Customer service is a core function critical to the success of many business sectors, from retail to banking to healthcare. The call-center industry, a key sector for jobs in customer service, comprises approximately 4,200 companies with combined annual revenue of about $16 billion, according to Hoovers. Some of the largest employers offering customer service jobs are Convergys, Sitel, TeleTech and West.
The industry is concentrated: The 50 largest companies pull in more than 50 percent of revenue.
Customer Service Job Market
Customer service representative (CSR) is the most common position in the field. CSRs held nearly 2.2 million jobs in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). CSR jobs in client support and other functions are projected to grow by 15 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations, the BLS reports. More than 338,000 customer service job opportunities are expected to open up over the projection decade.
Customer service work is available with in-house departments as well as with companies that serve as third-party providers. In lean times, companies are willing to pay for additional customer help only when it's justified by potential additional sales, or when required to prevent dissatisfied customers from defecting.Knowledge of customer relationship management systems is a requirement of more and more customer service careers. CSRs must be prepared to have their every move monitored and measured, all with the goal of providing more efficient service.
Employment in customer service encompasses a range of occupations, including customer service representative, customer service coordinator, customer service manager, computer support specialist and sales associate.
Customer Service Salaries
Median annual wages for customer service representatives in May 2011 were $30,610, according to the BLS. The middle 50 percent of CSRs earned between $24,220 and $39,010. The top 10 percent earned nearly $50,000.