If you’re thinking about a career in customer service, you’ve probably already picked up on the fact that it’s a pretty broad field right now, with a lot of different types of jobs: agents, representatives, coordinators, specialists, managers, etc. But if you’ve got the people skills and the service skills to make this field part of your career plan, where do you direct your energy in order to find the best-paying customer service jobs?
Which titles should you look for?
One thing to keep in mind is that customer service job titles (much like customer service roles, as the corporate landscape changes and goes more digital) are often in flux. It used to be that you’d have a customer service representative, and maybe a manager. Now, on job search sites, you may see upwards of 30 different titles under the heading of “Customer Service.”
A recent study by ZipRecruiter found that the highest-paying customer service jobs were ones that either remixed the phrase “customer service representative,” or used slightly-less-traditional terminology (like “experience associate” or “service advisor”). The logic there is that jobs that seem to require more skills or experience (even if the duties are essentially the same as the more standard “customer service representative”) might not attract as many job seekers looking for that kind of job, making the market seem tighter for that position and driving up the wages.
So in your job search for the right customer service position, the thesaurus is your friend. Try branching out using synonyms to see what else comes up in your search results. Words like “experience,” “engagement,” and “advisor” are good places to start if you’re looking for more sophisticated search results.
Basically, job titles that suggest a more sophisticated job function are likely to have higher pay and are less likely to be entry-level positions. The ZipRecruiter survey found that there was about a 35% discrepancy in pay for customer service jobs across the title spectrum, even when the skill and experience requirements were roughly the same.
What are the current high-paying customer service job titles?
Based on national averages in the U.S., these were some of the highest-paid customer service positions (excluding clear management positions):
- Customer Experience Associate ($19 per hour, on average)
- Customer Engagement Representative ($19 per hour, on average)
- Customer Service Advisor ($18 per hour, on average)
- Customer Service Representative ($17 per hour, on average)
- Retail Customer Service Representative ($16 per hour, on average)
- Customer Service Sales Associate ($16 per hour, on average)
- Customer Service Professional ($14 per hour, on average)
- Bilingual Customer Service Representative ($14 per hour, on average)
These seemingly small distinctions can make a huge difference in the long term. The hourly difference between a Customer Experience Associate and a Customer Service Representative may only be $2 an hour on average, but that’s an $80 difference in a 40-hour work week, and a $5,000 difference in an average work year.
Most of the positions you’re going to encounter are going to use the standard “customer service representative” terminology, but the differentiating factor is often a word or two that suggests deeper experience or specific skills. For example, the “bilingual customer service representative” in the list requires a specialized skill set and can potentially have higher wages attached to it, depending on the current market for bilingual reps.
If you’re looking to bump up your customer service job search, the best way to start seeking out the more lucrative opportunities is to expand your job vocabulary. It may not seem like the biggest difference now, but it can have a huge impact on your career and future earnings.
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