How to Hire a Customer Service Associate

Does your growing business need a customer service associate? A customer service associate consults with customers to resolve their queries and answer their questions.

Here are some tips to help you find great customer service associate candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Customer service associates searching for jobs on Indeed*


job seekers that clicked customer service associate jobs


resumes for job seekers with customer service associate experience on Indeed


customer service associate jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring a customer service associate?

  • Common wage in US: $13.60 per hour
  • Typical wages range from $7.25$26.25 per hour
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – December 2020

As of December 2020, customer service associate jobs in the US are less competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 39 job seekers per customer service associate job.

Why hire a customer service associate?

A dependable customer service associate maintains high customer retention levels by providing excellent levels of customer service. Choosing the right person for your customer service associate role(s) helps in ensuring a positive customer experience and more repeat business for your company. Other contributions of great customer service associates include:

  • Handling customer service calls and all enquiries for a company’s products and/or services
  • Identifying, pursuing and promoting sales leads for converting new customers
  • Ensuring customer queries are handled in a timely manner to maintain high customer retention

Deciding between a full-time vs part-time customer service associate

Before writing a customer service associate job description or interviewing candidates, it’s important to decide if you need a full-time or part-time customer service associate (and what your budget will allow).

Consider your business’s needs before hiring a part-time or full-time customer service associate. For example, how many customers enter your store per day? How many calls and emails do you receive from customers each week? You may find that you have enough work for a full-time employee or that a part-time customer service associate would be a better fit.

What are the different types of customer service associates?

When hiring a customer service associate, it’s important to understand the specific kind of customer service associate you need for your business. Here are some of the most common types of customer service associates to help you find one that meets your needs:

  • Call center representative: Answers incoming customer calls and makes outgoing sales-related calls.
  • Front desk agent: Typically serves guests at hotels, answering guest calls, checking customers into their rooms and ensuring guests have enjoyable experiences.
  • Retail associate: Serves as the first line of your customer service team in a retail store setting.
  • Technical support specialist: Assists customers with computer and tech-related problems and questions.

Where to find customer service associates

To find the right customer service associate for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Ask for referrals: Ask your current employees if they know anyone who would be a good fit for your customer service associate position.
  • Post help wanted ads: Create eye-catching help wanted signs and post them in your business’s window to attract customer service associate candidates.
  • Post your job online: Try posting your customer service associate job on Indeed to find and attract quality customer service associate candidates.

Skills to look for in a great customer service associate

Review the skills and qualifications of all customer service associate candidates before making a hiring decision. Skills, education and qualifications to look for include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Familiarity with CRM practices, databases and MS Office
  • Past proven experience interacting with customers
  • Excellent phone, verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to prioritize and multitask
  • Optional: bilingual

Writing a customer service associate job description

Write an effective job description with a list of job responsibilities, duties and necessary skills to find suitable customer service associate candidates.

When writing your customer service associate job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on customer service associate jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • customer service
  • customer service representative
  • remote work from home
  • work from home customer service
  • call center
  • call center representative
  • hiring immediately
  • data entry
  • retail

Interviewing customer service associate candidates

After you’ve reviewed the resumes of your top customer service associate candidates, ask meaningful interview questions to gain insight into a job candidate’s experience, personality traits and skills in order to find a customer-oriented, focused customer service associate. Strong candidates for customer service associate positions will be confident when answering a variety of questions about the following topics:

  • Past experience with handling and interacting with customers
  • Knowledge and experience of CRM systems and MS Office
  • How they’ve excelled at enhancing customer retention by managing customer relationships

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of customer service associate interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a customer service associate

What is a virtual customer service associate?

Virtual customer service associates typically perform their duties from home or another location outside of an office (e.g., coffee shop, coworking space). Employers usually provide virtual customer service associates with equipment, such as a laptop and a headset, so they can support customers from any location.

What is the dress code for customer service associates?

How customer service associates dress depends on the business, industry and your dress code. If your customer service associates work in retail, for example, you may require them to wear a uniform with the store’s logo. If your customer service associates work in a call center, you may require them to wear business casual or even have a less strict dress code since their communication with customers won’t be in person.

It’s up to you to decide, but take into consideration whether or not your customer service associates will be interacting with customers in person, your company’s brand and the image you want to convey.

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