by Abdel Abuisneineh
Illinois Car Insurance Expert
CSR Job Market and Pay
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that for the 2012 year, the average wage for CSRs in the field similar to ours “Insurance carriers and related activities” is $16.44 per hour, the highest among the list of industries stated by the Bureau. Employment of customer service representatives is estimated to rise by 13 percent from 2012 to 2022; or 2 percentage points above the increase for “all occupations.” (n.p). In the exact business line of our organization, Insurance agencies and brokerages with SIC code of 524210, the percentage of growth for the same period of time was determined to be 16.7%. Chicago area CSRs make about the average, just like in most other professions.
Literature was reviewed to determine the skills necessary for CSRs to posses to contribute in the organization’s success. Bernthal and Davis (n.d.) have studied the essential customer service skills that are required from both the customers’ and providers’ perspectives. Their study came with the following list of core skills, rated as average rank:
(1) Listen carefully to what customers have to say.
(2) Interact with customers in a warm and friendly way.
(3) Take immediate action to meet customer needs or requests.
(4) Appear knowledgeable and well informed.
(5) Show sensitivity to customers' feelings and viewpoints.
(6) Ask questions to better understand customers’ situations.
(7) Express thoughts clearly and in a way that customers can understand.
(8) Follow through on promises or commitments.
(9) Go beyond customers' expectations when meeting their needs.
(10) Keep customers informed about new developments that might affect them.
(11) Respond to unusual customer requests with creative and flexible solutions.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) established the following list as important qualities in CSRs. The list broadly described the above characteristics.
Communication skills. Customer service representatives need strong communication skills to answer customers clearly. They must understand and communicate information effectively in writing, by phone, or in person.
Customer-service skills. Companies rely on representatives to help retain customers by answering customer questions and complaints in a helpful and professional manner.
Interpersonal skills. Creating positive interactions with customers is an essential part of a representative’s job.
Listening skills. Representatives must listen carefully and understand a customer’s situation in order to help them.
Patience. Workers should be patient and polite, especially when interacting with difficult or irate customers.
Problem-solving skills. Representatives must determine solutions to a customer’s problem. By resolving issues effectively, representatives contribute to customer loyalty and retention.
Bernthal, P. and Davis, J. H. S. (n.d.). Service skills in the workplace. Development Dimensions International, Inc. Retrieved on 09/15/2014 from https://www.ddiworld.com/DDIWorld/media/white-papers/ServiceSkillsWorkplace_mg_ddi.pdf?ext=.pdf
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The US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014).Customer Service Representative. (2014). US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on 9/10/2014 from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/customer-service- representatives.htm#tab-4
Turner, M. (2001). Creative hiring replaces yesterday's staid interview. Houston Business Journal. Retrieved on 09/09/2014 from http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2001/03/12/focus1.html?page=all