The newly released salary guide from staffing specialist Walters People shows that one constant prevails across various sectors: the high demand for customer service professionals.
Viktorien van Loon, managing consultant and specialist in recruiting customer service professionals, elaborates on some notable trends and reveals what salary these professionals can expect in 2024.
Various sectors, one constant: high demand for customer service professionals
In Belgium, customer service professionals stay with the same employer for an average of 1.6 years, a statistic that reflects the dynamics of the country's labour market. Sectors such as IT, telecoms, software, food production, logistics, automotive, and chemicals continue to maintain a relatively stable and high demand for customer service professionals. Viktorien: "This demand peaked in February, June and October in 2023. The increase in the number of advertised customer service vacancies in October is mainly due to the buzz generated by days such as Black Friday, Cyber Week and the approaching end-of-year period."
Regional distribution of vacancies
The regional distribution of customer service vacancies in 2023 showed a significant concentration of 80% in Flanders, 12% in Brussels and 8% in Wallonia. This striking division is partly explained by the presence of numerous organisations in Flanders operating in sectors where demand for customer service professionals is highest.
Focus on soft skills
Within customer service, the value of technical skills is invaluable, as professionals must navigate an increasingly complex and digitised environment. "Employers nurture a preference for candidates with knowledge of CRM systems, ticketing systems and other platforms that optimise customer interactions. However, it is important to stress that such hard skills can often be learned within the organisation," says Viktorien.
Nevertheless, employers are placing a stronger emphasis on the human skills potential employees should possess. "Also in 2024, we expect a particular interest in customer focus, excellent communication and listening skills, problem-solving ability and self-motivation, which are considered indispensable. The ability to go the 'extra mile' and think proactively with the customer are crucial qualities that are highly valued by professionals within customer service."
Multilingualism as a tangible advantage
Multilingualism remains essential within customer service, with mastery of Dutch, French and English considered the basics. A notable trend is the growing demand for knowledge of German, which can give job applicants a significant competitive advantage. "This demand is justified by the fact that mastering the customer's language contributes significantly to a more personalised approach to customer service. Customers often experience an increased sense of understanding and satisfaction when they can communicate in their mother tongue. Learning German is therefore seen not only as a functional competence, but also as a strategic asset to strengthen customer relations and positively influence overall customer satisfaction," Viktorien explains.
The human aspect
Despite the rise of advanced technologies such as chatbots, the human aspect continues to play a crucial role in customer satisfaction. The ability of professionals to show empathy and provide personal interaction remains indispensable, even amid technological advances.
Salary forecasts for 2024
In terms of salaries within customer service, Walters People expects these to increase slightly in 2024. An entry-level Customer Service Representative will be able to expect a gross monthly salary between EUR 2,300 and 2,900 in 2024. Professionals with 3 to 6 years' experience within customer service can expect a salary of EUR 3000-3800. Those with more than 6 years' experience in the job could see their gross monthly salary rise to around EUR 4500.
"That salary very often also includes an insurance package and meal vouchers, and in some cases a mobile phone or laptop. "Employers are also increasingly concerned about the well-being of their customer service employees. This manifests itself in offering training courses and interesting career opportunities within the organisation, but also in sports activities, flexible working hours and the possibility of remote working," concludes Viktorien.
Want to know more?
For more insights into the job market and other salaries within customer service, you can request free access to Walters People's digital salary survey tool.