Customer service representatives (CSRs for short) play an ever-increasing
role in our lives. In a very real sense, the person who helps you choose what
you want on your burger is a CSR. And the person you call when your computer
starts smoking and printing in Latin is one, too.
They are a vital link between you, the customer, and the company or organization.
A good CSR must be able to juggle several tasks at once. For instance,
the person who took your burger order talked to you, typed the information
into a cash register, talked to his co-workers and handled cash.
Multi-tasking is a huge part of a CSR's work. Sean Mahr is a CSR at a very
busy auto retailer and repair shop. "I often have one person on the phone,
one on hold, a customer right in front of me and an angry shop mechanic trying
to get out for lunch before I send him another customer," he says.
CSRs will need to talk to a lot of people. Many will be co-workers. Many
will be customers. People skills are right at the top of the list. Clear,
efficient communication is absolutely necessary for a CSR to get through the
day. You will need to take accurate notes and fill out forms and paperwork
with no mistakes.
"People call from out of town on their cell phone looking for a part,"
says Susan Jerowsky, a CSR at a dive shop. "I have to either find it for them
and ship it off or find someone who has one. I can't make a mistake."
Many CSRs don't work in stores or for companies. They work in hospitals,
government agencies and nonprofit organizations. As such, the clients and
staff they deal with can have much different, but no less challenging, requests
for them to handle.
Pressure can enter into the job in many of these positions. It may be hard
to get out for lunch or leave on time during busy periods.
CSRs have to wear many hats. With most positions, a good working knowledge
of the industry is essential. For example, a computer retailer would look
for someone with excellent people skills and a thorough knowledge of the latest
CSRs can expect to work regular hours (9 to 5) in many cases. Some businesses
have 24-hour access. In this case, CSRs would work in shifts around the clock.
Steve Wallace is a CSR at a busy computer retailer. They also provide Internet
access accounts. "Some days I'll stay past 7 at night to solve a customer's
problem," he says.
Wallace says someone with a physical disability may have some difficulty
loading computers into a customer's car or unpacking the larger components
like monitors. But most of his other work is at a desk.
Many positions require you to stand for long periods of time. "It feels
like I never sit down when it gets hopping in here!" says Mahr.
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Be the link between the customer and the company
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Customer Service Representatives
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