what is a customer service representative?

Customer service representatives help customers with processing orders and handling complaints. In this position, you provide information and answer questions related to the products and services sold by the company. You also process returns and forward complaints to other departments or supervisors. Some customer service representatives are responsible for managing other employees, especially when you move up to a supervisor position.

The role requires patience and a calm demeanour. Customer service representatives are trained to deal with angry customers and acknowledge their distress while finding ways to resolve problems. You keep your composure while responding to customer complaints across multiple communication channels and remain empathetic. You also provide detailed and correct information about products or services sold by the company.

what does a customer service representative do?

The role involves keeping customer interaction records, including complaints and comments or acting as a liaison between the company and customers. You also coordinate and communicate with other department employees and prepare product or service reports. You spend a significant amount of time on computers and undergo training to work with different types of software to distribute information.

Would working as a customer service representative suit your people skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a customer service representative role.

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average customer service representative salary

According to Job Bank, a customer service representative earns a median salary of $35,775 per year. When you are starting in the role, you earn $31,200 annually. As you improve your experience, you can make up to $48,370 yearly.

how to increase your earnings as a customer service representative

As a customer service representative, your earnings depend on your experience and skills. While educational qualifications may not be mandatory, having some certification increases your earning potential. Customer service representatives with additional experience or certification earn more due to their expert knowledge.

The location and region you work in also affect your earnings. Customer service representatives working in Yukon and British Columbia are likely to earn more compared to Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. The difference in regional earnings depends on the demand and the cost of living.

The industry you work in influences your earnings, especially if your duties require knowledge of the products or services. When you work in financial services or insurance, you are likely to earn more than call centre agents due to the expertise required.

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types of customer service representatives

The types of customer service representatives depend on the mode of communication with customers and the industry. Some include:

  • email customer services support: your job is to respond to emails and live chats from customers. You answer queries and assist customers with the purchase process by replying to emails.
  • social media customer service reps: you monitor a company's social media platforms and respond to queries or assist customers in purchasing.
  • financial customer service representatives: as a customer service representative in financial institutions, you provide information on related banking products and services. You work for banks, credit unions and trust companies explaining financial services to customers. You inform customers of available banking products and services.
  • call centre customer service representatives: as a call centre customer service agent, you receive phone calls and answer customers' questions. You handle customer complaints and explain troubleshooting processes.
woman wearing headset
woman wearing headset

working as a customer service representative

Customer service representatives work in a customer-facing role. If you are interested in the role, check out the duties and daily activities.


customer service representative skills and education

You require the following qualifications to work as a customer service representative:

  • education: to work as a customer service representative, you require training to gain the necessary qualification. Complete a college diploma in business administration or a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Some employers only require completion of secondary school education.
  • work experience: you require experience to work as a customer service representative. You can gain experience through on-the-job training and entry-level opportunities like working as a call centre agent.

competencies and characteristics of a customer service representative

Customer service representatives work on computers and phones to create and update customer accounts. Beyond that, they need the following skills and qualities:

  • listening skills: attentiveness is a primary skill to ensure you are mindful of customers and can accommodate their needs. You should remain empathetic and be willing to help customers feel listened to during the interaction. You take time to talk to customers and understand their queries to resolve the issues.
  • patience: self-control is one of the most important skills of working in this role. It is important to remain calm when customers are upset. You also take responsibility on behalf of the company to ensure the customer is happy with the interaction.
  • problem-solver: you need problem-solving skills to ensure you find ways to resolve issues efficiently. As a customer service representative, you use a systematic approach and are detail-oriented when finding a solution. Employers expect you to be creative and resourceful and go the extra mile to help customers.
  • expecting and adapting to challenges: adaptability is another important trait when working as a customer service representative. Working daily with customers means you never know what to expect with the calls or messages you receive. Good customer service representatives send legitimate problems or complaints through the correct channels and relay information to the customer efficiently without becoming stressed or anxious. You should remain mentally flexible in responding to different people on various platforms, sometimes simultaneously.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a customer service representative.


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