Customers with questions or concerns about a product or service often reach customer service representatives for help. Customer service reps must be adept at communicating with people to excel in this position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employment for CSRs is expected to increase by 15 percent between 2010 and 2020. As of May 2012, the national average hourly rate for this occupation is $15.92.
The May 2012 BLS notes that pipeline transportation of natural gas is the highest paying industry for customer service representatives. The average hourly rate in this industry is $25.79. Railroad rolling stock manufacturing is the second highest paying industry, with $23.56 as an average hourly rate. Aerospace product and parts manufacturing is the third top paying industry. The mean hourly rate pays $23.38. Business support services, insurance-related industries and insurance carriers have the highest levels of employment.
The highest paying state for customer service representatives is the District of Columbia, with an average hourly rate of $20.13. The second highest mean hourly rate is Massachusetts at $18.80. California is third, with an average hourly rate of $18.68. Note that Texas, California and Florida currently employ the most customer service representatives.
Metropolitan and Non-metropolitan
Napa, California is the metropolitan area paying the most at an average hourly rate of $25.04. San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California are second, paying an average hourly rate of $22.83. Third is Columbus, Indiana, with an average hourly rate of $21.52. The non-metropolitan area of Los Alamos County in New Mexico has the highest rate of employment for this occupation. The non-metropolitan areas of Far Eastern North Dakota and Southwest Alaska respectively have the second and third highest levels of employment.
A customer service representative job is typically a nonexempt position. Nonexempt means you must receive at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher. You also qualify for overtime under federal and state law. If your employer allows you to work overtime, it could boost your income significantly. Overtime must be compensated at 1.5 times your regular hourly rate. The state regulates whether your employer must pay double-time if you work on specific days, or more than a certain number of hours in a week.
Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.