Similar 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)

Job Description

Customer Service Representatives work with customers to process orders, handle returns and make changes to a customer’s account. They also handle dissatisfied customers, resolve complaints, and provide information about products and services. Customer service representatives keep detailed records of customer interaction and the steps they take to resolve problems. They will refer them to a supervisor if they cannot help the customer. 

Most of a Customer Service Representative’s work is done over the phone, but they also correspond with customers via chat, email, text, and face-to-face. The duties of a Customer Service Representative differ depending on the industry they work in. The majority of Customer Service Representatives work in retail, followed by insurance and business support.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Enhancing problem-solving skills
  • Learning everything about the product or service being sold 
  • Developing interpersonal skills
  • Improving emotional intelligence
2020 Employment
2030 Projected Employment
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Working Schedule

  • Most Customer Service Representatives work full-time, but some do work part-time. They often work evenings, holidays, and weekends since these can be busy. Since call centers are generally open 24 hours, Customer Service Representatives often work shifts. 

Typical Duties

  • Provide customers with information about products or services
  • Resolve any customer issues
  • Refer any unresolved customer problems to a supervisor or more experienced employee
  • Keep records of customer interaction, including questions, complaints, and what was done to answer questions or solve problems
  • Issue refunds or make bill adjustments
  • Update customer information, including address, phone number, and payment information
  • If a product or service is sold, bill customers and collect payments or deposits
  • Request tests to find out why a product malfunctioned
  • Examine all possible causes of a customer’s complaint 
  • Review claims adjustments
  • Determine if a lost or damaged item is covered by insurance
  • Verify customer’s financial information and confirm successful transactions

Additional Responsibilities

  • Examine items for damage or flaws
  • Promote products or services
  • Notify customers of updates such as a product shipped or refund sent
  • Recommend better shipping materials and practices
Skills Needed on the Job

Soft Skills

  • Active Learning
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Monitoring Self and Others
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Service Orientation
  • Social Perception
  • Speaking
  • Time Management

Technical Skills

  • Accounting software (Intuit Quickbooks, Tax software)
  • Cloud-based access and sharing software (Dropbox, Google Drive)
  • Computer-based training software (Padlet)
  • Contact center software (Timpani)
  • CRM software (Applied Systems Vision, Salesforce)
  • Desktop communications software (Skype)
  • Document management software (Adobe)
  • Electronic mail software (Microsoft Outlook)
  • Financial analysis software (Delphi)
  • Graphics software (Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop)
  • Video conferencing software (FaceTime, Zoom)
  • Word processing software (Google Docs, Microsoft Word)
Different Types of Organizations
  • Retail Trade
  • Insurance Carriers
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Business Support Services
Expectations and Sacrifices

Customer service representatives work in various industries, so their atmospheres will also vary. If a call center employs them, it can get noisy with all the phones ringing and multiple conversations happening. This can be a stressful job, especially when being monitored by a supervisor or dealing with an unhappy customer. 

Weekends and holidays are often busy times for Customer Service Representatives. Many call centers are on-duty 24 hours, so some Customer Service Representatives may have a late night or early morning shifts. In-store Customer Service Representatives may spend most of their shift on their feet.


Current Trends

Due to the increase in automated systems, there is little projected growth for jobs in customer service over the next few years. However, there are still an average of 361,700 job openings annually for Customer Service Representatives due to job changes and retirement. 

Even with all the technological advances, there are still some things a bot cannot do, such as provide refunds to accounts. Also, some businesses choose to contract their customer service work out to call centers rather than hire their own customer service department, which still provides job opportunities for Customer Service Representatives. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger…

Customer service representatives help customers resolve problems all shift long. To do this job, they should have a friendly, upbeat personality and a lot of patience. Since they are good at solving problems, they have probably always liked figuring out puzzles or helping others devise a solution to their dilemmas. 

They likely got “talks too much” on their report card when they were younger or were voted “friendliest” or “most likely to lend a helping hand” in high school. This is not a job for shy, introverted people; therefore, most Customer Service Representatives are usually extroverts.


Education and Training Needed
  • Most Customer Service Representatives have a high school diploma or GED
  • Some Customer Service Representatives may also have a bachelor’s degree in a business or communication-related field
  • On-the-job training usually lasts two to four weeks
  • Training often includes basic customer service skills and computer software instruction
  • Insurance and financial Customer Service Representatives require more extended training, so they are up to date with the current financial regulations
  • Licensure is required in some states, particularly for finance and insurance
  • Job advancement to supervisory positions is available 
Things to look for in an university

O*Net Online has a tool that can help you find Customer Service Representative training programs by state. Scroll down to the Training & Credentials section and enter your state to look for training programs, licensure information, and certification programs. 

Several online programs offer customer service training. HubSpot Academy offers several free courses that teach customer service skills. If you’re interested in paid programs that are a little more in-depth, Alison, Service Strategies, and Pryor Learning offer affordable programs. 


Things to do in High School and College
  • Take business or computer classes that will give you experience with software programs
  • Jobs in food service and retail will give you customer service experience
  • Take courses or classes that you earn certifications in, such as the A+ Customer Care programs offered by Work-Life Balance or the Customer Service Training Course offered by GoSkills
  • Become familiar with programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Google Sheets
  • Take courses that can improve your communication skills, such as the Active Listening Skills course offered by SkillPath
  • Learn another language
  • Join a preprofessional organization like the National Customer Service Association (NCSA) or the Professional Associations for Customer Engagement
Typical Roadmap
Customer Service Gladeo Roadmap
How to Land your 1st job
  • Make sure you have at least a high school diploma or GED. The more education and training you have completed, the better your chances are of getting hired
  • Look for jobs in fields that you have an interest or experience in
  • Create a professional resume that highlights your customer service skills and experience
  • Ask a friend or editor to review your application or resume for mistakes or ways to make it better
  • Let people in your network know when you start your job search
  • Research potential employers before you interview with them
  • ZipRecruiter, SimplyHired, Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor are good places to search online for Customer Service Representative jobs in your area
How to Climb the Ladder
  • Master new skills to stay ahead of the curve
  • Try to get experience in as many areas of customer service as you can
  • Demonstrate that you can handle high-pressure situations and can resolve stressful situations
  • If your job involves products, learn all you can about the product that’s being offered 
  • Ask supervisors or managers above you for any advanced training, certifications, or courses you can take to expand your skillset
  • Ask questions and remain eager to learn more
  • Take initiative. Look things up and learn programs on your own
  • If given the opportunity to train others, do it and be sure to share all that you’ve learned
Plan B

Job growth for Customer Service Representatives isn’t expected to be great over the next decade, but things do change. If you want to explore other options, check out related occupations listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook and O*Net Online

  • Bill and Account Collectors
  • Computer Support Specialists
  • Financial Clerks
  • Information Clerks
  • Insurance Sales Agents
  • Office Clerks
  • Receptionists
  • Switchboard Operators
  • Telemarketers
  • Telephone Operator


Online Courses and Tools