Customer service representatives (reps) are people who interact with customers on behalf of an organization, they provide information about products or services, help resolve any customer complaints, process requests and sometimes update customer files/records. There are customer service job opportunities in almost every industry and so the roles and job descriptions vary depending on the industry or organization.
For instance, customer service reps in banks may help a customer fill out an account opening form and help resolve an issue with his debit card, while a service rep in a hotel might help guests pick out a comfortable room and resolve an issue with the bathroom heater.
Typical Work Environment
As a customer service representatives you might find yourself working in call centers, responding to customer enquiries and dealing with complaints on the telephone, via e-mail and even social media, or in business offices and other outlets interacting face-to-face with customers in banks, insurance companies, large retail stores or other places that have physical contact with their customers.
Call centers are high pressure environments and can be challenging, they are usually noisy as many people talk and type at the same time. The service rep usually has to process a large number of customer contacts, resolving complaints and responding to enquiries via a headset (for telephone support) and a computer station. Working in a call center requires that you have or develop certain skills that will help you excel in your career.
Customers expect support 24/7 and so customer service representatives work round the clock and will likely work in shifts, some weekends and even public holidays (especially in call center settings). There is usually no laid down schedule for a customer service rep as this is dependent on the organization or work environment. This career will be a great fit for people who prefer working the grave yard shifts and those who possess great flexibility.
What qualifications do I need?
The minimum educational requirement to start a career as a customer service rep is a usually a National Diploma (ND), having additional professional certifications in customer service will be an advantage. Employers usually look out for candidates who exhibit good customer service skills during the recruitment process.
When hired, additional training is usually conducted by the employer where the customer service rep is taught about the company products, services on offer, policies and how to make use of job specific tools (like CRM software).
Average Salary Range
Professional customer service representatives in entry level positions will on average earn around N1.3million per annum. As the rep gains experience the annual pay can easily average N3million and increases steadily as the individual gains more experience. These figures may vary from industry to industry.
Typical career path
Customer service reps that exceed themselves and excel in their job roles will usually rise through the ranks from fresh hire to a team leader or a supervisor. They will become responsible for handling escalated customer issues, training new reps, preparing shift reports, and conducting service quality audits.
From being a supervisor the next level is usually that of a customer service manager. Customer service managers are often responsible for developing team schedules, reviewing or implementing changes in policy, developing clear service visions, analyzing data and generating meaningful reports, continually seeking ways to improve the customer service quality and managing the employee life cycle from interviewing, and hiring to conducting appraisals and handling employee terminations amongst others.
Job Outlook for Customer Service Reps
According to the US bureau of statistics, employment of customer service representatives is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations and it indicates a strong market for customer service representatives. In Nigeria there are lots of job openings for customer service reps every week, and it is likely to stay that way for years to come.
Although customer service can be challenging, it is also very rewarding and it makes a great career choice for those who enjoy interacting with people and being of help to others. A career in customer service will expose you to a variety of experiences as positions are available in almost every sector of public and private industry.
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Customer service will enable you to also develop very important social skills which come in very handy both in professional and personal interactions. Companies like Hermithouse design, Coscharis Group Limited, Holborn Academy, Thinkers Gate, Purple Pulp Limited and hundreds more are searching for customer service representatives.
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