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Customer Support Specialist: Job Duties & Career Info

Customer support specialists provide service or product information, solutions and relevant details to customers. They are sociable individuals with a knack for providing professional and clear answers to customer's requests. The field of customer service is expected to experience growth in the next decade.

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Career Definition

When customers have questions, complaints or suggestions about a company's service or product, they turn to customer support specialists' representatives for answers. Customer support specialists provide specific information regarding the services, products or materials offered by a company. They answer phones, provide troubleshooting information, report and analyze customers' information and needs, issue billing details and open and close customer accounts. In summary, they are the direct link between a company and its existing and potential customers.

How to Become a Customer Support Specialist

Required Education

Most customer service specialist positions do not require an education above a high school diploma. However, many companies prefer customer service specialists to have college experience, making a bachelor's or associate's degree in business administration an appealing option. Aside from these degrees, many companies require industry-specific in-house training.

Skills Required

Customer service specialists must have well-developed verbal and written communication skills. They must have a thorough knowledge of the service or product and be able to describe its functions, features and details to customers. Customer service specialists must be able to respond to customer complaints, requests and inquiries in a professional and timely manner. They should have good organizational skills, a general knowledge of Microsoft Office computer programs and be effective multi-taskers.

Economic and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, customer service representatives are expected to see an increase in job opportunities, from around 2.3 million in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2022. In 2012, 16% of the employed customer service representatives worked in administrative and support services. According to the BLS, customer service representatives had a median salary of $30,580 in May 2012. Although many businesses are relying on the Internet and foreign companies to handle service and product support, the demand for customer support specialists is expected to increase at a steady pace of 13% from 2012-2022.

Alternate Career Options

Computer Support Specialist

With varying degrees of postsecondary education, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree, depending on the position, these specialists give individuals or information technology employees advice about computer equipment and software products. A faster than average employment growth of 17% was predicted by the BLS, from 2012-2022, for this occupation that paid an annual median wage of $48,900 in 2012.

Receptionist

Often securing positions with a high school diploma and computer proficiency, receptionists may answer phones, use computers, provide information, schedule appointments and greet visitors, depending on the work setting. The BLS reported median earnings of $25,990 per year for receptionists in 2012. The projected average job growth was 14% for receptionists from 2012 through 2022.

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