Customer Service Job Description
In the field of customer service, it is essential to be a ‘people person’ as you will spend your day trying to ensure your company’s customers are happy with the products they purchase and the level of customer service they receive. Depending on the role, you will be speaking to people by phone or face-to-face. If you enjoy helping people and relish the chance to test out your interpersonal skills, read on to see if a career in customer service is right for you.
What are the main duties of a Customer Service employee?
As is the case in most industries in South Africa, the exact duties of a customer service employee depend on the role, company, and industry they work in. However, here are some standard daily tasks:
- Offering assistance to customers to ensure they find the right product/service.
- Communicating with customers by email, phone, and face-to-face.
- Investigating and solving customer problems; some are rather easy, but you will occasionally face a complicated issue.
- Refer customers to senior staff when necessary.
- Provide customers with refunds.
- Creating a new feedback procedure for clients or improving upon the existing model.
- Learning about your company’s products/services and remaining up to date with any changes.
- Meeting with management to discuss possible improvements to the company’s customer service.
What is life in Customer Service like?
The hours you work depends on your firm and the industry. For instance, if you work in the financial sector, you tend to work traditional weekday 9-5 hours. However, employees in a retail call centre must work shifts and weekends.
If you work in a call centre or an office, your role typically involves remaining at your desk and speaking to customers over the phone. In the retail sector, the work could involve face-to-face meetings with customers, so you will be away from your desk a lot of the time. If the job involves one-on-one discussions with customers, smart dress is essential.
Once you reach managerial level, the role may involve travelling to a firm’s other locations throughout South Africa. As a result, it is possible that you will occasionally spend time away from home.
What are the different Customer Service roles?
Customer Service Consultant
The role falls under the broader Customer Service Representative banner and involves regular interaction with customers as they inquire about the firm’s products and services. One of the key skills involved in this job is the ability to observe and listen to acquire the information necessary to solve the issue.
As well as communicating with customers, you must also speak with subordinates, supervisors, and managers to either inform them of a situation or pass on a problem that needs to be escalated. If you enjoy solving problems, resolving conflicts and being in the thick of the action, being a customer service consultant could be the perfect role for you. Customer Service Consultant Jobs
Customer Service Assistant
The aim of this role is obvious; you have to ensure every customer you speak with leaves the conversation happy; this can be via the phone or in face-to-face discussions. As you have to answer queries, deal with complaints and offer information, the role of customer service assistant involves a lot of interaction with the public.
If you are looking for set hours in an office environment, try to stay away from the retail sector as it asks its customer service assistants to work shifts with weekend work the norm. Although entry level salary is low, you can work your way up to the position of manager; Applicants with winning personalities tend to do exceptionally well in this role. Customer Service Assistant Jobs
Customer Service Manager
After working as a customer service assistant for several years, you finally have the opportunity to become a manager. You could work in a firm’s head office or else you may be at the company’s front end. Duties include developing and implementing new policies to improve customer service, overseeing a team of staff and handling customer complaints.
It is a high-pressure job that places great demands on your time, but it is also highly rewarding both regarding job satisfaction and salary. If you impress the executives at your company, there may even be a Director position with your name on it in the future. Customer Service Manager Jobs
Call Centre Agent
If you work in a call centre, your job involves handling the queries and complaints of customers over the phone. As well as having a clear and friendly telephone voice, you must also have the ability to meet targets, work under pressure and keep your cool when speaking with angry customers.
Depending on the firm, you may also have to answer emails, and once a call is finished, you may need to ‘wrap up’ the call; this means completing the relevant paperwork. With enough experience, you could eventually reach managerial level. Call Centre Agent Jobs
Call Centre Manager
Once you become a manager, your duties include creating and achieving customer service targets. You will also analyse the way your firm’s customer service operations work to see if there is any room for improvement. As you are in charge of a team, it is your responsibility to ensure that they are helpful on the phone and timely when replying to customer emails.
If you decide to become a call centre manager, be prepared to work unsociable hours because some centres operate 24/7. Your work will probably take place in a large and open office so if you like chaos and a job that is fast-paced, perhaps becoming a call centre manager is the right move for you. Call Centre Manager Jobs
What is the best thing about a role in Customer Service?
Highly skilled customer service employees are in demand because every B2C firm in South Africa deals with people on a daily basis. If you are unhappy in one sector, you can easily move to another and utilise the transferrable skills you picked up.
If you are a ‘people person,’ helping customers to find the right product/service or solving a problem is genuinely pleasing. The nature of the industry means there is a vast array of career progression opportunities.
What is the worst thing about a role in Customer Service?
Regrettably, there will be occasions when you have to deal with angry customers. A cool head is necessary for these situations. Depending on the job, you may have to spend most of your days sitting at a desk. The starting salary for customer service advisors and other entry level roles is relatively low.
Customer service salary expectations
Below are current salary levels based on actual salary offerings on the CareerJunction website:
- Intermediate R15,302 – R18,713
- Senior R15,865 – R20,054
It is important to note that some firms offer bonuses including profit sharing and commissions which add up to R30,000 a year to the salaries of higher ranking employees.
Qualification & Education
While you don’t need a college education for entry level customer service jobs, you have a better chance of climbing the ladder with a National Senior Certificate. Companies also prefer candidates with qualifications in Mathematics and English.
Although you can work your way through the ranks and reach the level of customer service manager with an NSC only, you will speed up the process with a Degree in Consumer Studies, Marketing, Business Studies or Management Studies.
What skills do I need in Customer Service?
The following skills are necessary if you wish to be a success in the field of customer service:
- Problem-solving capabilities
- The capacity to work well under pressure and remain polite even when consumers are angry and unreasonable
- Excellent personal presentation; this is especially important if the job involves face-to-face chats with customers
- Outstanding oral and written communication skills
- To reach management level, you need motivational skills and the ability to lead a team of customer service assistants
- Creative thinking to come up with new ways improve the firm’s level of customer service
What are my opportunities for career progression?
There is work available in a wide variety of fields including:
- Leisure and tourism
- Transport & logistics
- Educational institutions
- Medical companies
It is entirely possible to work your way to a management role from an entry level position. You could begin as a customer service assistant and gain relevant experience and qualifications along the way. The next step is becoming a team leader and then a manager. In a larger firm, you could even become a regional manager and perhaps one day you could achieve an executive position in the company.
There are a variety of online courses that can help you sharpen your skills including SACOB’s Short Course on Customer Service and Call Centre Management.
If you liked the information provided in this customer service job description from responsibilities to salary and career path, then the job role in customer service might be a good fit for you.