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Online Education (customer-service Degree Programs)

By Author: John Srob
Total Articles: 215

Every business that provides products or services to consumers has a need for customer service professionals. These individuals are the face of the company and are the ones who deal with customers in a friendly and courteous manner. Customer service professionals are required to interact with customers before a sale is made, during the sale and after the sale has been made as well.

If you are a confident person who connects with people easily, then you may be looking into a career in the customer service industry. While many customer services related positions may require applicants to have only a high school diploma, more and more companies are on the lookout for potential employees who have some form of customer service training. Customer service training programs graduates will also have a better chance of reaching the supervisory or management levels in this field

Certificate of Completion in Customer Service

Certificate programs in customer service are designed to help students provide service and support to customers. Certificate programs prepare students for entry-level positions as sales representatives or receptionists. Students interested in completing a certificate program in customer service typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Program Coursework

In a certificate program for customer service, students take courses that help them develop customer relations and management skills.

Conflict resolution
Time management
Behavioral styles
Computer literacy
Document processing

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Employment opportunities for service representatives are expected to grow quickly, at a rate of 18%, in the period between 2008 and 2018. While salaries for individuals working in customer service vary depending on the industry, the mean salary for a customer service representative in 2008 was $31,790, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Continuing Education Information

Most employers offer on-the-job training to customer service representatives. These training periods familiarize new employees with the company's computer system and products. However, some industries, such as insurance, require customer service employees to be licensed. Requirements for licensure vary by state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Associate of Applied Science in Customer Service

This degree, though not common, prepares students for jobs as customer service representatives. An associate's degree in customer service introduces students to techniques used to deliver quality customer service care. Customer service associate's degree programs may be part of the business department of community colleges. A high school diploma is usually required for program admission.

Program Coursework

Coursework in this type of degree program introduces students to the best practices used in customer service.

Principles of customer care
Consumer objectives
Employee management

Popular Career Options

Although customer service representative is the most common job title for customer service positions, other workers need customer service skills, such as:

Sales clerk
Administrative assistant
Bank teller

As a customer service representative, you're the face of the company and the first point of a customer's contact. You have an enormous opportunity to make a customer's experience the best they've ever had--or have them talking for years about how they'll never do business with "your" company.

Most customer service jobs involve working out of call centers, and representatives need to be comfortable performing basic computer operations. As part of the customer service job, you'll be given extensive training specific to your own company and industry, but degrees in customer service jobs imply a certain level of potential competency to an employer.

There are numerous customer service-oriented training programs available through online universities. Most offer classes in general business practices and with an emphasis on customer service. Upon completion of a customer service career training program, you will receive a certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree, depending on the length of the program.

Graduates of these programs may find work with insurance carriers, banks, retail companies, telecommunications providers and manufacturing firms. The details of customer service positions vary greatly from job to job, as one who works at a bank might carry out the tasks of a teller, while another working at a phone company could answer questions about bills and problems with phones. Jobs in customer service may act as a springboard to higher positions within the company, particularly management and product research.

For call center operators, most calls involve data entry of some sort. This involves looking up a customer's profile in a computer database and editing information while conversing with the customer. The operator must take care to satisfactorily answer the customer's questions and respond to their complaints in the manner prescribed by their company's guidelines.

Some inquiries may require thought on the part of the operator, as well as further questions concerning the nature of the problem. The operator may have to look up information for the customer while on the phone. In the event that the operator cannot answer a question, a supervisor should be available. Supervisors routinely check in on the performance of their workers by listening to recorded conversations.

Call center jobs can be demanding, as operators are usually given a new call as soon as they finish with a previous one. They strive to be as efficient as possible by satisfactorily concluding each call in the minimum amount of time. Some centers are functional at all hours of the day, so operators may have to work odd hours.

However, not all customer service jobs are in call centers. Some positions require responding to questions and complaints over e-mail, and others even involve face-to-face discussions with the customer.

Degrees in Customer Service: In any business where they serve customers in one way or another, customer service is an important part of the process. Customers will generally remember and avoid the places where they received poor customer service, while they will always return to the places that made them feel as if their patronage was not just welcomed, but appreciated.

The customer always wants to feel as if they are important, and it is the Customer Service Manager who is tasked with finding ways to do just that. You can find Customer Service Managers in retail stores, food dining establishments, call centers, real estate offices, and other various places.

Usually, though, one would not necessarily need a degree in Customer Service in order to get the job of a Customer Service Manager, but with bigger companies they only want to hire those who have college degrees in business areas like Customer Service. It takes a special kind of person to be successful in customer service. Anyone can learn the logistics of it, but not everyone has the personality that is required to go along with those logistics. In order to be successful as a Customer Service Manager, you not only need to know everything about customer service, but you also need to be very friendly and personable so that you are approachable by customers.

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