42 answers

What do I need to qualify for a customer service job?

Asked Cambridge, Massachusetts

I think there are some jobs in my area where I can work in customer service. What do I need to qualify for a customer service job? Do I need to have a certain college major, or can I go straight from high school. Do I need previous experience? Every job seems to require previous experience, so where do you get the FIRST job? #customer-service #support

42 answers

Jasminder’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

You should consider your interpersonal skills, as well as think about times you've empathized with people in general. To be in customer service, it's really all about how you can retain customers and keep a YES attitude.

I hope this helps!

Updated
YES. Sometimes it is hard to always be positive, but I will try. Thank you Mr. Pabla.
Updated
Julea, I am a manager at a large financial institution in a call center. When interviewing candidates, I do look for experience, but I also look for a certain maturity level and a desire to help people. Do some research on the business prior to the interview and try to tailor your resume to the job posting qualification. Starting out in customer service is a great way to get your foot in the door. You can learn the skills to do the job but you must really like talking to and helping people and also be able to deal with taking the heat from unhappy customers. Good luck!
Updated
Thank you Mr. Pabla
Updated
I've worked with Call centers for quite some time. During interviews, I look at interpersonal skills, being courteous and displaying patience. I work from a different country where a graduation is preferred by most companies. However, I am certain that the requirements are different where you are. I would suggest customer service as the first job because there's a lot to learn from this job even when you move forward to a different job role.
Updated
Great suggestions! Almost exactly what i was gonna recommend.

Lauren’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

Hi Julea!

You can definitely get a customer service job right out of high school as there should be entry level customer service jobs that require zero to very limited experience. I found that many of these types of jobs lie within retail, restaurants and typically in call centers where you are providing one-on-one customer support. You shouldn't need previous experience unless you are going for a customer service job that isn't entry level. Typically, if it's an entry-level job, the employer understands that it's probably your first job and you may not have experience yet.

I would say (similar to what others mentioned above) that there are some top skills that employers who are hiring for customer service roles look for in a prospective candidate. These types of skills aren't necessarily things that can be taught, they are transferable skills that you probably use right now on a day to day basis. Remember, just because you don't have work experience, doesn't mean that you don't have these skills. These are things such as problem solving, taking initiative, understanding customers, their needs and how to empathize with them. It's also having the ability to think on your feet and having great interpersonal and relationship building skills. If you excel in any of those areas and have those skill sets, you should be able to find a entry-level customer service job. I hope that helps!

Angela’s Answer

Updated Mountain View, California

Customer Service is a great place to learn how to communicate with others, really discover how a business operates and develop numerous soft skills that will help you in your career path. You will learn how to recognize people's needs, guide them to self discovery and educate them to appreciate the product/company you are supporting. These skills will develop within you and help you long after you've moved on to your next opportunity. It's done wonders for me so I can't recommend it enough!

Updated
Thanks Angela

Tushar’s Answer

Updated Sunnyvale, California

Passionate about people, relationships and customer-first mindset. Always keep yourself in their shoes and think what they are going through and address the problem. Think about how you can make your customer successful. Hope this helps!

Updated
Great advice, I have been in customer service for over 20 years, and the one piece that has made me successful is to always think how would I want to be treated and treat your customer that exact way. I will always work and make you a superstar!
Updated
great advice Donna

Andrew’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

Hi Julea,

In order to qualify for a customer service job, your mindset needs to be MEMBERS FIRST. You must be passionate about working with people and providing the best service at any given time. Even when members are irritated and extremely angry, a great customer representative is poised and resourceful.

You don't "NEED" certain things for the job, but you do NEED to be proactive. Reach out to companies you're passionate about and speak to the customer reps themselves so you better understand the work they do and why they do it.

Hope this helps!

Andrew

Updated
Thanks Andrew

Heather’s Answer

Updated Jersey City, New Jersey

Hi, Julea! If you are truly interested in customer service, then start right where you are. If you've held a job at all, you were most likely counted on to provide a service. Think about any opportunities you've had to help another human being. Even if all you've ever done is volunteer, certainly you've performed a task that helped someone else along the way. Use these examples to help boost your customer service "skills" in a cover letter to hiring managers.
With regard to your other questions, it's hard to say if you would need a degree or prior experience. It's different depending on the company looking to hire. If you have good computer/typing skills, this will help you because many customer service jobs are at call centers and support centers that rely on computers for up-to-date information. Unfortunately, it is very competitive out there, but with a positive can-do attitude and persistence, I'm sure you'll do great!

Updated
thanks heather

Bhavesh’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

four key ingredients make an excellent customer service professional in any area: positive attitude, natural inclination to help, patience and knowledge of the service or product

Updated
Thanks Bhavesh

Mia’s Answer

Updated Chester, Virginia

Hi Julea If you really enjoy interacting with people, customer service would be a great job. Most of your entry level jobs, has some area of customer service. For example your local fast food restaurant servers, cashiers and order taker are all part of customer service and requires no prior experiences. Another place to get customer service experience is volunteering at your library or hospitals to just name a few places.

I hope this helps.

Updated
Thanks Mia shipman

NA’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

Hey Julea,

The key to customer service is patience. As long as you are a good communicator, then speaking with customers will not be your hurdle, but if you are unable to maintain a positive experience in the event that things do not go correctly, it could reflect negatively on your work. Just keep in mind, as long as you have a genuine need to want to help people, then you can be successful in customer service. People will recognize that you truly care to help resolve their needs, and will ultimately lead to a positive experience. Just be prepared for things to go wrong, because they do, and often. Don't let it discourage you from wanting to seek a career in helping people.

Good Luck.

Updated
Christan my friend this is fantastic

Shyam’s Answer

Updated Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Hey Julea,

To survive in this industry, all you need to have is 'Positive thinking'. Like many other professionals said, you should have patience, listening skills (utmost important), interpersonal skills and the list goes on. The below quote says everything about everything service:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Just be 'Positive'. All the very best, Julea!

Loni’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

Hey there, I would suggest starting with retail if possible. Customer Service really is about understanding a person's needs and striving to try to help them the best you can. It is really cool that you are thinking about this because Customer Service just isn't what it used to be but with people who care like you this can be turned around. Just put yourself in the other person's shoes and ask yourself how you would like to be treated and treat them that way. It is really as simple as that! : ))

Updated
Loni i love it

Kelsey’s Answer

Updated Newark, Delaware

Working in Customer service i have learned that paitence and listening are two key skills that are needed! Customer service is always all about the customer and your main goal should to to assist them as best as possible with every and anything that is needed.

Kelsey’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

Compassion! Customer service is just that, it's a service to the customer. There is a misconception that you need minimal skill sets to be in customer service. Although, you will find that the best customer service representatives have an education or a strong work ethic... why? Because they UNDERSTAND! They understand that 95% of the time a customer service issue is merely a person needing help, it's not that they are angry or hate the product, they simply need to be educated. If you have compassion, patience and most importantly, FUN, you will be fantastic in a Customer Service role.

Jody’s Answer

Updated Newark, Delaware

Alaways be kind and understad customers needs, always have great attitute ,remeber your career depends on how you do your job,always do what your job required you to do, always smile and be proffessional!!!

Veena’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Skills for Excellent Customer service : Be a good listener, Communication skills, Be calm and patience, Be Honest, Became an expert, Be Confident, Learn from Mistakes, Know your organization and Time Management.

Sean’s Answer

Updated Newark, Delaware

That is a great question and I strongly wish more people would ask this. You have to be open minded with each job you preform and remember that the peerson you are speaking to at that time is always the most important person. Give them your full attention and periodically restate back to them something they have stated to show you are listening actively to them.

Nicoleta’s Answer

Updated Milwaukee, Wisconsin

There are certain customer service skills that every employee must master if they are forward-facing with customers. Patience, Attentiveness, Clear Communication Skills, Knowledge of the Product,Ability to Use "Positive Language", Time Management Skills,Ability to "Read" Customers, Ability to Handle Surprises, A Calming Presence, Willingness to Learn.

Best of luck!

Carol’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

You may not even know it but you're already developing your customer service skills every day when you interact with other people, such as teachers, servers at a restaurant, clerks at a store, etc. Apply those interactions and think of how you want to be treated and treat those customers that way. My first customer service job, I was in high school working at a day care in a gym, even though most of the time I worked with children, I still had to talk to the parents. I think I knew then that I liked working with people. I'm certainly a different field of work now, but but I still apply those people skills daily.

Sandra’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Julea,

what could help would be making sure that you are able to type fast. If the company you want to work for has primarily email or chat support this can be a really positive factor for you. You can find tests that can help you figure out your words per minute speed (wpm test) as well as additional free tools that can help you train your typing skills. Otherwise I have to agree with a lot of the comments before, its all about the attitude. Having a positive attitude and the willingness to solve problems others are experiencing really helps when working in Customer Support.

Manoj’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

As a Job getter you need to know if you need to have a suitable degree to meet the minimum educational qualification for the Customer Service job.( as mentioned by the employer). Once you have met that requirement you are almost half way through. The other skills you need to have are as follows 1. Good communication skills ( written, verbal with good fluency in the language) 2. Self confidence and a positive attitude 3. Have the willingness to help. 4. Need to have good soft skills( empathy, greeting, acknowledge, patience, Listening skills etc) 5. Need to be good team player and attitude of learning and helping one another 6. Going extra mile to help your customers.

That's a small heads-up and remaining you will learn in your training and as you gain experience. Good Luck !

Patrick’s Answer

Updated Newark, Delaware

Hi Julea,

You asked a great question! The customer service field is a great field to start your first job in. I believe that in order to qualify for a customer service job you should have patience, understanding and an optimistic attitude! These qualities are very important to have so that you can put yourself in the customer's shoes and understand what they want, need or desire. I also believe that it is important that you are sincere and kind as the customer will know without a doubt that you are there to help them and that you care about them and their needs. There are a lot of customer service jobs out there that you do not need to have experience for that you can start right out of high school! I wish you the best of luck!!!

Ramya’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Customer Service really is about able to comprehend what the person's requirement is and striving to try to help them the best you can.The other most important aspect is also that you should love to interact with people whom you may not see face to face. Patience and positive approach is also needed for this.

Bill’s Answer

Updated Newark, Delaware

Hi Julea, this is a great question. I feel that a positive outlook and personality, a knack and desire to solve problems, and an ability to empathize with "a complete stranger" who may be in a very bad mood are critical. Good luck!

Matthew’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

Hey Julea! My first job experiences right of of High School were in customer service/retail. I would suggest starting to look into fields you are interested in. For example, if love music or movies, and find a customer service job in that field, you will be able to show the customers that you are invested and excited for your job. Customers are able to pick up on if a person is there for only a paycheck. Listen to the customers. Whether you are talking to someone face to face, on the phone or over email, make sure you are listening to everything they are saying/asking so you can address all of their questions/concerns. Find the little ways to take the extra steps to help a customer. Instead of providing them with a simple answer, find ways to further assist a customer. For example (in retail), instead of saying "Oh, that item is over there". Take the customer to the item and be there to answer any further questions. Show empathy. Not every experience will be the best and you might run into someone having a bad day. Showing someone empathy might help turn their experience around. There are a lot of skills you will pick up along the way, but a good one to start with is treat your customers the way you would want to be treated.

Good Luck!

Elfe Nur Reyany’s Answer

Updated Singapore

I was in college when I first started working and it was in a cafe. It was then that I learn I had passion in the service industry because I didn't think I could actually be good at it (I was really shy back then). I believe the key essence is to have a genuine sense of empathy - if you put this out to the world, take great pride in what you do and do it well, then you're well qualified. You can always ask for a trial shift - that means have you "work" for a couple of hours and see if you like the job or not. If you don't, it's still beneficial for you because you've gained a little experience from it. Best of luck, Julea!

Elaine G’s Answer

Updated Las Vegas, Nevada

You don't need a college degree for most Customer Service positions. Having a positive attitude, empathy, treating people with respect (the way you want to be treated) is a big plus. Most jobs are customer service. For instance, retail, food server, any position where you are engaged with people. Even volunteer work. To obtain a Customer Service related position with a corporation having a background in computer skills, typing, listening skills, proper grammar are also helpful. Having college doesn't hurt. It can only help you to expand your horizons. Keep positive. You can do it!

Noor M’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Here's a link which tell more about this industry and skills required for this job. https://www.helpscout.net/blog/customer-service-skills/

Stacey’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

The great part about Customer Service is that you already have some experience (even if you have never worked a customer service job before) since it's all about interacting with people. Listening and helping are things most of us do on a regular basis, and to me, this is the foundation of great customer service. Good luck to you!

John’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

Have patience, Good listening or reading skills, good communication and also willingness to work in stressful situation also would make you a good customer services representative.

Josie’s Answer

Updated Las Vegas, Nevada

It is very important to have good listening skills, patience, empathy and the willingness to want to help others. Customer Service is a very important position as in a lot Companies, you are the voice of that company. A professional and respectful attitude will help in being a successful Customer Service a Representative.

Shaunna’s Answer

Updated Newark, Delaware

To qualify for a Customer Service career really depends on you, your attitude and how well you deal with other people. A high school diploma is mainly needed as your highest level of education completed to get started. You want to first make sure that you are defiinitely a "people person" as you will come across many different people with different backgrounds. This can be in person or over the phone. You should have a personality that can be welcoming and understanding to who you are dealing with. Also, a friendly, outgoing personality will go a long way when working in this type of field.

Michelle’s Answer

Updated Baltimore, Maryland

Open mind willing to learn and have a Want to help others

Ann Marie’s Answer

Updated Newark, Delaware

Customer service is about good attitude, good communication and being patient. You can enter the field from high school and any retail jobs you may have had can help development you into customer service. Business degrees can help you progress in customer service careers or focus the business arena that you want to be customer service in.

NIRMALA’s Answer

Updated Tennessee, Tennessee

To be the best customer service representative you have to have a good attitude, to be pleasant, calm, friendly, patience and go above and beyond your duties, pay attention to customers - a good listener and also can find answers quickly and efficiently. You have to think if you are the customer what kind of service you expect. Customers are the company's asset because without any customer the company will not be progressing. Customer service jobs are available in retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters etc. All these places hire high school graduates and these are the best places to gain experience in customer service. You can move up doing an excellent job. Getting higher education will definitely help to get higher positions in sales and marketing and other customer related fields.

NIRMALA’s Answer

Updated Tennessee, Tennessee

Hi Julea:

To be the best customer service personal you have to be pleasant, patience, resourceful, positive, good listening skills, and to be able to find the answers quickly for your customers. Also be able to do the job above and beyond your duties. For example: I went to WalMart store to buy a coffee maker and the sales person helped us and showed us different coffee makers. We liked one but they did not had it in stock in that store. So the sales person was so nice that she checked inventories of different stores of nearby areas and guided to the store where we found our choice of coffee maker. That was excellent customer service. She was patience, pleasant, and she had good product knowledge. She went above beyond her duties to find out where other WalMart stores had that particular coffee maker. It was a very pleasant experience for us and definitely we will go back to the store again. The companies like to higher the best customer service personal so that they can retain their customers and increase their clients and sales. To get the best experience as a customer service person you can volunteer at the hospital, library. Also working in fast food restaurants, stores you can get good paid experience. Large companies prefer their customer service personal to have degrees and with degree the pay gets higher also. So good luck.

Rachel’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

Hi Julea,

I would recommend starting in retail - whether it be big box (Wal-mart, Target) or specialty stores (Express, Bath & Body Works). In a retail environment you can start with little experience and you will learn a lot! Retail is exciting and demanding all at the same time. You will learn how to be patient and how to always have a "yes" attitude. Flexibility is a must, as you have to understand retails works when the rest of the world doesn't and your shifts may be varied and or long at times.

I have found that while not necessary, hiring manager often tend to look for an Associates or Bachelor's degree if you want to move into a management position. Personality is huge, being friendly and personable is key to retail.

Krishna’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

This are certain customer service skills that every employee must master Positive attitude, and the customer should feel that that they are valued, and that their satisfaction is paramount to your organization."

In order to deliver high quality service, the representative must learn how to listen actively. Active listening may involve taking notes or asking questions to clarify what you think you understand about the customer's situation. Clarifying statements, such as "If I understand, you wish to check on the status of your shipment, is that correct?" can be very effective to ensure that you understand the customer's need.

Lakshmi’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

Here are few customer service skills one must have. Positive attitude Interpersonal skills Patience Listening Skills Analytical skills

Lisa’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

Hi Julea!

You've gotten a lot of great answers so far! I believe you can get a customer service job right out of high school, but it may be entry level. I would say that starting in food service, especially being a server at a restaurant or in retail would be your best bet to build some experience.

I have been doing customer service for a long time and my bachelor's degree is in music education. I think a degree is very helpful because it teaches you time management and work ethic, but I don't have a recommendation for a major. Two skills that you may also want to work on developing are being willing to always learn new things, and flexibility. They will help you in work and in school. Hope this helps!

Chris’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

Hi Julea,

It really depends on the job description on what they're looking for. However, I wouldn't take a listing for required past experience or college degree as an automatic out. It's funny but sometimes "required" actually means preferred, but again really depends on the company.

I'd recommend really studying the company and the description and tailor your resume to that. In order to find out if you have the "required" parameters your prospective employer will have to read through your resume. If you make it tailored to them it's more likely to be intriguing, and therefore spark their curiosity to give you a call.

I'm currently a Supervisor for a Customer Service team and can tell you that the hardest part is getting your foot in the door. Stay diligent and find creative ways to push your way through as that goes a long way in showing us how passionate you are. If you're able to secure an interview let your personality shine and make sure to highlight your knowledge about the position/company as well as what you plan to do to make it better.

Chris

Jeremy’s Answer

Updated Omaha, Nebraska

One will need the following skills to obtain a position in customer service:

Superior communication skills. If you aren’t a good communicator, then customer service may not be the field for you. Customer service jobs require that you deal heavily with the public. Do you know how to handle the many problems that come with customers? Communication skills are essential to get a good customer service job.

Self control. You are sure to come across customers who will be difficult to deal with. For this reason, you must have self control. You must be able to handle both the easy and hard times that comes with serving the public.

A good work ethic. As with any job, you need to have a good work ethic. You must be willing to put the needed work in to provide exceptional customer service.

Patience. It is important to have patience for those customers that no one really wants to deal with. The more patient you are, the better off you will be when working in customer service.

The ability to be relatable. Customers want to feel like they can relate to the people they are working with. Whether it is face to face or over the phone, the ability to be relatable is without a doubt an important quality.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/strategy/15-qualities-you-need-to-get-a-good-customer-service-job-0139217#ji95IcVYvT6mjmzX.99

Srinivas’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

The top most qualification for customer service job is Passion for the service. As they rightly say " Customer service is an attitude not a department ". It is in regard to putting the customer 1st in everything we do.

The next requirements are as follows:

  1. Good communication and listening skills
  2. Readiness to learn
  3. Grasping and understanding the need of the member. 4.Delivering the job. At times, you may not be able to deliver the 100 % of what your customer ask for. But, believe there are alternate ways of making them happy.

Lastly, remember that, they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

If you are lacking in any of the skills s you can always approach relevant people and seek help to improve.

Updated
A customer service rep should have Superior communication skills in order to convince customers. Knowledge of the product is the second skill which helps the customer service rep to deliver better results. A rep should be Willing to go the extra mile to please customers, when it requires. Patience is also one of the key points for every customer service rep.
Ask a question