Customer service is a critical area of business that connects companies to their customers. Customer service representatives answer customers’ questions and help customers resolve problems with a company’s products and services. It is essential for customer service representatives to be tactful and patient, as they often have to deal directly with frustrated and angry customers. Customer service courses are designed to prepare students for careers in customer service, client relations or sales support. If you would like to pursue a career in this growing field, undergoing customer service training can improve your knowledge and skills, as well as boost your job prospects.
Customer Service Certification and Degree Options
Often referred to as service management, programs focusing on customer service are most commonly offered as certificate and associate’s degree programs. However, there are also sales and business programs at the bachelor’s and master’s degree level, which have customer service or service management as a concentration.
Certification programs can take from six weeks to a year to complete, whereas associate’s degree programs typically last two years and bachelor’s degree programs will take four years. Master’s degree programs are one to two additional years beyond the bachelor’s degree. Customer service specialists who want to pursue a doctoral degree can go on to earn a PhD in management, which can last from three to five years.
Customer Service Program Curriculum
Applicants to undergraduate degree programs in customer service typically must have a high school diploma or GED, a minimum required GPA, and minimum required SAT/ACT scores. Applicants to graduate degree programs in customer service generally need to have a bachelor’s degree, a minimum required GPA, and minimum required GRE/GMAT scores.
Students enrolled in customer service classes are provided with a strong foundation in business fundamentals, such as finance, accounting, management, sales, marketing, and organizational communication. Areas of specialization that students may pursue include hospitality management, mass-market retail, information technology, sales, and food service management. Courses might include study in:
- Organizational psychology
- Financial accounting
- Workplace management
- Quality assurance
- Human resource management
- Business strategy & policy
The expertise gained in customer service programs can be applied to a variety of fields, including retail and wholesale, food and hospitality, telecommunications, manufacturing, and healthcare.
Job Prospects for Customer Service Certification Holders
The success of every business depends on its ability to provide customers with a high level of service that meets or exceeds their expectations. Customer service reps interact with customers on behalf of an organization by taking orders, listening to their needs and concerns, providing information about products and services, handling complaints, and researching answers or solutions.
Good customer service is crucial for retaining existing customers, as well as growing a business. As a result, employers are demanding an increasingly skilled workforce. Many entry-level customer service positions require candidates to have at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. With a degree, you may qualify for positions like customer service representative, call center manager, director of client relations or communication system analyst.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, customer service representatives earned a median annual wage of $30,580 per year in 2012. The employment of customer service representatives is expected to grow by 15% from 2010 to 2020. With further education and/or experience, customer service reps may qualify for supervisory or management positions. The median annual wage for all management occupations was $93,910.
If you work well with people and have strong analytical, decision-making, and communication skills, consider entering the field of customer service. Every business understands the importance of keeping customers happy, and many companies are looking for ways to improve and measure customer service. The skills and knowledge you gain in a customer service degree program could prepare you for a variety of jobs in an array of industries. If you would like to build a rewarding business career, pursue customer service training today.