An information agent is a public relations professional. The position is designed as a direct line of communication between the public and a company employee. Typically, businesses with a service component that generates a lot of questions from customers will designate an information agent to provide details about the service. The agent is ordinarily authorized to provide specific information about company operations, but is not authorized as a company spokesperson generally or to speak on company policy outside of the specific area of expertise.
As helpful as it can be to post information on billboards, circulate it in writing or provide a recorded version of the information when people call, businesses often find that customers want to speak to a live person. This is particularly true with service products, where adequate service delivery can depend on the idiosyncrasies of the people involved. Instead of trying to anticipate every question that may come up, a company can hire an information agent to satisfy the need for customers to speak directly with a company representative.
Information agents must master a certain body of information. They are responsible for handling questions about the subject matter from customers, the public or the press. An information agent can be responsible for fielding questions in person, over the phone or electronically, by email, online chat or through forum postings on a website.
For example, a company that provides ferry service might hire an information agent to field questions at the boarding site during the hours of service. The agent can answer questions about the schedule, the amenities on the boat and the trip duration and costs, among other things. Although this is the type of information that people could likely find on their own by looking at a printed brochure, making a live person available improves customer relations. It also helps keep operations running smoothly during those times when unusual questions arise, such as whether a person can fish off of the side of the ferry during the trip.
This job is typically considered a support position in the customer service or public relations departments. Some businesses will tack on related duties as needed. For example, an agent can sometimes be required to field customer complaints and make reports to management. He can be asked to make customer reservations as part of the job or to maintain outside information displays. His core duties will involve providing information, but other duties can be assigned based on the way the company operates.