How Do I Become a Customer Service Associate?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Deciding to become a customer service associate is a good first step toward a career in the retail or service industry. Customer service associates typically develop a wide range of skills that can serve them well in nearly any future position. In order to become a customer service associate, it is important to understand some of the requirements of the job, create a good resume, and impress interviewers with professionalism and poise. There is no foolproof way to become a customer service associate, but with a few basic tips, a person may have a better chance of landing a great new job.

Large businesses often have dedicated customer service call centers.
Large businesses often have dedicated customer service call centers.

Formal education beyond secondary or high school is not typically required to become a customer service associate. Often an entry level position, customer service associates typically learn a lot of their required skills while on the job. For more advanced positions, it may be helpful to have experience in retail, basic accounting, and customer management, but these requirements may vary based on the type of job obtained.

Customer service representatives have to treat customers well, even if they're having a bad day themselves.
Customer service representatives have to treat customers well, even if they're having a bad day themselves.

There are some basic abilities and skills that may help a person become a customer service associate. Good organizational skills are often a plus, as are good phone manners and a cheerful personality. Some customer service positions may also require the worker to use a cash register, stock shelves, work at a receptionist desk, or perform data entry, so experience in any of these areas can be very helpful. Most customer service associates need to be computer literate, though they may receive on-the-job training in specific software or operating systems used at work.

A polished, professional resume can go a long way toward helping a person become a customer service associate. There are many free templates online that can be used to create a well-formatted resume; some word processing programs also have resume templates built into the program. A customer service-oriented resume should stress any prior jobs that have allowed the worker to handle customers, such as a sales assistant, grocery check-out person, or tutor. Resumes typically also include education background, a list of applicable skills, and several professional references that can comment on the worker's character and abilities.

Since customer service associates typically spend their time helping customers and answering concerns, how they act and appear in public is often very important to career success. At an interview for a customer service job, employers will usually pay close attention to whether a person seems friendly and professional, and whether they show signs of anxiety or severe stress. Customer service associates frequently must deal with angry or upset customers, so grace under pressure is an important skill. During an interview, an attitude of warmth and friendliness can help employers feel comfortable around a candidate, which in turn may make them more likely to trust him or her with their customers.

Customer service associates may perform several functions, including stocking inventory and manning the cash register.
Customer service associates may perform several functions, including stocking inventory and manning the cash register.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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