.
Some customer service representative certifications include: SRC (Sales Representative Certification), HDI Certification (for technical support personnel) and ICB (for financial support personnel). There are many other customer service representative certifications available for a variety of fields. Interested persons are encouraged to inquire at their local community college for more information on certifications.
There are several customer service professional associations available. Some of the most popular customer service associations include the International Customer Service Association, which offers a membership, conferences and networking and the Association of Support Professionals (ASP), which offers on the job tips, networking, certification tips and statistics.
Joining a professional customer service representative professional association not only looks great on a resume but also helps to expand your professional networking community. Professional organizations can help you to obtain a new position, improve on your current position or provide tips on how to secure a promotion.
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