Millennials are changing the customer service industry–both as consumers and as workers. Many young people tend to get their start in customer service at retail stores or cool start-ups and work their way up in the company. But most businesses are always hiring for customer service positions, which means they tend to have lots of employees and everyone gets paid the same, low pay.
Though wage can vary depending on your location, company and experience in the field, the average salary of a customer service representative in the United States is $34,780. The job won’t be disappearing anytime soon, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in the customer service industry are growing at a 10% faster rate than any other occupation. The job is in demand, but that doesn’t mean you should accept low pay.
While it’s easy to accept the first salary offer that comes your way in any job, what many people might not realize (or know how to do) is negotiate your salary to start off a little better than the rest of your co-workers. In the customer service industry, if you have years of experience or have amazing communication skills, you likely deserve a raise. But is it okay to ask for one?
The answer, of course, is yes. For any job, you can always negotiate your salary–you just need to know the right way to do so. So if you’re going to negotiate your salary in your customer service position, what do you need to know?
Don’t be afraid to negotiate–put your skills to the test!
Customer service jobs are competitive because companies usually get a ton of applications. But, that reality makes many workers feel afraid to ask for a raise because they know the company can easily replace them with someone willing to take their salary offer.
Consider this: if you received an offer for the job, it means the company wants you because you’re the top choice and most experienced applicant.
If you keep that in mind, you shouldn’t feel worried about negotiating pay. Both you and the company know you are the most qualified candidate, and since customer service is all about communication, put your skills to the test and tell the hiring manager what you think you deserve to be paid. That should help you seal the deal!
[Related: 10 Dos & Dont’s of Salary Negotiation]
The customer is always right–so prove they are right about you.
If you’ve been working the same customer service position for years without an increase in pay, it’s time for you to consider negotiating your salary.
A great way to prove the salary you want is what you’re worth is to show your manager just how good at your job you are. Depending on what kind of customer service position you’re working, for example, answering phones, responding to e-mails, live chat or a more customer facing position in the retail or food industries, try and collect examples of positive feedback you have received from actual customers. If your job does performance reviews, you can use those as a reference for your work ethic to make your case.
Plus, if you’re constantly receiving praise from the company’s customers, bringing that to your negotiation will help your boss see just how valuable you are. If they have been hesitant about your salary offer, they might change their mind once they see what a strong asset you are.
[Related: The Number 1 Skill You Need to Master At Work Is...]
Customer service representatives put up with a lot so don’t settle on salary.
Most young workers settle for the first salary they receive, usually because it’s their first job and they aren’t aware you can even negotiate salary. When you receive your offer, if your gut reaction is that the pay is too low and you won’t be able to make ends meet living on it, don’t settle for it if you know you deserve more.
If you have years of experience in customer service and are switching to a new job, consider what you were making in your last position and make sure this new job is paying more. You know how to do this job well and the company knows you’re going to be a good asset, so don’t put up with a low salary offer just because you’re used to putting up with the demands of customers.
If the salary doesn’t meet your expectation, that doesn’t mean you should double it or ask for a huge salary that you would love to have. Rather, consider taking a realistic approach by comparing the salary offer with other companies and other positions within the field. You should be able to find an amount that’s a little higher and leaves room for the company to negotiate with you.
If you do your homework and come up with a counter offer that is realistic, you’ll likely be successful in your negotiation.