International Customer Service Rep: Learn About the Role

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 23, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Customer service is an integral part of any business that conducts sales to consumers. Companies with international sales have even greater needs, handled by expanded customer service departments with representatives who manage support for another country or a variety of countries. If you're interested in becoming a customer service representative, learning more about this type of international role can help you determine your career path.

In this article, we explain what an international customer service representative is, describe what those in this role do, give a step-by-step guide to how to become one and review some frequently asked questions and their answers about pursuing this role.

What is an international customer service representative?

An international customer service representative is a customer service professional who works for a company that caters to several countries at a time. Typically, they offer support to clients or prospective customers of a company by answering phone calls and emails requesting help. It's also common for those in this role to help with digital support, technology help, handling orders, solving issues with shipping and offering solutions for clients.

Related: Learn About Being a Customer Service Representative

What does an international customer service representative do?

Typically, international customer service representatives complete a variety of different tasks in their daily work. While duties may vary based on the company and countries involved, it's common for customer service representatives to have the following responsibilities:

Respond to complaints

An international customer service representative responds to any complaints their customers may have. When customers find issues or experience problems with their product, program or service, it's the responsibility of the international customer service representatives to resolve them.

They may provide complaining customers with discounts on future purchases and free replacement items or discounted replacement items. Depending on the severity of the concerns that the customer poses, international customer service representatives may transfer customers to their superior.

Inform customers of product, program and service information

International customer service representatives shares information about their company's products, programs or services with customers and prospective customers. They usually share details, including pricing, options and specifications of their products.

It's also common for the international customer service representative to explain how to use these products, how to purchase them and how long it takes to receive them. It's common for international customer service representatives to use a script or pre-written document with informative details about these products as a reference when answering questions.

Answer customer questions

Prospective customers and customers alike often contact international customer service representatives with questions they have about a company's products, programs or services. As a result, international customer service representatives usually respond to customer questions over the phone, online through chat services or through email. Prospective clients may also contact an international customer service representative to learn more about an item before making a purchase or researching the product themselves.

Related: Working in Customer Service: Everything You Need To Know

Record engagements with customers

International customer service representatives usually have to record all engagements with prospective customers and customers. They may do this to show productivity levels, inform management of how much help the company needs in terms of customer service and help document common solutions to problems. They may also do this to update client records.

Process orders and handle returns

It's extremely common for international customer service representatives to handle orders directly and facilitate item returns. Those in this role may complete these tasks via email, instant messenger or over the phone. If necessary and possible, international customer service representatives may apply a return credit to the customer's account, reimburse customers, cancel orders, approve orders and returns and confirm orders and returns.

Related: FAQ: Ideas for Improving Customer Service

How to become an international customer service representative

These steps provide a general guide to this career path. However, there may be additional or fewer steps, depending on your ideal company and any international requirements specific to their sales. Consider the following steps as you seek a job as an international customer service representative:

1. Earn a degree

It's common for international customer service representatives to have a college degree. This may be an associate degree or a bachelor's degree. Typically, those in the role have a degree in customer service, business or customer service management.

Related: How To Answer "What Is Customer Service?" in an Interview

2. Gain experience

Gaining experience in customer service can help you advance into a role as an international customer service representative. You may gain this experience in a variety of ways, such as a part-time retail position, a customer service internship or entry-level customer service representative experience.

A business may want to hire internally and look for an employee with experience in their U.S. customer service division. Gaining experience at a company can prove your skills and ability to handle an international market.

3. Research job postings

Once you've obtained a degree and have experience in the field, you can look for international customer service representative job postings. Besides asking your current company about advancement opportunities, you can browse professional networking websites, social media, specific company websites and local newspapers.

Related: FAQ: How Do I Get a Customer Service Job?

4. Obtain job-specific training

Once you accept a job offer and start a position, you may receive training from the company that's specific to your position. This may involve learning detailed information about products, services and shipping methods, receiving scripts of answers to questions, and reviewing company protocols and procedures. It also may include legal requirements pertaining to the countries you may support.

FAQs about being an international customer service rep

There are often questions about what being an international customer service representative entails. Here are some of these questions and their answers:

How much does an international customer service representative make?

The average national salary for an international customer service representative is $60,600 per year. This type of representative position may be subject to commission and bonus, which would increase the yearly salary. However, salary may also vary depending on factors such as company, location and level of experience.

What skills does an international customer service representative have?

Typically, international customer service representatives have a variety of different skills that allow them to succeed in their role. These skills often include:

  • Written and oral communication skills

  • Problem-solving

  • Technology proficiency

  • Patience

  • Social awareness

  • Collaboration

  • Interpersonal skills

Related: 7 Transferable Customer Service Skills and Related Jobs (With Resume Tips)

What's the work environment for an international customer service representative?

Typically, international customer service representatives work in an environment that's similar to a standard call center. It's typically a medium-paced, mildly loud setting with several desks and computers lined up in a row with extensive lighting. It's possible that international customer service representatives may be able to work from home, depending on their company.

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