what is a customer service representative?

Customer service representatives help customers with processing orders and handle complaints. In this position, you provide information and answer questions related to the products and services sold by the company. You also process returns and forward complaints to other departments or supervisors. Some customer service representatives are responsible for managing other employees, especially when you move up to a supervisor position.

The role requires someone with a patient and calm demeanour. Customer service representatives are trained to deal with angry customers and acknowledge their distress while finding ways to resolve a problem. You must keep your composure while responding to customer complaints across multiple communication channels and remain empathetic. You also need to provide detailed and correct information about products or services sold by the company.

what does a customer service representative do?

The role involves keeping customer interaction records, including complaints and comments or acting as a liaison between the company and customers. You also coordinate and communicate with other department employees and prepare product or service reports. You spend a significant amount of time on computers and undergo training to work with different types of software to distribute information.

Would working as a customer service representative suit your patient and calm demeanour? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a customer service representative role.

view jobs

average salary of a customer service representative

According to National Careers, the average salary of a customer service representative is £17,000 at an entry-level position. When you have experience and additional post-secondary education, your earnings increase to £25,000 per year. Aside from the salary, you will receive overtime pay for additional hours and paid sick leave. Other benefits include a contribution to a pension scheme and annual bonuses.

how to increase the salary of a customer service representative

Since post-secondary education isn't mandatory for the role, having a certificate or diploma training improves your career and salary prospects. When you have additional qualifications, you can demand a better salary.

Working in urban and large cities also improves your salary prospects since the huge demand for customer service representatives increases the salary expectations. Besides, most employers rely on the cost of living when determining pay rates.

person wearing headphones while at work using laptop
person wearing headphones while at work using laptop

types of customer service representatives

The types of customer service representatives depend on the mode of communication with customers. Some include:

  • email customer services support: your job is to respond to emails and live chats from customers. You answer queries and assist customers with the purchase process by replying to emails.
  • social media customer service reps: you monitor a company's social media platforms and respond to queries or assist customers in making purchases.

working as a customer service representative

As a customer service representative, you interact with customers and visitors on behalf of the organisation. Let's explore the specific duties and work environments associated with the role.


education and skills

The educational path for becoming a customer service representative is:

  • college course: you can become a customer service representative by taking a college course. Complete the Level 1 Certificate in customer service if you have two or fewer GCSEs in grades 3 to 1. Alternatively, do a Level 2 Certificate in contact centre operations, which requires 2 GCSEs in grades 9 to 3.
  • apprenticeship: you can complete a customer service intermediate apprenticeship, which requires a few GCSEs, or pursue an advanced apprenticeship as a customer service specialist. You will have sufficient experience to get an entry-level position when you complete the apprenticeship.

customer service representative skills and competencies

As with many jobs, customer service representatives must be capable of working on computers and phones to create and update customer accounts. Beyond that, representatives must have the following skills and qualities:

  • listening skills: attentiveness is a primary skill to ensure you are mindful of customers and can accommodate their needs. You have to remain empathetic and be willing to help customers feel listened to during the interaction. You must take time talking to customers and understand their queries to resolve the issues.
  • patience: self-control is one of the most important skills of working in this role. You must remain calm when customers are upset. You also have to take responsibility on behalf of the company to ensure the customer is happy with the interaction.
  • problem solver: you need problem-solving skills to ensure you can find ways to resolve issues efficiently. As a customer service representative, you should use a systematic approach and be detail-oriented when finding a solution. Employers expect people in this position to be creative and resourceful and go the extra mile to help customers.
  • expecting and adapting to challenges: adaptability is another important trait when working as a customer service representative. Working daily with customers means you never know what to expect with the calls or messages you receive. Good customer service representatives send legitimate problems or complaints through the correct channels and relay information to the customer efficiently without becoming stressed or anxious. You must remain mentally flexible in responding to different people on various platforms, sometimes simultaneously.


female and male employees having a conversation at the office
female and male employees having a conversation at the office

FAQs about working as a customer service representative

Here are the most asked questions about working as a customer service representative.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.