Customer service staff members provide a valuable link between customers and the companies who produce the products they buy and the services they use.
They are responsible for responding to customer inquiries and making sure that any problems they are experiencing are resolved. Although most customer service representatives do their work by telephone in call centers, some interact with customers by e-mail, fax, mail, or face-to-face. Almost every industry employs customer service representatives, and their duties may vary greatly depending on the nature of the organization.
Many customer service inquiries involve simple questions or requests. However, some questions may be somewhat more difficult and may require additional research or help from an expert. In some cases, a representative’s main function may be to determine who in the organization is best suited to answer a customer’s questions.
Some customer inquiries are complaints, which generally must be handled per strict company policies. In some cases, representatives may try to fix problems or suggest solutions. They may have the authority to reverse erroneous fees or send replacement products. Other representatives act as gatekeepers who make sure that complaints are valid before accepting customer returns.
Although selling products and services is not the primary function of a customer service representative, some customer service representatives may provide information that helps customers to make purchasing decisions. For instance, a representative may point out a product or service that would fulfill a customer’s needs.
Customer service workers use computers, telephones, and other technology extensively in their work. When the customer has an account with the company, a representative will usually open his or her file in the company’s computer system. Representatives use this information to solve problems and may be able to make specific changes as necessary. They also have access to responses for the most commonly asked questions and specific guidelines for dealing with requests or complaints. If the representative does not know the answer or is unable to solve a specific problem, a supervisor or other experienced worker may assist.