How to be a customer service agent

How to be a customer service agent

Customer service representatives help customers with complaints and questions, give customers information about products and services, take orders, and process returns. By helping customers understand the product and answering questions about their reservations, they are sometimes seen as having a role in sales.

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Customer Service Representative Job Description Template

We are hiring a Customer Service Representative to manage customer queries and complaints. You will also be asked to process orders, modifications, and escalate complaints across a number of communication channels. To do well in this role you need to be able to remain calm when customers are frustrated and have experience working with computers.

Customer Service Representative Responsibilities:

  • Maintaining a positive, empathetic, and professional attitude toward customers at all times.
  • Responding promptly to customer inquiries.
  • Communicating with customers through various channels.
  • Acknowledging and resolving customer complaints.
  • Knowing our products inside and out so that you can answer questions.
  • Processing orders, forms, applications, and requests.
  • Keeping records of customer interactions, transactions, comments, and complaints.
  • Communicating and coordinating with colleagues as necessary.
  • Providing feedback on the efficiency of the customer service process.
  • Managing a team of junior customer service representatives.
  • Ensure customer satisfaction and provide professional customer support.

Customer Service Representative Requirements:

  • High school diploma, general education degree, or equivalent.
  • Ability to stay calm when customers are stressed or upset.
  • Comfortable using computers.
  • Experience working with customer support.

Customer Service Representative FAQs:

What is a customer service representative?

A customer service representative supports customers by providing helpful information, answering questions, and responding to complaints. They’re the front line of support for clients and customers and they help ensure that customers are satisfied with products, services, and features.

What are the duties of a customer service representative?

Customer service duties and responsibilities generally include answering phone calls and emails, responding to customer questions and complaints, and walking customers through basic troubleshooting or setup processes. In the case of a sales customer service representative, customer service duties and responsibilities will include selling products and services to clients and processing payments.

Where can I find customer service representatives to hire?

Try looking at free job posting sites. Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster are great for spreading the word about your job.

Can I customize the CSR job description?

When you advertise a customer service representative job, you should include details about the position of your company. Feel free to add your own customer service representative duties to our list or edit our customer service agent job description to include the qualities and skills you’d like in your next hire.

Where can I find interview questions for a customer service representative?

After you have created a CSR position description, take a look at our customer service representative interview questions.

How to be a customer service agent

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As you may be aware, competent call center customer service agents are hard to find. And it’s no wonder, as dealing with the needs of customers can be a daunting task. In order to be the best customer service agent, they must have the right personality, skills, and adequate training. Because customer service directly impacts revenue and how your company is perceived, building the best customer support team should be a top priority.

This article will cover the traits you should be looking for when hiring new customer service agents. It will also cover those that you should emphasize when training your team.

Patience with the Customer

Perhaps the primary trait you should foster with every customer service agent in your company is patience. Being able to handle the pace of each customer’s unique situation can lead to a positive customer service experience. This is especially important when callers may be irate, confused, or unknowledgeable. Those at your inbound call center should know that each customer simply wants their problems solved in the most efficient way possible. Unclear issues should be explained in a level-headed manner without assuming that a customer’s negativity is in any way a personal attack. To develop patience, part of every customer service agent’s call center duties should be focused on resolving problems with empathy.

Clear Communication

Part of being a good customer service agent is clearly communicating what callers are trying to get across and responding in ways that ultimately make sense to each caller. This includes company protocol, grasping the issue at the heart of the call, and troubleshooting technical aspects beyond their grasp. This is especially important for tech-heavy industries, where simple definitions and explanations can be used without delving into jargon and complexity. However, when the occasion calls for it, your customer service agents should be able to explain more advanced concepts that are understandable for all levels of comprehension.

How to be a customer service agentSource: Stockphoto.com – O# 100062207713 ID#100186088462

A Positive Attitude

Moods are infectious. Therefore, having your customer service agents focus on projecting a positive outlook and looking on the bright side is paramount to success. This can be difficult when customer service agents encounter constant negativity, especially when customers despair at their problem, or maybe at their wit’s end. First, part of call center duties should include the ability to uplift callers and gradually shift their thinking as inquiries are solved. Try to see part of the job description as being a well-spring of positive emotions. For instance, you may want to train your agents to take callers on a journey towards happiness; at first, a caller may be upset, but as the problem nears resolution, a positive outcome can be reached – even better and more efficiently than a caller realizes. In a fast-paced world where callers may feel that it is them vs. the world, encountering a positive, smiling voice on the other end of the phone can be a breath of fresh air. This is something that reflects well on your company’s public image.

Be Creative with Your Solutions

Customer service agents should be trained and rewarded for using their creativity when it comes to problem-solving. Being able to provide customers with uniquely tailored solutions to their problems and understanding the frame of mind that they present requires the ability to think beyond standard procedures. Encourage your customer service agents to come up with their own ways of troubleshooting problems. For instance, if a customer continually has problems with their billing, a customer service agent can suggest ways that fit how the caller prefers to do business. This, of course, requires that your customer service agents have a deep knowledge of your business, as the more you know, the easier it is to see a wider range of options for any given obstacle. When these dilemmas present themselves, agents can devise solutions that may call for out-of-the-box thinking when particular issues arise.

There are no formal education requirements to become a virtual customer service agent, but most have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Because this is a remote position, employers usually prefer candidates with some customer service experience. You must demonstrate a courteous demeanor and a problem-solving attitude. Solid technical and writing skills are important; much of your work requires you to respond to email questions or chat on a virtual platform with customers, so you must know how to use those kinds of applications to have a smooth transaction with the customer. To be a virtual customer service agent, you need to be proficient in basic computer programs and reliable phone and internet access.

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Providing outstanding customer service naturally starts from finding and hiring the right employees for your customer support team. While perfection can hardly ever be achieved – some people just happen to possess the qualities that make them more suited for the role of a customer service representative, while others simply don’t. Before we jump into exploring what makes a fantastic customer service employee, here are the key questions you should ask before hunting for a perfect support agent:

  1. What is the ideal support personality for YOUR company culture?
  2. What hard skills are absolutely necessary for the job?
  3. What soft skills are ‘must-have’ and desirable to have?
  4. What exactly will the agent be responsible for?

Having those questions answered in detail will give you a better understanding of what you should be looking for in your ideal candidate. But beyond that, there are certain characteristics and qualities that set excellent customer service employees apart. While customer service skills can be improved though training and mentoring, it takes tremendous effort and motivation to change natural behavior. That’s why identifying the following traits in potential candidates might be even more important than a certain skill set.

High Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (referred to as EQ or EI) is a term created by two researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – and popularized by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name. Basically, EQ means the ability to recognize, understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Daniel Goleman suggested that there are five key components critical to emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness – recognizing and understanding your own moods and motivations and their effect on others.
  2. Self-regulation – the ability to control disruptive impulses, to suspend judgment and to think before acting.
  3. Internal motivation – a passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status -which are external rewards.
  4. Empathy – the ability to understand another person’s emotional reaction.
  5. Social skills – identifying social cues to establish common ground, manage relationships and build networks.

“How customers feel when they interact with an employee determines how they feel about the company itself. “ – Daniel Goleman

Customers’ emotions aren’t one-size-fits all. Being able to recognize and understand other people’s feelings, moods and reactions is a crucial element in building successful, meaningful relationships. If this element is missing, it will make it hard for a customer service rep to make a connection with a customer. People with higher emotional intelligence are also better at understanding their own psychological state and are able to manage stress effectively.

Hiring tip: One of the key questions to ask on an interview to reveal a candidate’s real level of emotional intelligence is ‘Tell me about a time you received negative feedback from your boss. How did that make you feel?’ Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident, open-minded and are well-equipped to handle and positively utilize critical feedback without letting it damage their self-worth. While people with low emotional intelligence typically get offended or defensive when presented with tough feedback. It should not be hard to identify the two based on the answers.

Positive Attitude

Genuinely positive-minded people generally tend to look on the bright side of things. In terms of customer service, it means that they are more likely to:

  • Be friendly and more engaged with customers
  • Put in extra effort to deliver WOW service experiences
  • Get along well with other team members
  • Take on challenges that others might try to avoid

On top of that, positive attitude helps to beat job-related stress. In this digital age when almost any information can be easily found online, very few people would contact customer support to inquire about products or services. In most cases support agents have to deal with angry customers and their frustration. In fact, this is an inescapable part of their day-to-day operations, and it would be nearly impossible to remain calm, professional and effective without being able to maintain a positive attitude.

Hiring tip: When interviewing candidates for customer service positions, make sure to look for those who demonstrate a positive outlook and enthusiasm for the role and the company they would soon be part of. There might be dozens of interview questions to ask in order to test a positive attitude. One of them is asking candidates to explain their motivations in choosing to join and leave companies they’ve worked for, including their current employer.

Adaptability and Flexibility

As today’s consumers have become much more demanding than ever before, customer service agents need to be ready to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and client requests, handle multiple service interactions at the same time, have high typing speed on web chat, switch channels, and the like. A readiness to play it by ear when necessary is crucial for providing efficient service without feeling overwhelmed. Easily adaptable and flexible customer service reps are also more likely to:

  • Be able to multitask efficiently
  • Be willing to take on new tasks
  • Show willingness to learn new processes, systems, technologies
  • Be comfortable with erratic work schedules

Hiring tip: When interviewing potential candidates, look for those who demonstrate they have taken on new responsibilities in their past roles, or have shown themselves to be flexible in any other ways. Apart from that, seek those who show a true desire to constantly learn something new and improve their skills. Asking a question ‘What skill or expertise do you feel like you’re still missing?’ will help to identify those who truly want to get better at what they do and the ones who think they already know it all.

Passion for Helping People

Passion for helping others may not be everything required to provide outstanding customer service, but it certainly is one of the key things to look for in a potential candidate. When you go into a pet store, you naturally expect the people working there to love animals. Just in the same way, frontline agents dealing with customers should be passionate about customer service and helping people. Without passion, the experience is emotionless, for both employees and customers.

Hiring tip: Don’t look for someone who is just searching for a temporary job, look for someone who wants to build a career in customer service. Ask questions like ‘What first drew you to work in customer service?’ and ‘Why should we choose you over someone else?’ Besides, a passion for service goes hand-in-hand with a personable attitude and friendliness. A candidate who smiles, looks you in the eye and acts pleasantly during an interview will likely be welcoming and helpful to customers.

These qualities and personality traits that would make the best customer-focused employees are hardly ever listed on resumes – they are rather to be spotted when talking face-to-face with potential hires. Which of them do you consider the most important and what else would you add to the listed above? As always, comments and feedback are a much appreciated!

Provide Support is a leading customer service software provider, offering live chat and real-time visitor monitoring tool for businesses

How to be a customer service agent

Customer service is a critical part of your small business. Based on this, it’s incredibly important to hire the right people for the job. Your customer service team will ultimately be the face of your company and the main point of human contact with your customers. Excellent customer service is the key to loyalty, retention, business growth and profits.

In other words, your customer service reps are your business’s secret weapon. Just have a look at some of the data:

  • 81% of companies with strong competencies for delivering an excellent customer experience are outperforming their competition. (Peppers & Rogers Group)
  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. (McKinsey)
  • 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. (Harris Interactive/RightNow)
  • 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service . (American Express)

It’s clear that delivering exceptional customer service is paramount to your business’s success. And training your reps to develop the right skills is the first step to getting there. Here’s where you should focus your efforts:

1. Problem-Solving Skills

The number one skill you need to excel in customer service is problem-solving. Every other part of the job is somehow related to problem-solving abilities.

Ultimately, a customer service rep’s job is to keep your clients happy. That often includes navigating through a complex set of issues and problems to find a sufficient solution.

2. Clear Communication

Your team will have a hard time solving a customer’s problem if they can’t communicate the solution clearly. However, clear communication isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Effective correspondence means being able to put yourself in the client’s shoes and using concise explanations to get to a solution as quickly as possible.

Often, that means cutting out the jargon in favor of language that even the non-technical can understand.

In addition to communicating well with customers , your customer service reps will need to be strong communicators with your team. This means following processes and protocols for entering information into your help desk software or CRM.

3. Friendly Attitude

People hate to be treated like a number. The majority of people prefer to interact with a human when faced with issues. However, in today’s fast-paced society, customers are often seen as numbers on a spreadsheet.

The ability to stay genuine and show clients that they really matter to your business can make a whole world of a difference in their customer experience.

4. Empathy

We touched on this already. A stellar customer service rep can put herself in the customer’s shoes and understand where frustrations come from.

Empathy is necessary to offer the right solution. Often when people complain they really just want their problem to be acknowledged and to see that you care. Being empathetic can ease frustrations and maintain your brand’s reputation.

5. Business Acumen

This might be a bit surprising since customer service usually has nothing to do with making sales. Customer service is a business role though. While you aim to solve a customer’s issue and be their advocate, at the same time, you represent the business interests of your company.

Solving a customer’s problem means finding a compromise between the two.

6. Product/Service Knowledge

The best customer service representatives have deep knowledge of how your product (or service) works. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than having an issue and ending up on the phone with someone who doesn’t understand their problem.

This doesn’t mean that your customer service team should understand the inner workings of your product as well your technical team. However, their knowledge of it should exceed that of its everyday user.

7. Strong Time Management

Your customer service team will likely deal with multiple customer tickets at one time. To make everyone happy will require a great deal of organization and superb time management skills.

With that said, make sure your employees aren’t spread so thin that they become robots checking customers off their list.

There’s a fine line between excessive and appropriate customer service efforts. The customer service reps you want on your team will possess all of these skills and become one of the most important parts of your business’s customer retention efforts.

If you like meeting people from all over the world, and you want to work in a fast-paced environment such as an airport, then becoming an airline customer service agent may be an excellent career choice for you!

Oh yes, and just to add icing on the cake, airline customer service agents usually get big discounts on flights!

So, let’s figure out how you can break into this field! You’ll need to know what employers look for in candidates, and you’ll probably want an idea of what you’ll actually be doing, where you could be working, and what you could earn.

All of the information you’ll need to get started in this career is provided below!

Educational Requirements

You aren’t likely to need post-secondary education if you want to become an airline customer service agent. Employers typically only require that you to have a high school diploma, or its equivalent.

Because of the international nature of this job however, pursuing post-secondary coursework in certain areas can go a long way towards helping you get hired, as well as helping you provide better customer service to travelers once you’ve been hired. Such areas may include travel and tourism, language studies, communication, and geography.

For example, many airlines prefer to hire customer service staff that can speak a second or third language. They also may prefer to hire agents with knowledge in geography, or those who are proficient with computers.

With customer service being the number one priority of airline customer service agents, your level of skill in the above-mentioned areas can also be a determining factor in your pay grade.

Airline Customer Service Agent Job Description

As an airline customer service agent (also known as airline ticket agent), you would be responsible for helping customers book flights with the airline that employs you. This would involve informing them of available flights, seating, dates, times, prices and any other special considerations.

You would play an instrumental role in disseminating information, assisting customers, and providing a human face to your airline.

General Job Duties of This Profession

Your duties and responsibilities as an airline customer service agent may vary from one airline to another, although in general, you would be responsible for:

• Providing information over the phone, electronically or in person regarding routes, schedules and fares

• Processing passenger flight reservations and issuing tickets

• Guiding passengers towards security gates

• Preparing boarding passes, checking and tagging baggage, and announcing flights

• Keeping accurate customer records

• Helping customers cancel and re-book their flights

• Communicating with flight crew on the ground and using ground to air radio

• Coordinating with other airport vendors regarding specific flight information (for example, fueling and catering services)

Typical Work Environment

Work Setting: As a customer service agent for an airline, you would work in an airport, and mainly work at a check-in desk. You may be required to relocate to a different airport, depending on the needs of your employer.

Work Schedule: Because airports most often operate 24 hours a day, you would normally work within a shift system. For example, you may work 4 days on and 4 days off, on a rotating schedule of days and nights. Your shift may include workdays that begin as very early, as well as those that end very late. It would also likely include working on weekends and during holidays.

Working Conditions: If you enjoy helping people sort out problems with travel arrangements, and you enjoy meeting people from across the world, you may find great satisfaction in this work. It can become quite stressful however, as on occasion, you will have to deal with irritated, tired, and frustrated travelers.

Average Salary Levels

The salary level you could earn as an airline customer service agent is typically based on the following factors:

• The size and type of the airline you work for

• Your level of experience and competence

• Any special skills you have, such as a second or third language

• Whether or not you receive shift work premiums

In addition to your salary, you could receive other forms of compensation. For example, many airlines offer their customer service agents heavily discounted flights, provided the agent has been an employee of the airline for a specified period of time.

Airline Customer Service Agent Salary U.K.: According to the National Careers Service, starting salaries for airline customer service agents in the U.K. are between £12,000 and £14,000 a year. Salaries for experienced agents are between £15,000 and £20,000 per year.

Airline Customer Service Agent Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of Americans working in the Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks occupational group is $34,710 per year.

Please Note: The above salary figures are only meant to serve as a guideline

How to be a customer service agentWritten by NexRep

How to be a customer service agent

Tip #1: Empathy over Apathy

The simplest and most useful strategy for dealing with customers, whether they’re polite and friendly or irritated and brusque, is to imagine yourself in their position. What would you want in a customer service representative? What would be frustrating or counterproductive? Most frequently, putting yourself into the mind of the customer helps you to access the needs and desires of the customer, and makes your interaction more efficient and pleasant.

Tip #2: Apologies and Gratitude

Taking ownership of what has gone wrong–even when you, yourself, were not responsible for the flaw in the product–will give the customer the sense that they are respected and understood. Apologizing in a simple, direct manner from the get-go will give the customer the sense that you are on their side, and that the company they’re dealing with has enough humility not to cover over a mishap. Similarly, saying thank you–whether it be for their time and patience, or for their friendliness and use of the product–goes a long way in fostering a friendly connection with the customer.

Tip #3: Excuses versus Explanations

When something has gone wrong in a customer’s use of a product or service, they’re likely to get frustrated in the process of fixing this wrong. Whatever has occurred has not only gotten in the way of their use of the product or service, but it has interrupted their day and forced them to spend time on something they wish they didn’t have to think about. So, with that in mind, it is important to remember that while explaining the root cause of a problem in precise, direct language is useful, making excuses for the problem is likely to annoy the customer and give them the sense that their time is being further wasted. If you aren’t sure whether you are explaining or making excuses, your best tactic is likely to focus on creating a solution to the problem instead of fixating on the problem itself. Customers will be grateful for this efficiency.

Tip #4: Learning the Product

Closely related to knowing the difference between an explanation and an excuse, you should try to learn as much about the product or service you’re dealing with as possible. This way, when a customer mentions a detail about the product in passing, you’re familiar with the product enough that the detail is not beyond your comprehension. Customers who are upset or frustrated are more likely to calm down if they get the sense that the person they’re dealing with is deeply familiar with the product itself and so are well-prepared to help them. This makes for a friendlier and more productive phone call.

Tip #5: Making the Customer Feel Heard

Once a customer has finished describing the problem they’re dealing with, repeating back a quick and clear summary of the problem will immediately establish your expertise to the customer and will instill faith that they are going to be taken care of. If their problem is complex, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions–these too will make the customer aware that you’re really present and listening. Taking notes while on a call can help you remain present and actively listening, and will ensure that you hear everything the customer needs.

Tip #6: Asking for Feedback

Right along the same lines as listening closely, asking for feedback at the end of a call gives the customer a sense of control and provides you with the tools to improve your customer service techniques with every call. Be sure to use direct language along the lines of, “If you don’t mind my asking, is there anything I could have done differently today that would have made your experience better?” By gathering this kind of information, you will soon know tips and tricks specific to the product you’re dealing with and the demographics you’re speaking to which will set you on the right course for superb customer service.

Like providing customer service and want to work from home as an independent contractor? Join the NexRep Marketplace today!

How to be a customer service agent

The passenger service agent’s role is vital to the efficiency of airline and airport operations and they are very much in the frontline of customer service. They make sure that passengers and baggage are onboard the right aircraft safely and at the correct time. Passenger service agents are employed either directly by the airline or by a ground handling company at the airport. Their work can be demanding and the ability to work under pressure is essential. They may also typically have to deal with disruptive passengers.

What is the role of a passenger service agent?

The main duties of a passenger service agent are:

  • Checking in passengers and their baggage
  • Printing boarding passes
  • Dealing with passenger enquiries
  • Making passengers aware of restrictions and regulations
  • Weighing baggage
  • Helping passengers with reduced mobility and unaccompanied minors
  • Coordinating with the boarding gate staff

Some tasks that you will be required to do are:

  • Administration as appropriate
  • Providing luggage labels
  • Taking fees for excess baggage
  • Service recovery
  • Escort passengers through immigration and customs or those who have a connecting flight

Basic requirements and qualifications

Passenger service agents should be at least 21 years old and have a good high school education including maths and English GCSE grade C or equivalent. Fluency in English is essential and one other language is preferred. Previous customer service experience is desired and IT skills are useful. A driving license is necessary. A certificate or diploma in customer service or aviation operations can be an advantage.

Good skills and qualities that a passenger service agent should have are:

  • Customer service skills
  • Be calm under pressure
  • Teamwork
  • Cultural awareness and flexibility
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Motivation and enthusiasm
  • Patience and diplomacy

How to apply

You can apply for a passenger service agent position through an airline or airport careers website or vacancies are advertised locally and online.

Training

You will normally attend a 4-week training course covering the airport, security and the check-in system as well as customer service essentials. Manual handling and first aid may also be included. Airport emergency procedures and dangerous goods will also be covered.

Hours, salary and benefits

Passenger service agents work shifts and can work any time day or night. Each shift is usually 8 hours, 5 days or nights a week and overtime is often available.

Salary is made up of basic plus overtime and bonuses based on performance.

Minimum PA

Maximum PA

Passenger service agent – Entry-level

Passenger service agent – Experienced

Other benefits may include uniform and laundry expenses as well as annual leave of 30 days. If working for an airline, you may also receive reduced rate travel with the airline.

Future ppportunities

After gaining some experience in the role, you may wish to progress to passenger services supervisor or passenger services manager. You can also consider working as a dispatcher or cabin crew.