Customer Care Representative: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for customer care representatives. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Customer Service degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Customer Care Representative?

Customer care representatives answer and resolve consumer questions and issues; they may also provide information and sell products or services. This requires listening closely to customers and addressing any complaints or concerns, as well as knowing the company and product well to explain any necessary information. Customer care representatives can also process payments, change accounts and take orders for customers. Occasionally, these professionals may need to refer to a supervisor to help resolve a customer's issue. They may also need to keep records of contact with customers and what actions were made. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a customer care representative.

Education Required High school diploma, undergraduate degree required by some employers
Training Required Most employers require on-the-job training
Key Skills Problem solving, communication, human relations, basic computer software and office systems
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%*
Average Salary (2015) $34,560*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Customer Care Representative Do?

Customer care representatives, also called customer service representatives, are often the first point of contact between a company and its clients or consumers. Your job duties as a customer care representative can vary based on the industry you work in and specific company you work for, but generally you're responsible for answering customer questions and helping resolve customer problems. In some cases, you may be able to help the customer with an inquiry yourself, but in other cases, your job may be to get customers in contact with someone else in the company who can better assist them.

Many customer care representative jobs are in call centers, but you might also assist customers face-to-face or via e-mail or another form of correspondence. You will likely spend much of your day speaking on the phone or using a computer or other technology in an office environment. Some examples of industries that employ customer care representatives include airlines, public utilities companies, insurance agencies and credit bureaus. Depending on the company you work for, your job duties may also include sales of products or services.

How Do I Prepare for This Field?

A high school diploma is the minimum requirement for most customer care representative jobs; however, you may need an undergraduate degree in some cases. Courses in business, English and computers, either at the high school or college level, may help you prepare for this field, and effective problem-solving and communication skills are also considered essential for customer care representatives.

Several certificate and associate degree programs designed specifically to train customer service representatives are available, some of which can be completed online. Such programs typically focus on human relations skills, sales, communication skills and business fundamentals. You may also learn about basic computer software and office systems.

Most companies also provide some in-house training for their customer care representatives. This training may focus on the company and the products or services it sells and the phone or computer systems it utilizes. As part of this on-the-job training, you might get a set of scripts for appropriately dealing with common customer questions or problems. In industries where products or regulations change frequently, like banking, you might need to participate in ongoing job training.

How Much Could I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a growing number of industries are specializing in handling customer service, resulting in employment growth for customer service representatives as of 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS noted an average expected growth of approximately 10% for this field between 2014 and 2024. Wages for customer service representatives vary significantly by industry, but the mean annual earnings for this field were $34,560 in May 2015, per the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Tellers, financial clerks and insurance sales agents are just a few of the related careers that require a high school diploma or equivalent. Tellers work at banks and are responsible for all of the day-to-day transactions that take place. They may deposit money, cash checks and more. Financial clerks typically handle administrative duties for an organization that deal with money and finances. They help an organization keep accurate records and perform transactions. Insurance sales agents are responsible for selling all types of insurance plans to customers. They must explain the plans and help customers decide what is best for them.

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