Phone Representative Job Description
Phone representatives interact with customers and prospects by telephone on behalf of their organization. By following company guidelines, they determine what a caller needs, provide relevant solutions, update conversation records, and sell company products and services. They most often work for marketing companies, call centers, customer service providers, and sales departments. Successful phone representatives are outgoing people with excellent listening skills who can build rapport using their professional phone voice. They are not afraid to ask questions and use tact to relieve tense situations. Phone representatives can work on a full-time or part-time basis.
Phone Representative Duties and Responsibilities
Although a phone representative’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by the company they work for, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Answer Inbound Calls
Phone representatives warmly welcome callers by greeting them and offering any needed assistance. Their job is to learn about the people on the other end of phone line and address their questions or concerns. Some phone representatives receive transferred calls or forward calls to another lead sales representative.
Provide Customer Service
Phone representatives use active listening to clarify customer information. Their job is to respond thoughtfully and accurately. When asked, they answer questions about product details or assist customers with technical issues. Successful phone representatives make sure that the people they speak with feel supported and appreciated.
Many phone representatives act as “appointment-setters” who qualify potential customers and decide their likelihood of making a purchase. For example, they may contact a prospect by phone and encourage them to submit an application. Phone representatives help speed up the sales cycle for sales representatives who follow up to close the deal.
Make Sales Recommendations
Placing outgoing calls to close sales is a common responsibility for phone representatives. For example, they may follow up with people that showed interest in a product but failed to complete an order form. When speaking with potential customers, representatives strive to meet established sales goals while still providing excellent customer service.
Perform Data Entry
When taking customer calls, phone representatives normally become aware of new information. Companies expect them to enter this updated information using the appropriate software tools and databases. Their account maintenance activities ensure that callers receive the best possible service.
Phone Representative Skills and Qualifications
Phone representatives should be energetic people with friendly attitudes and strong communication skills. Employers seek candidates with a high school diploma and one year of phone sales or customer service experience. The following skills are essential to getting the job done:
- Customer service – providing outstanding customer service is a key responsibility for phone reps who need to solve customer problems in a friendly manner
- Telephone etiquette – acting professionally and using positive manners over the phone is critical for phone representatives
- Data entry – phone representatives are expected to engage in recordkeeping and to update company accounts
- Conflict resolution – phone representatives must put callers at ease and help them solve any issues they experience
- Typing skills – fast typing ability is essential for phone representatives because they must quickly record new information from various conversations
- Interpersonal skills – the best phone representatives build lasting relationships with clients and other team members through trust and reliability
- Listening skills – active listening is a must-have skill for phone representatives
Tools of the Trade
Phone representatives use the following software and equipment in a typical workday:
- Computers (Windows PC or Mac OS)
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word)
Phone Representative Education and Training
It is common for phone representatives to have a high school diploma. Candidates with at least one year of experience in phone sales or customer service are especially attractive. However, many employers are willing train a candidate with the right attitude and willingness to learn.
Phone Representative Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly salary for phone representatives is $15.81. The lowest 10 percent of earners make less than $10.27 per hour. The highest 10 percent of earners make more than $26.12 per hour. Compensation for phone representatives varies greatly according to their industry and whether they work full or part time. Many companies offer specialized incentives, such as bonus commissions and weekly payments.
The BLS expects employment of phone representatives to grow 5 percent through 2026, which is an average rate of growth compared to all other occupations.
We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a phone representative. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage:
National Customer Service Association – NCSA is a national organization that can help you develop your skills as phone representative and become a certified customer service professional
International Customer Service Association – access free training webinars, networking events, and other professional development opportunities at the ICSA website
Customer Service for Dummies – as the ultimate guide for starting a phone representative career, this book will teach you the basics of successful selling and upselling and achieving customer satisfaction and happiness
Perfect Phrases for Customer Service – learn the perfect phrases to use on the phone to better diffuse conflicts, handle complaints, and build long-term relationships with important customers
Power Phone Scripts: 500 Word-for-Word Questions, Phrases, and Conversations to Open and Close More Sales – become an expert communicator who easily overcomes objections, achieves service metrics, and closes more sales on the phone with the powerful advice in this book
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