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How to Become an Inbound Customer Service Representative

Do you enjoy building relationships with people and helping them with answers to their questions, inquiries and needs? If so, a position as an inbound customer service representative may be right for you.

Inbound customer service representatives communicate with customers and are often the “voice” of their company in that role. They field incoming calls, help answer questions, and solve customer problems, often on a wide array of topics. They are essential to ensure overall customer satisfaction.

With the need to handle many different tasks beyond just communicating with customers, inbound customer service representatives must be able to manage time well. They often assist other departments, as well as maintain data and summarize customer inquiries for presentation to management.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] needs new inbound customer service representatives! We are looking for an energetic and extroverted native English speaker who can field incoming calls and build a quality relationship with our customers. This position requires previous customer service experience. [Your Company Name] is looking for a full-time and committed representative who is able to field calls, answer inquiries about products, and manage and submit customer inquiries. Strong listening skills are required, as well as previous work experience in the customer service or customer support field. Familiarity with CRM systems is a bonus but not required for this position, as training will be provided.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Answer incoming calls from customers with inquiries on product orders
  • Assist various departments in facilitating sales of all products in the company portfolio
  • Analyze customer issues and assist in resolving within the required timeframe
  • Coordinate with customers and ensure appropriate questioning to identify issues
  • Manage all customer inquiries and summarize to present to management
  • Administer and prioritize customer tasks and ensure achievement of all deadlines within the required timeframe
  • Maintain accuracy of all data and verify the same for all customer services

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or GED required (an associate degree is preferred)

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proven customer service/support experience
  • Strong phone contact handling skills and active listening
  • Familiar with CRM systems and practices
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Ability to multitask, prioritize and manage time effectively

Typical work environment

Inbound customer service representatives are required to provide high-quality customer service for inbound calls and incoming customer contacts. An inbound customer service representative should have a working knowledge of the product or service, as well as confident communication and problem-solving skills. The ability to record and document any customer inquiries or questions is oftentimes required in this position as well, so the ability to multitask is a bonus. The inbound customer service representative is often needed to communicate for long periods of time in an office or call center environment and redirect customers to the proper specialist. They will often work in a large office with multiple cubicles, but sometimes, this position may be done remotely.

Typical hours

The work hours for an inbound customer service representative are typically from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may be necessary, depending on the needs and hours of an individual company. 

Available certifications

Inbound customer service representatives can benefit from the following certifications:

  • Customer Service Certification. This Customer Service certification is extremely useful for inbound customer service representatives. Certifications for customer service will cover customer service basics, communication skills and techniques, and problem-solving skills. Real-world experience is simulated through the use of simulated phone calls and similar customer service scenarios.
  • COPC Customer Experience (CX) Standard. The COPC customer experience certificate is a recognized and trusted standard for customer experience training, thus proving extremely useful for providing a communication and customer service standard for an inbound customer service representative.
  • Customer Service Representative Certificate. The Customer Service Representative certificate (CSR) is offered to provide online video courses on the basics of customer service, how to apply for a customer service job or position, and other important information for an inbound representative.

Career path

The career path for an inbound customer service representative entails first obtaining a high school diploma or GED, with an associate degree being preferred in many cases.

This path can often start as an entry-level position, but can have opportunities for advancement, based on experience and performance.

In addition, customer service representatives can seek to further their career through completing courses and training that can bolster their skills and knowledge in the field.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-4051

2020 Employment2,923,400
Projected Employment in 20302,888,800
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 1% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift34,500 increase

There is a growing need for call centers, and talented people, like inbound customer service representatives, to staff them. Customer service representatives (both inbound and outbound) are often the first and only human voice customers experience from the company.

With overall growth forecasted, and even with automation potentially having some effects, personal interaction with customers is always valued, especially when done efficiently and with positive outcomes.