Client Service Representative Job Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in the client service or customer care representative field. Read on to learn more about career options along with skills and training, and salary potential information. Schools offering Customer Service degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Client Service Representative?

Client service or customer care representatives are professionals who represent companies and organizations in their interactions with clients and/or customers. One possible job title is retail salesperson. These representatives try to sell products to customers in retail settings. To do so, they may explain a product's benefits, give demonstrations or provide samples, depending on the type of product. Another job option is that of a customer service representative. When a customer has a question or problem about a product or service, customer service representatives listen to their concerns and find ways to resolve the issue in a way that ensures that they leave with a positive view of the company. Finally, bill and account collectors represent companies that are owed debts by past clients or customers. They locate debtors and negotiate payment plans to ensure that the full amount is eventually recovered.

Consult the following table to view the career options, skills and training required, and salary potential.

Bill and Account Collectors Customer Service Representative Retail Salesperson
Education Required High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent Usually a high school diploma
Training Required Some on-the-job training Temporary on-the-job training Several months to a year of on-the-job training
Key Skills Negotiation abilities
Critical thinking
Listening
Communication
Service-minded
Reading comprehension
Basic computer skills
Persuasion
Listening
Speaking
Average Salary (2015) $36,600* $34,560* $26,340*

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Education and Training Do I Need to Be a Client Service Representative?

A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate is the minimum education requirement for most entry-level customer service jobs. You may consider earning a certificate in customer service to receive basic training on computer applications, business telephone practices and workplace skills.

Companies seeking candidates with a broader knowledge and skill set may require you to have an associate's or bachelor's degree. Common degree programs related to this position include marketing, hospitality and retail management. You'll learn public relations skills, communication techniques and selling strategies. You'll need at least a high school diploma or GED to enroll in associate's and bachelor's degree programs.

Most client service representatives receive on-the-job training. Training typically covers company software programs and telephone systems, products and services, basic interpersonal skills and standard operating procedures. You may receive formal classroom training or be taught by an experienced coworker or supervisor.

What Jobs Can I Get?

If you prefer working over the phone, you can get a job as a billing and collections specialist, claims representative, reservations agent or technical support representative. If you would rather work face-to-face with people, you might consider a job such as a bank teller, hotel front desk agent or retail store clerk. Jobs that may require both in-person and telephone work may include medical receptionist or office assistant.

What Skills Do I Need?

As a client service representative, you would need to have good communication and problem-solving skills, such as empathy, observation and reasoning. Significant telephone and computer work is typical for this position, so developing good telephone etiquette, professional speaking and technical skills are important. Having good spelling and grammar skills are helpful when interacting with customers and staff through e-mail and other written communications.

Client service representatives usually work in fast-paced environments, so being able to multitask, adapt to changes, practice good time management and demonstrate strong attention to detail are necessary. This type of job is typically team-oriented and would require you to work well with others and practice good social etiquette.

Some positions may involve selling products and services or debt collection, so strong negotiation, persuasion and basic math skills are helpful. Being keen and perceptive can help you better identify customer needs and meet their requests.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

Most client service representatives are paid hourly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) in 2015, the mean hourly wage for customer service representatives was $16.62, and the mean salary was $34,560 (www.bls.gov). Bill and account collectors earned $17.60 per hour and a mean salary of $36,600. Retail salespersons earned $12.67 per hour and a mean salary of $26,340.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you like to work with clients and customers, you might be interested in a job as a loan processor. They interview loan applicants about their personal information and financial histories, and they assist with the preparation of loan documents. You could also consider becoming a gaming cage worker in a casino. They sell chips and tokens to players, keeping careful track of all funds and balancing the books at the end of each work day. For either of these jobs, you usually need at least a high school diploma.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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