Growing e-commerce activities have led to an increased demand for customer service representatives in Belgium so far this year. Analysing vacancy volumes from Jobfeed*, we noticed that the demand for customer service professionals has increased by 26% so far in 2017 compared to the same period last year.
Eline Blanc, Consultant Business Support at Walters People Brussels, talks about working in customer service and explains which 3 skills are most important to succeed.
1. Strong language skills
If you are looking to join the customer service department of a national or international company, good language skills in French, Dutch and English are first of all required. Eline: "As a customer service representative you will mostly assist customers in your native tongue, but you will also need to act as a backup for absent colleagues, whether they are French, Dutch or English speaking, in order to ensure the continued support of their customers. We have recently noticed an increased demand for German speaking representatives as well. A knowledge of German could therefore really put you ahead of the competition. If you have a knack for languages and are looking to work with your language skills, customer service is an ideal field.
2. Customer focus
As a customer service representative you are in contact with dozens of different customers on a daily basis. Whether it is to place an order, a complaint or ask a question about a particular product, customers expect a quick and easy service. "It is crucial in this field to be able to understand what customers want, listening is more important than talking. Be understanding and show empathy. Promise nothing you cannot realise," says Eline. Customer service plays an important role within each company. "No matter how well a product might sell, if customers are not satisfied with the service they are getting, they might spread negative reviews and not return. What can turn into a real nightmare for sales figures."
A customer service department is usually reachable during office hours. However, some flexibility is required when needing to act as back up for a sick or absent colleague. Is a 9-5 job nothing for you? Would you rather work early or late shifts or during the weekend? That can be an option as well. Within certain sectors such as retail, customer service departments must also be reachable in the evenings and during weekends. Eline: "Choosing to work early mornings, late nights or during the weekend has its benefits. Not only will you avoid traffic jams and be able to create time to attend to other things besides work, most companies also pay more or offer an additional bonus or other forms of compensation."
Motivated professionals can evolve to become team leaders. Eline: "In addition to supervising a team of representatives, you will manage your team's KPIs and will also be responsible for a number of major clients.” If team responsibility is not for you but you would like to continue working within the same company or sector, you could evolve by moving to another department such as sales or logistics to further build on your career.
Do you spend a lot of time on social media and like to chat via Whatsapp or Messenger? Eline: "More and more companies offer online customer service chats. Where providing support over the phone requires quick reactions, online chats allow you to take more time to think or discuss issues with colleagues before responding to customers." Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages are often managed by the customer service department who must quickly respond to questions or negative complaints posted on company pages.
Customer service representatives with 0-3 years of experience can count on a gross monthly salary between 1850 and 2500 EUR, depending on the sector. After a few years of experience, this salary can evolve to 3200 EUR gross/month. “This salary usually comes with additional benefits such as lunch vouchers or a transportation allowance and in some cases a discount on company products. If you reach your KPIs, this package will also be supplemented with a well-deserved bonus. "Growing towards a team leader function you might also receive a company car on top of an increased salary.”
Interested in becoming a customer service representative?
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*Jobfeed provides a current overview and analysis of nearly every new job posted on internet pages from Europe.