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Customer service officers act as the face of a company and directly work with customers to answer their questions or provide additional support where needed. They work in every industry that has a customer pool. This is an entry-level position that doesn’t typically require any formal education. Candidates who work well with people while employing excellent interpersonal communication skills are good fits for this role. Many customer service officers work traditional office hours, but there are a select few who work for employers that provide around-the-clock customer support. In these cases, employees may work second or third shifts. Customer service officers report directly to shift supervisors.

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Customer Service Officer Duties and Responsibilities

Customer service officers work in a variety of different industries. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary, but there are several core tasks associated with the job, including:

Answer Customer Questions

Customer service officers are mainly responsible for answering customer questions through a variety of means, such as online chats, email, or phone calls. When a customer contacts a company, customer service officers are usually their first point of contact. They answer any questions the customer may have and then redirect them to the appropriate team or department.

Escalate Customer Issues

If customers call a company with product or service issues, the customer service officer helps escalate those problems to the appropriate support teams. They may also help resolve simple problems so the customer doesn’t need to be transferred to a different team, which often decreases customer satisfaction.

Provide General Customer Support

Customer service officers also provide general customer support. This can vary depending on the specific position but often includes helping customers who come into the company office or customers who don’t know which team to contact.

Update Customer Records

Most companies keep detailed customer records, and customer service officers are often responsible for updating customer records after each interaction with that customer. They add notes to customer records explaining what the interaction entailed and report on trends as necessary.

Assist the Sales Team

Customer service officers also assist the sales team in boosting sales and performance. This responsibility can include setting up appointments or following up with customers after their first interaction with a salesperson.

Customer Service Officer Skills and Qualifications

Customer service officers are expert communicators, and they love working directly with people. Employers prefer to hire those with at least one year of experience in a customer service field, but often hire those with little to no experience. Employers also look for candidates who have the following skills and qualifications:

  • Communication skills - a customer service officer's main skill lies in their ability communicate well with customers from different backgrounds. They can quickly change their approach to the interaction based on the customer's experiences and situations
  • Customer service - the most successful customer service officers already have experience in the field. However, those with no formal experience should still be skilled at helping people efficiently
  • Conflict management - customers often only call a company if they're frustrated or experiencing a problem with a product or service, so customer service officers are skilled at de-escalation and conflict management
  • Record management - customer service officers are skilled at managing customer records, which includes remembering the details of the interaction and any questions that require follow up
  • Patience - customer service officers exhibit a high level of patience, especially since they often work with customers who are difficult to help

Tools of the Trade

Customer service officers should be familiar with the following tools:

Commercial phone systems

Customer relationship management software (ProsperWorks, Pipedrive, Salesforce)

Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint)

Customer Service Officer Education and Training

Successful customer service officers should possess at least a high school diploma or GED. Further formal education is not required, but it does help candidates earn higher salaries or gain better growth opportunities.

Once hired, customer service officers undergo intensive customer service training, often spanning over the course of several weeks. During these trainings, customer service officers learn how to operate their employer’s specific software and phone systems and develop soft skills that help them improve customer satisfaction.

Customer Service Officer Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists customer service officers under the customer service representatives category. According to the BLS, customer service officers earn a median hourly wage of around $15. Those on the lower end of the pay scale earn as little as $10 per hour, while those on the higher end make as much as $25 per hour. Customer service officers may receive benefits packages depending on their full- or part-time status. Part-timers are usually eligible for benefits only after working for a year or more. Customer service officers typically also receive performance-based bonuses.

For the most part, the demand for customer service officers is expected to grow around 5 percent through 2026. However, those who work in call center environments are expected to experience a growth outlook of 36 percent through 2026. This explosive growth is due in part to the fact that more companies are outsourcing their customer service departments to third-party vendors.

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Helpful Resources

Check out some of these helpful resources to learn more about the role of a customer service officer and how you can prepare yourself to excel in the position:

The Help Scout Blog

this welldesigned blog offers a wealth of information for anyone interested in customer service, whether they're a seasoned veteran or brand new to the field. Covering topics like customer retention strategies, writing support emails, and creating valuable customer surveys, this blog is sure to leave you thinking more about ways you can improve your own customer service skills

Customer Service Professionals

this LinkedIn group boasts over 150,000 members and provides a lot of opportunities for new customer service officers to learn from experienced professionals. The members of this group are friendly and willing to answer questions and provide as many resources as possible to anyone looking for them

Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service

with over 700 phrases you can use in your daily routine helping customers, this book is a good way for you to improve your skills. It also covers a variety of different situations and customer behaviors to better prepare you to handle whatever comes your way

Extra Mile: 500 Customer Service Tips for Success

successful customer service officers are constantly looking for ways to improve their customer satisfaction scores, and this book can help. With a huge number of practical customer service tips, this book can help you learn more or improve your current routine. It also covers topics like conflict management and customer loyalty

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