According to Microsoft's State of Global Customer Service survey, 95% of respondents stated that customer service is an important factor when it comes to choosing a brand, and 61% noted that they had switched brands due to poor customer service. These numbers confirm that customer service is crucial in shaping the user experience. That is why companies across all industries need skilled customer support representatives.
Today we will discuss what customer support specialists do, how much they earn, and the qualifications you need to work in customer service.
Job Description of a Customer Support Specialist
A customer support specialist or a customer service specialist functions as the first point of contact for customers. They use in-depth knowledge of the company's products and services to handle customer inquiries via phone calls, email, social media, or live chats. A customer service specialist answers questions, provides guidance on using product features, troubleshoots issues, and resolves complaints. If they are not able to find a solution for a problem, a customer support specialist escalates the issue to the appropriate department.
Customer Support Specialist Responsibilities
Although a customer service specialist's daily duties may vary depending on the industry, company size, or nature of the products, they usually include the following:
- Answer customers' questions regarding product features, billing, order status, etc.
- Address customers' comments, suggestions, or complaints to ensure customer satisfaction.
- Investigate and escalate more complex issues when necessary.
- Raise support tickets to enable tracking and resolution of customer requests.
- Identify and communicate critical customer pain points to relevant departments.
- Update records on customer interactions in help desk software.
- Monitor the company's processes and policies that might impact customers.
Where Do Customer Service Specialists Work?
Customer support specialists work in a wide range of organizations:
- Tech companies
- Financial institution
- Insurance businesses
- Hospitality businesses
- Healthcare providers
- Educational institutions
They can be a part of the in-house customer service team or work in large call centers that provide customer support for various companies.
Regardless of industry, customer service professionals usually work in office environments. Nowadays, many companies also have remote positions in customer support. And sometimes, customer service roles involve shift work, as some businesses provide customer support around the clock.
Customer Service Specialist Salary
According to Indeed, the average total pay for a customer service specialist in the United States is $57,576 per year. Salaries vary depending on the industry, location, company, and years of experience.
Customer Support Specialist Requirements
Most jobs in customer service have no strict requirements for work experience or education. Job ads often name a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree among the necessary qualifications. Rather than a specific background, employers look for the right set of soft skills. Candidates for roles in customer support are expected to possess the following:
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Active listening skills and empathy for people who may be frustrated or anxious
- Problem-solving and conflict-resolving skills
- Outstanding time management and organizational skills
- Ability to work under pressure and prioritize tasks
- Familiarity with help desk and CRM software applications
- Ability to learn quickly
- Flexibility when working shifts
A customer service specialist job can be an excellent starting point for a successful career in a chosen industry. The entry barriers are relatively low, and professionals get to know people across many departments. Customer service specialists learn every aspect of the company's service or product while developing interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills. In other words, a job in customer support can provide valuable experience and skills that apply to a wide range of roles, including those in marketing, sales, product development, and user experience design.
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