Customer Assistant Job Description
Customer assistants speak with customers in person and over the phone to address complaints, answer questions, and collect money on overdue accounts. Call centers, collection agencies, insurance companies, financial centers, retail stores, and companies that service a high volume of customers hire customer assistants for full- and part-time work. Customer assistants generally work daytime business hours, though this varies based on the hiring company. Customer assistants work directly under managers as assigned, usually as part of a larger team of customer assistants.
Customer Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Job duties for customer assistants vary widely based on their industry and the needs of the hiring company. However, there are several core duties that are the same for all types of customer assistants:
Answer and Make Phone Calls
Customer assistants receive incoming calls and make outbound calls to customers.
Resolve Customer Problems and Complaints
Customer assistants provide answers to customers’ questions and address the problems and complaints they have. This includes providing technical support, explaining how products work, and resolving issues for customers who are unhappy with their products, services received, or the amount they were billed.
Maintain Customer Records
Customer assistants record information in customer files, keeping these records up-to-date regarding communication, resolved problems, paid bills, and other relevant customer account information.
Customer assistants set up payment schedules with customers who have yet to pay their bills and reach out to customers to collect money on past due accounts.
Keep Work Areas Clean
Customer assistants keep their own work areas clean and organized. They also keep customer areas looking neat and attractive.
Train New Staff Members
Customer assistants provide basic training to new staff members to show them how to address customers properly and how to manage customer problems and related issues.
Customer Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Customer assistants have strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to remain calm under pressure. Employers look for customer assistants who display the following skills:
- Customer service – customer assistants interact with customers on a daily basis, which requires them to have strong customer service skills and experience
- Communication skills – customer assistants have good communication skills that allow them to actively listen to customer problems and speak clearly and simply to relay sometimes complex technical information
- Problem-solving skills – customer assistants make decisions to solve customer problems and address complaints, so employers seek professionals with excellent problem-solving abilities
- Data entry – customer assistants need at least basic data entry skills that allow them to accurately key information into databases and digital customer files in order to maintain correct customer records
- Management – leadership skills are essential for customer assistants, who provide basic training to other staff members
Tools of the Trade
Customer assistants work regularly with the following computer software programs:
- Sales software (POS programs)
- Accounting software (spreadsheets, QuickBooks)
Customer Assistant Education and Training
Customer assistants must have a high school diploma or GED to pursue this career path. Employers are more inclined to hire customer assistants with past work history in a customer service role or within a customer-oriented job of some type.
Customer assistants receive training materials and on-the-job training sessions under the supervision of a manager. This training period allows customer assistants to become familiar with company procedures and policies, practice resolving customer issues, and learn to manage customer accounts properly. The training period varies by company and industry but typically ranges from one to four weeks.
Customer Assistant Salary and Outlook
Employment data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows customer service representatives earn a median pay of $15.53 hourly, or $32,300 annually. Customer service representatives and customer assistants perform many of the same job tasks, and in some companies the titles are interchangeable. The BLS estimates that jobs for customer service representatives will rise 5 percent by 2026.
Full-time customer assistants receive basic health insurance benefits that do not typically include dental and vision coverage. In retail- and collection-oriented companies, customer assistants may also receive monetary bonuses for meeting company profit goals and quotas.
Use these resources to find job opportunities and learn the skills and strategies that customer assistants need to succeed in this career:
Customer Service Training 101: Quick and Easy Techniques That Get Great Results – learn the basics of delivering great customer assistance with this in-depth guide that serves as a crash course for all customer service professionals who provide service face-to-face, over the phone, and online
Customer Service Institute of America – CSIA maintains an up-to-date blog that offers frequent content for customer service professionals in all industries. This website also provides a newsletter to keep professionals updated on important information and an events calendar of upcoming customer service seminars and similar gatherings
Extra Mile: 500 Customer Service Tips for Success: Tools to Attract, Satisfy, & Retain Even the Most Difficult Customer – this book contains hundreds of tips for customer assistants and customer service professionals of all types, including information about providing service online, avoiding conflict with customers, and satisfying customer needs
The Magazine for Customer Service Managers & Professionals – CSM provides constantly updated content for customer service professionals, particularly those in a leadership role, as well as career opportunities and a forum for customer service professionals to connect and communicate with each other
Customer Service Skills for Success – learn all the aspects of delivering great customer assistance with this book, which is full of examples of real-world customer issues and techniques for managing customer problems, as well as helpful examples of common situations customer service professionals face
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