Customer service representatives focus on satisfaction - East Valley Tribune: Business

Customer service representatives focus on satisfaction

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Posted: Monday, September 25, 2006 1:24 pm | Updated: 3:45 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Jamie Meeker thrives on the home building business. But she doesn’t hammer a nail, paint a wall or even lay down one brick. Meeker’s job is to make sure the home buyer is happy with how all that is done.

At Hacienda Builders, Meeker is one of three client managers, a newly created post to walk home buyers from contract signing to picking up new keys.

“I really enjoy working with people, the challenges, talking to people, trying to problem solve, put out fires and turn things around. I want to make as many happy customers as possible,” Meeker said.

Customer service representatives work in a variety of industries: From retail, telecommunications and mortgage companies to homebuilders, insurance firms and business support services.

Meeker began in customer service years ago at a bank call center. She then spent eight years working for a flooring company, which was a subcontractor with Hacienda Builders. That led to her employment with Hacienda Builders a year ago.

Hacienda Builders was recently named in the top 15 for new homebuilder customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates in a survey of regional builders.

Beingincustomerservicemeans being patient and detail oriented, Meeker said. She first meets with buyers during a new-home buyer reception/orientation hosted by Hacienda Builders. Then she walks buyers through the process from the design center to the closing.

“We express the point that it’s a team effort to build the perfect house for them,” she said.

In between her scheduled times to talk to clients, she also fields calls, questions and concerns the buyers may have.

Recently, she helped a buyer walk through a difficult time with a pool builder. After the buyer had possession of his new home he contracted an independent company to build a pool; however, the pool builder had trouble with the position of the air-conditioning pad. Meeker made some calls and mediated the situation and within a week construction began on the pool, she said. “He was really happy,” she said.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, created by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, customer service representatives held 2.1 million jobs in 2004, the most recent data available. One out of four positions were in finance and insurance.

The job outlook is favorable and many positions offer scheduling flexibility. One out of five was parttime.

“Furthermore, the job responsibilities of customer service representatives are expanding. As companies downsize or take other measures to increase profitability, workers are being trained to perform additional duties such as opening bank accounts or crossselling products. As a result, employers may increasingly prefer customer service representatives who have education beyond high school, such as some college or even a college degree,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor Web site.

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