Day in the life of
Customer Service Rep – Jayson Bautista
Seven years ago, straight out of college, I worked for about a year as a Customer Service Representative for an American telco company.
As it was a call center job, I would say that 90% of my shift was spent taking phone calls, with the rest for other ad hoc tasks like coaching and research. My job included answering billing inquiries such as resolving overcharges and processing refunds. I also answered basic technical questions about the customers’ phone, internet, and TV. Some calls didn’t have a particular category though, customers simply wanted to raise a complaint and I simply needed to listen and show empathy.
We worked 8-hour shifts, and since the call center operated 24 hours, our shifts could start anytime. Call centers are typically big on reaching service level agreements, so they were very strict with schedule adherence. If my shift started at 9 am, I needed to be logged in with all my tools ready before then because at exactly 9 am, calls would start coming in. This meant having to come in at least 30 minutes early so I could read and respond to emails, be aware of product updates, and psychologically prepare myself for a day of calls.
The scope of support was pretty wide, so there were billings calls (billing inquiries, disputes, payment arrangements), customer service calls (product inquiries, orders, general how-to), and technical calls (how to reset their modem, setting up their Wi-Fi, connecting their devices, finding missing channels, etc etc.) I would say that technical calls typically took the longest to resolve since they depended a lot on the customer’s ability to follow along. Billing calls were challenging too in that customers sometimes refused to acknowledge certain charges or would insist on having their services reconnected despite an outstanding balance.
The work schedule could be crazy, and although you’re entitled to a one-hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks, it’s not really guaranteed as to what time you can take them. Sometimes, your lunch break would be deferred to a later time because of high call volumes at the time you were originally scheduled to take it.
- Relatively easy to get in. I was fresh out of college and had zero experience except for waiting tables at a McDonald’s, but I didn’t have any problems getting in. Of course, I was applying for an entry-level position and it would probably be different for managers or specialist positions like training and quality.
- Super casual work environment. No jackets or ties required. You could just wear a t-shirt to work.
- Crazy shift schedules. Like I mentioned above, your 8-hour shift could be scheduled anytime during a 24-hour day. This was of course because I was working for a telco. I think it would be different if I was working for a government office’s customer service or a financial institution.
- Stress. This is not exclusive to customer service jobs, there’s stress everywhere. But compared to the other jobs I’ve had since then, stress was relatively higher in customer service. There were very high metrics that needed to be hit. And sometimes, there were many customers with unreasonable expectations and demeanor when talking to you.
- Not much professional growth. Of course, some people get promoted, but I feel like there wasn’t much by way of training so as to set you up for success. I remember everyone seemed to want to leave as soon as they could.
Customer Service Reps
interact with customers to provide basic or scripted information in response to routine inquiries about products and services. May handle and resolve general complaints. Excludes individuals whose duties are primarily installation, sales, repair, and technical support.