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Why Customer Service Representative Job Descriptions Are Changing: Here’s How You Can Hire Agents Today

Michael Waters
June 15, 2022
Customer service representative’s duties and job description is much more expansive — and a lot of customer support no longer happens over the phone.

These days a customer service representative’s duties and job description is much more expansive — and a lot of customer support no longer happens over the phone.

What are the role requirements of a customer service agent today?

Around 85% of businesses now offer live chat as a customer service tool, and 67% of customers say they have taken to social apps like Instagram or Facebook for customer support. Now, customer service agents are working across all of these platforms.

They aren’t just processing orders, assisting new customers, and answering inquiries by picking up the phone on behalf of a business. Customer service agents are also answering DMs, replying to social media comments, and going back and forth with customers in a live chat.

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Here’s what a sample customer service job description could look like

We’re seeking a high-performing CSR with great interpersonal capabilities — such as communication and listening skills — who can field a large number of customer inquiries across phone, chat, and social media.

The ideal candidate must be able to learn the ins and outs of a brand quickly, and communicate to customers confidently about the company’s products and policies.

Good customer service agents should be well-versed in conflict resolution and be able to swiftly identify — and resolve — each customer’s needs. The best candidates can also think big picture and recommend ways to improve customer service workflow at [Company].

Role and responsibilities:

Important customer service skills:

But keep in mind, the old-school approach to customer service isn’t working…

Nearly 3 million Americans work part-time or full-time as customer service agents, and the median pay for one is $17.75 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The typical customer service agent also works a full-time 9-to-5 job, then leaves in the early evening.

The problem is, while your customer service agent is on the clock, so are many of your customers. Between 9 am and 5 pm, your customers will likely be busy at work, and they won’t have the flexibility to send in their questions until the evening.

You can see this in the data. Customer service wait times tend to peak between 4 pm and 5 pm and then again between 7 pm and 9 pm, according to a survey from Talkdesk. By contrast, between 5 am and noon, call wait times are 70% shorter.

Wait times on other platforms can also be long. According to a survey, the average response time to a customer email is 12 hours and 10 minutes — which isn’t great. It also found that 46% of customers expect email responses within 4 hours, and many expect responses to be faster.

Other common hiring problems customer service managers face

Managers typically have to deal with the following issues when it comes to hiring CSRs:

Your current hiring process may not be optimized for productivity

Operating on a 9-to-5 schedule means you won’t be able to answer urgent customer questions at night, when most people are off of work. That can be incredibly frustrating for your customers, who might not have the time to wait overnight for a reply.

An hourly approach is also expensive

If your volume changes depending on the time of day, paying someone to work hourly may not be the best use of your resources. Instead, you can consider a more flexible approach, where CSRs step in and respond to inquiries only as they come in. With Chatdesk Experts, you pay per ticket.

Recruiting staff takes a lot of time, yet turnover is still high

The average customer support agent takes 2 to 4 weeks to train, but with how traditional customer jobs are structured, they don’t stick around for long. 69% of all customer service reps leave their jobs within 2 years, according to a 2019 ZipRecruiter survey. Just 19% stay for 5 years or more.

These figures were even worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. As more people shifted to online shopping, requests for customer support skyrocketed. Even in 2021, companies were seeing 20% more customer tickets across the board than they had prior to the pandemic, according to Zendesk.

All that demand is starting to affect work environments and taking a toll on customer service agents. In 2021, 76% of customer service agents said they are burnt out, and 71% said they have considered leaving their jobs in the last six months.

Soap brand Dr. Squatch responding to comments on TikTok, underscoring how next-gen customer service has moved into social media

Your best bet may be a more flexible approach to customer service

Rather than employing customer support agents traditionally — like a conventional call center — next-generation customer service companies operate on a more flexible schedule, where customer service agents are online during the hours that businesses most need help.

Through Chatdesk, you can quickly ramp up your customer support operations starting at $99/month. Our team of expert agents can support you across various channels including email, live chat and social media. Brands who work with us see 90+ NPS and high CSAT scores.

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