Customer Service Representatives

Interact with customers to provide basic or scripted information in response to routine inquiries about products and services. May handle and resolve general complaints. Excludes individuals whose duties are primarily installation, sales, repair, and technical support.

Sample of reported job titles: Account Representative, Call Center Representative, Client Services Representative, Customer Care Representative (CCR), Customer Service Agent, Customer Service Representative (CSR), Customer Service Specialist, Customer Support Representative (Customer Support Rep), Guest Service Agent, Member Services Representative (Member Services Rep)

Occupation-Specific Information

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.
  • Contact customers to respond to inquiries or to notify them of claim investigation results or any planned adjustments.
  • Determine charges for services requested, collect deposits or payments, or arrange for billing.
  • 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.
  • Resolve customers' service or billing complaints by performing activities such as exchanging merchandise, refunding money, or adjusting bills.
  • Review insurance policy terms to determine whether a particular loss is covered by insurance.
  • Review claims adjustments with dealers, examining parts claimed to be defective, and approving or disapproving dealers' claims.
  • Solicit sales of new or additional services or products.
  • 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.
  • Order tests that could determine the causes of product malfunctions.
  • Recommend improvements in products, packaging, shipping, service, or billing methods and procedures to prevent future problems.

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Technology Skills

  • Access software — Citrix cloud computing software
  • Accounting software — Fund accounting software; Intuit QuickBooks Hot technology ; Sage 50 Accounting; Tax software
  • Backup or archival software — SugarSync
  • Business intelligence and data analysis software — IBM Cognos Impromptu Hot technology
  • Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Dropbox; Google Drive Hot technology ; Microsoft SharePoint Hot technology ; Slack
  • Communications server software — IBM Domino; ShoreTel
  • Computer based training software — Padlet
  • Contact center software — Multi-channel contact center software; Timpani Contact Center; Timpani Email
  • Customer relationship management CRM software — Blackbaud The Raiser's Edge; Salesforce software Hot technology ; Salesforce.com Salesforce CRM; Telemation e-CRM; 12 more
  • Data base reporting software — SAP Crystal Reports Hot technology
  • Data base user interface and query software — Airtable; Database software Hot technology ; Oracle software Hot technology ; Yardi software Hot technology ; 6 more
  • Desktop communications software — Skype
  • Desktop publishing software — Microsoft Publisher
  • Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat Hot technology
  • Electronic mail software — Astute Solutions PowerCenter; IBM Notes Hot technology ; Microsoft Exchange Hot technology ; Microsoft Outlook Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot technology — Microsoft Dynamics GP Hot technology ; NetSuite ERP Hot technology ; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Hot technology ; Oracle PeopleSoft Hot technology ; 4 more
  • Enterprise system management software — IBM Power Systems software
  • Fax software — Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition
  • Financial analysis software — Delphi Technology; Oracle E-Business Suite Financials
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Cloud Hot technology ; Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator Hot technology ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop Hot technology
  • Helpdesk or call center software — j2 Global Communications onebox
  • Human resources software — ADP Workforce Now Hot technology ; Human resource management software HRMS; Oracle Taleo Hot technology
  • Information retrieval or search software — LexisNexis
  • Instant messaging software — GroupMe
  • Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Internet protocol IP multimedia subsystem software — Voice over internet protocol VoIP system software Hot technology
  • Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software — iShip
  • Medical software — Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS Hot technology ; Medical condition coding software Hot technology ; Medical procedure coding software; MEDITECH software Hot technology
  • Mobile messaging service software — Unified messaging software
  • Multi-media educational software — Nearpod
  • Network conferencing software — Active Data Online WebChat; eStara Softphone; Parature eRealtime; Timpani Chat
  • Network security and virtual private network VPN equipment software — Virtual private networking VPN software Hot technology
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office Hot technology
  • Operating system software — Apple macOS Hot technology ; Handheld computer device software; Microsoft Windows Hot technology
  • Point of sale POS software — Main Street Softworks Monetra
  • Presentation software — Apple Keynote; Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology ; Poll Everywhere
  • Project management software — Microsoft Teams
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Time accounting software — Kronos Workforce Timekeeper
  • Transaction security and virus protection software — McAfee; NortonLifeLock cybersecurity software
  • Video conferencing software — FaceTime; Google Meet; LogMeIn GoToMeeting; Zoom
  • Video creation and editing software — YouTube Hot technology
  • Voice recognition software — DSC Pacer Interactive Voice Response System
  • Web page creation and editing software — Facebook Hot technology ; Google Sites; LinkedIn Hot technology ; Social media sites Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Google Docs Hot technology ; Microsoft OneNote; Microsoft Word Hot technology
Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Working 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 People Outside the 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.
  • 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.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

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 orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

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.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • 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.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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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.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 55%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 17%
     
    responded: Some college, no degree requiredmore info
  • 14%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required

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Worker Characteristics

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.
  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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).

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Interests

Interest code: ESC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • 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.

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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.

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Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • 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.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • 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.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • 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.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$17.75 hourly, $36,920 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
2,923,400 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Decline (-1% or lower)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
361,700
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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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.

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