Customer Service Consultant: Career and Salary Facts
Research what it takes to become a customer service consultant. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Customer Service Consultant?
The job title of customer service consultant can apply to various positions. Some of these consultants are similar to business or management consultants, and they're tasked with improving service at the organizations that hire them. In this role, they analyze an organization's customer service practices and make suggestions for improving efficiency and effectiveness and helping the company meet its customer service goals.
At some organizations, customer service consultants are very similar to customer service representatives. These professionals often field phone calls from customers who want to file a complaint, place an order, or need help with a product. Because they may sometimes be dealing with irate or frustrated customers, it is important for customer service representatives to have good communication and problem-solving skills. They should also be very knowledgeable about whatever service or product they are representing in order to provide the best service to customers. Those with the job title of customer service consultant sometimes oversee customer service representatives, sharing their duties but also having additional managerial tasks, like scheduling. Read the chart below for more information on how to enter this field.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's for consulting positions; high school diploma for representative positions|
|Education Field of Study||Business administration or customer service management|
|Training Required||On-the-job training for representative positions|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||14% for management analysts; -2% for customer service representatives*|
|Average Salary (2018)||$94,390 for management analysts; $36,470 for customer service representatives*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Do As a Customer Service Consultant?
Nearly every business, organization and government agency provides some level of customer care. In a consulting role, you work as a contractor to help companies implement, streamline or improve customer service departments. In this sense, you act as a business consultant who works with company management. As an external consultant, you design customer service improvement or development plans. You can expect to research a company's consumer profile, observe and review current practices and implement a new program or improve an existing one.
You could also work as an internal company employee, like a customer service representative. As an internal employee, you answer or make telephone calls, route customer inquiries, address questions, record complaints and help resolve concerns about a product or service.
What Education Do I Need?
General customer service opportunities may only require company training or a high school diploma, in addition to on-the-job training once you're hired. If you intend to work as a business consultant, a bachelor's degree in business administration or customer service management should prepare you for entry into the field. You can also pursue voluntary certification, such as that offered by the Institute for Management Consultants (www.imcusa.org).
How Much Can I Earn?
Customer service representatives in general earned a mean wage of $36,470 annually in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top earners were found in the postal service (federal government) industry, where they earned an average of $68,580 or more per year. Meanwhile, management analysts earned an average salary of $94,390 as of 2018, and the top-paying industry was residential building construction, yielding $135,820 or more per year on average (www.bls.gov).
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you're drawn to the customer service representative side of this career and you're interested in technology, you may want to work as a computer support specialist. These professionals, who may need an associate's or bachelor's degree depending on the company, perform many of the same duties as a customer service representative, except they specialize in computer software and technology equipment. They assist customers who call in with IT-related problems and help them troubleshoot the issue and solve it.
Another option is a job in sales, which also involves a great deal of interaction with prospective customers and clients. You could specifically pursue a job as a wholesale and manufacturing sales representative, which may require an associate's or bachelor's degree and involves working on behalf of a wholesale company and contacting customers to explain products and establish deals.
For those more interested in the consulting side of this field, there are numerous other business analyst careers that have the same goal of helping a company or organization improve some facet of its services or operations. Some options include financial analyst, market research analyst and operations research analyst, all of which are bachelor's-level careers.