Summary Report for:
43-4051.00 - Customer Service Representatives
Interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.
Sample of reported job titles: Account Manager, Account Representative, Call Center Representative, Client Services Representative, Customer Care Representative (CCR), Customer Service Agent, Customer Service Representative (Customer Service Rep), Customer Service Specialist, Member Services Representative, Sales Facilitator
Also see: Patient Representatives
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- 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.
- Check to ensure that appropriate changes were made to resolve customers' problems.
- Keep records of customer interactions or transactions, recording details of inquiries, complaints, or comments, as well as actions taken.
- Resolve customers' service or billing complaints by performing activities such as exchanging merchandise, refunding money, or adjusting bills.
- Complete contract forms, prepare change of address records, or issue service discontinuance orders, using computers.
- Refer unresolved customer grievances to designated departments for further investigation.
- Determine charges for services requested, collect deposits or payments, or arrange for billing.
- Contact customers to respond to inquiries or to notify them of claim investigation results or any planned adjustments.
- Solicit sales of new or additional services or products.
- Order tests that could determine the causes of product malfunctions.
- 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.
- Review claims adjustments with dealers, examining parts claimed to be defective, and approving or disapproving dealers' claims.
- Review insurance policy terms to determine whether a particular loss is covered by insurance.
- Compare disputed merchandise with original requisitions and information from invoices and prepare invoices for returned goods.
- Recommend improvements in products, packaging, shipping, service, or billing methods and procedures to prevent future problems.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Autodialers — Autodialing systems; Predictive dialers
- Automated attendant systems — Voice broadcasting systems
- Automatic call distributor ACD — Automatic call distribution ACD system
- Cash registers
- Desktop computers
- Digital telephones — Wireless telephone systems
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Music or message on hold player — On hold players
- Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
- Phone headsets — Wireless telephone headsets
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
- Standalone telephone caller identification — Calling line identification equipment; Dialed number identification systems DNIS
Technology used in this occupation:
- Backup or archival software — SugarSync
- Communications server software — ShoreTell software
- Contact center software — Avaya software; Multi-channel contact center software; Timpani Contact Center; Timpani Email
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Avidian Technologies Prophet; Salesforce.com Salesforce CRM; SSA Global software; Telemation e-CRM (see all 15 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — AS/400 Database; Customer service knowledge generation software; Stamps.com
- Electronic mail software — Astute Solutions PowerCenter; Email software; IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions software; Microsoft Dynamics ERP; Sage MAS 200; SAP software
- Fax software — Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition
- Helpdesk or call center software — j2 Global Communications onebox
- Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer *
- Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software — iShip
- Mobile messaging service software — Unified messaging software
- Network conferencing software — Active Data Online WebChat; eStara Softphone; Parature eRealtime; Timpani Chat
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Point of sale POS software — Main Street Softworks Monetra
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Time accounting software — Kronos Workforce Timekeeper
- Voice recognition software — DSC Pacer Interactive Voice Response System
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- 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.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- 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.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Detailed Work Activities
- Execute sales or other financial transactions.
- Collect deposits, payments or fees.
- Discuss goods or services information with customers or patrons.
- Coordinate operational activities.
- Calculate costs of goods or services.
- Promote products, services, or programs.
- Maintain financial or account records.
- Provide notifications to customers or patrons.
- Respond to customer problems or complaints.
- Review customer insurance information.
- Prepare documentation for contracts, transactions, or regulatory compliance.
- Refer customers to appropriate personnel.
- Recommend packing or shipping methods.
- Inspect items for damage or defects.
- Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 85% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Electronic Mail — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 18% responded “About half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 42% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Deal With External Customers — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 34% responded “Important results.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 57% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 27% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 27% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 44% responded “40 hours.”
- Physical Proximity — 41% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|67||High school diploma or equivalent|
|6||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: ESC
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- 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.
- 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.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$15.00 hourly, $31,200 annual|
|Employment (2012)||2,363,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Average (8% to 14%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||941,600|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Customer Service Representatives . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.