When you are a recent graduate, the world is at your feet. If you would like to hold on to this feeling a little longer, then you would do well to start your career as a Customer Service Representative. After all, a range of possible career paths stretches out before you from this position.
Margaux Brisard, Senior Recruitment Consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, explains exactly what this role entails, what the growth opportunities are, and what salary you can expect.
What are the main responsibilities of a Customer Service Representative?
As a Customer Service Representative, you act as the first point of contact for customers who reach out to the organisation. Margaux: "You deal with many diverse questions on a daily basis, which makes every working day different. For example, customers may request additional information about a certain product or want to know when their order will be delivered. As a Customer Service Representative, you also have an overview of the incoming orders. Therefore, you are in very close contact with the sales team to clearly map out and align supply and demand together. Stock management and logistics coordination are also part of the job description of a Customer Service Representative."
Which education and skills do you need to become a good Customer Service Representative?
A bachelor's degree is an excellent starting point, but the key to success within customer service is good language skills. As you are not only in daily contact with customers, but also work closely with different divisions within the organisation, fluent communication skills are essential.
Obviously, as a Customer Service Representative, you need to be very customer-oriented, be a good listener and have a strong sense of diplomacy. "You will also be dealing with dissatisfied customers, who preferably want a solution to their problem as soon as possible," says Margaux. With a solution-oriented and helpful attitude, you ensure that the customer is satisfied with their order - even after a complaint. That is precisely what makes Customer Service Representative a role from which you can get a lot of fulfilment.
Of course, it can get very busy within Customer Service during certain peak periods. Think of the end-of-year period, Black Friday, ... At such times, it is important to be stress-resistant and to work closely with the team so that everything runs smoothly, both internally and towards customers. Finally, a good knowledge of MS Office is important, as the sales team will regularly request reports.
What is the current demand for Customer Service Representatives?
The number of vacancies for Customer Service Representatives remains consistently high. Especially in the logistics, automotive, chemical and food production sectors, there is a continuous demand for good Customer Service Representatives. Increasingly, we see demand for specific skills, such as a good knowledge of German. "Despite the emergence of chatbots, in which simple customer questions are quickly solved via an online application, the future of this function remains guaranteed: the human aspect within customer service will always play an essential role," says Margaux.
What are the career opportunities as a Customer Service Representative?
As a Customer Service Representative, you will work with various departments in the organisation, allowing you to gain extensive knowledge. You learn to interact with different people, how to deal with problems, how to coordinate business processes... In short: a very good training ground that lays the foundation for the rest of your career. If you have further ambitions within customer service, you can progress to a role as Teamleader or Customer Service Manager. Margaux: "However, there are plenty of other career paths possible. For example, you can perfectly evolve into a job within sales or even communication, marketing and HR."
Finally, what salary can you expect as a Customer Service Representative?
Our annual Salary Survey shows that an entry-level Customer Service Representative can expect a gross monthly salary of EUR 2000-2500. Professionals with 3 to 6 years of experience within customer service can expect a salary of 2400-3000 EUR. Those with more than 6 years' experience in the job can see their gross monthly salary rise to around EUR 3800. If you progress to a Team Leader position within customer service, you can expect a gross monthly salary of up to EUR 5,000. That salary very often also includes an insurance package and meal vouchers, and in some cases a mobile phone or laptop. "Employers are increasingly concerned about the well-being of their customer service employees. This is reflected in the availability of training courses and interesting career opportunities within the organisation, but also in sports activities, flexible working hours and the possibility of remote working," Margaux concludes.