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How to become a customer service representative in 5 steps

A woman talking over a headset while sitting at a desk and looking at a computer.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

Customer service representatives work closely with a company's customers to ensure their needs are met. It can be a rewarding job for someone who enjoys helping others and has a knack for finding creative solutions to unexpected challenges.

If this sounds like a role you'd like to pursue, you've come to the right place. Keep reading to see my step-by-step guide on how to become a customer service representative.

5 steps to become a customer service representative 

1. Get a high school diploma or GED.

Customer service representative education requirements typically include having a high school diploma or GED. 

Postsecondary education isn’t usually required for entry-level customer service positions. 

2. Gain experience working with customers.

You don't have to work in an office as a customer service representative to get experience working with customers. If you’ve worked in retail or at a restaurant, you already have customer service experience.

If you haven’t had a job in the service industry, consider gaining customer service experience in positions like:

  • A cashier at a grocery store.
  • A server at a restaurant.
  • A sales associate at a store.

3. Develop the right skillsets.

Being a customer service representative requires a blend of soft skills. These soft skills are important, as they help customer service representatives navigate challenges and create a positive experience for their customers.

Successful customer service representatives have the ability to:

  • Solve problems: Customer service reps work directly with customers to help provide solutions when issues arise. They need to think on their feet and know how to troubleshoot problems effectively.
  • Communicate well with others: Great customer service reps have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They should be able to provide clear explanations and follow-ups to customers via email or over the phone. Active listening is an integral part of being a good communicator, ensuring that customer needs are understood and met.
  • Leverage technology: With the increasing use of technology, being tech-savvy is a must. Customer service reps should be comfortable working with computer programs and applications, as well as using various email and phone systems.
  • Be adaptable: Customer service reps usually work in a fast-paced environment. Successful associates are adaptable and aren't flustered by unexpected changes or situations.
  • Be patient: When things don't go as planned, it’s important a customer service rep is patient and positive. Being calm can help diffuse tense situations.

4. Research companies that interest you.

Think about the industry you’d like to work in or the company you’d like to work for. This will help you figure out what kind of customers you’d like to assist. 

At Schneider, for example, our customers are mainly businesses and corporations. Our customer service reps work closely with those entities and act as their go-to contact. 

On the flip side, many companies, like internet service providers or retailers, work primarily with individual consumers rather than businesses. Instead of working with a few customers, you’d be helping dozens of different individuals on a regular basis.  

5. Apply to a customer service position.

Once you find a company you think would be a good fit, it’s time to apply for a customer service position. 

Don’t forget to tailor your cover letter and resume to the job you’re applying for. Good luck! 

Interested in being a customer service rep?

From work schedules to job responsibilities, explore what a day in the life of a customer service representative is like to see if this career is a good fit for you. 
About the author
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Lance Kaster is a Corporate Recruiter whose journey with Schneider started back in 2016. He started as a member of the driver recruiting team, where he was responsible for building and managing a candidate pool of prospective company drivers.

He moved to the company's corporate recruiting team in 2021. In his current role, Lance specializes in recruiting candidates for office positions.

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