Everything you need to know about hiring a remote customer service representative

In today’s market, after-sales is just as important as point-of-sale. That’s why you need equally good CSRs as you have salespeople. So what do you need to know about hiring a customer service representative?

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C9 Staff deploys globally distributed teams of remote professionals across 35 international labor markets including the Philippines. Please fill out the information below to schedule a free introductory call with one of our account executives to learn more about our global staffing services.

Table of Contents


What is a Customer Service Representative?


Why are Customer Service Representatives Important?

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Important Skills and Traits of a Customer Service Representative


Where to Hire Customer Service Representatives


Hiring Considerations

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C9 Staff Customer Service Representatives

What is a Customer Service Representative?

Any company that sells goods or services to an end-consumer, whether it’s B2C or B2B, knows the relationship doesn’t end at the point of sale. And while the salesperson takes care of the customer until he or she makes a purchase, the customer service representative picks up the relationship right after.

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There are businesses set up where the first point of contact is a customer service representative before they are turned over to sales, but ultimately, the relationship boomerangs back to the CSR after a sale is made.

And in that sense, a customer service representative has the heavier responsibility of creating a repeat customer, a long-term client, a life-long fan, or the exact opposite of all that.

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Why are Customer Service
Representatives Important?

As previously illustrated, a customer service representative has the ability to “extend” customer relations beyond the point of sale. In fact, in businesses where they’re the first point of contact, CSR interaction can directly result in a sale.
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Either way, CSRs are generally in charge of that portion of the salesflow known as after-sales. They take care of the concerns of the people who have just made a purchase from the company. Whether the purchase was for goods or services, CSRs take care of customer concerns, negative or positive, after the purchase.

And this underscores the real importance of having good CSRs.

When a customer who’s neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with a purchase calls customer service, the CSR has the power to turn indifference into a positive experience. When a satisfied customer calls customer service, the CSR can further reinforce satisfaction. Finally, when a dissatisfied customer calls customer service, the CSR can lessen dissatisfaction (and even turn it into a positive experience) by providing excellent customer service.

Important Skills and Traits of a Customer Service Representative

The following are important skills and traits of excellent customer service representatives:
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Empathy – customer service representatives need to know how to put themselves in the customer’s proverbial shoes. It’s often not enough to say, “I understand…” but to actually do so from the customers’ standpoint.

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Listening skills – the key to empathy is being able to listen closely to customers to be able to understand their true concerns and address them effectively and efficiently.

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Critical thinking – a huge part of a CSR’s work is understanding the real problem and proving a solution that directly addresses the problem. This takes critical thinking especially in instances where the CSR is dealing with an emotional or irate customer.

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Ability to adapt quickly – CSRs are usually asked to resolve customer issues speedily and this calls for adaptability and a deep understanding of the company’s inner workings.

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Being receptive to new things – sometimes marketing strategies of companies change without a moment’s notice and this can create nightmare scenarios for CSRs. Nevertheless, CSRs need to be receptive to such changes and be able to adjust how they handle things accordingly.

Where to Hire Customer Service Representatives

Like most professionals nowadays, one can easily find CSRs online. It’s only a matter of vetting them as far as experience and capability are concerned.

The first thing you need to decide when deciding to hire a CSR is whether you want to hire a local or a remote one.

The advantages of hiring locally include:

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Ease of access and the ability to work with you face to face – it’s always easier to work with someone face to face.

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Less cultural and social adjustment needed – you’re most probably living in the same city as your CSR so you’re in the same time zone, speak the same language and share the same culture. This makes work so much smoother.

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Better team-building opportunities – being in the same place physically creates plenty of opportunity to train, collaborate, build rapport, and get feedback.

On the other hand, hiring local talent can have the following disadvantages:

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Specific skill sets can be harder to find – if you’re limited to a particular geographical area, finding a rockstar will be challenging.

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Overhead expenses – if you hire locally, you’ll be obligated to keep an office which means you have to pay rent, pay for supplies, pay for electricity and other utilities. If you already have an office, you’ll have to provide your new hire with a work space which translates to the same thing – increased overhead.

Here are the advantages of hiring remotely

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Access to a global pool of talents – you’re not limited to who’s available in your city and what they know. Hiring remotely gives you access to talented CSRs from different countries who may even charge relatively smaller fees than local recruits.

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Little to no overhead – most remote workers work from home so you don’t need to worry about providing them with work spaces. However, for some full-time remote workers, you may be required to subsidize their internet connection, computer equipment etc. But these costs are still far less compared to local overhead expenses.

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Less contractual obligation – you can initially hire CSRs on a per-project basis. If you like their work, continue to give them projects to work on. If you don’t, just don’t give them any more tasks to perform and that’s that.

On the other hand,

Here are the disadvantages of hiring remote workers:

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Trial and error – you can’t really gauge the level of expertise, experience and even work ethic of the remote worker until you take a leap of faith and hire them. The good news is, if you don’t like their performance on the first project, you can just part ways right then and there.
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Time constraints – if you hire a remote CSR, especially one that lives overseas, you need to understand right off the bat that you’re asking them to work in your time-zone which is usually opposite theirs. While more experienced remote CSRs are aware of this and find no issue with it, you may experience some issues when you’re dealing with newer CSRs.

That being said, a few places where you can find CSRs online. Note that in some of these websites, you’ll have the option to hire either locally or remotely. It’s all up to you, your needs and your budget:

Upwork (local and remote) – geared more towards the US market. You can post a CSR job, and available contractors can start lining up to apply. All you’d need to do is choose the best candidate.

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People Per Hour (remote and local) – geared more towards the European market. Just like Upwork, you post a job and contractors will apply. You can choose the best candidate and go from there.

C9 Staff (remote) – specializes in providing remote staffing services from a global pool of talents, including CSRs from over 35 top international talent markets. It is considered a concierge service where you don’t simply hire a CSR (or any other kind of remote worker for that matter), you hire a CSR with an entire management service behind him to keep him accountable and always on his toes. This is ideal for people looking to hire the best and expecting to get the best while keeping costs relatively competitive.

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Hiring Considerations

When looking to hire a CSR, whether it be local or remote, there are a few important considerations you have to keep in mind.

Do you already have a working customer service department that you just want to augment? Or is this your first time to create a customer service department? Do you plan to integrate a remote CSR into an existing team? Or do you intend to build a team of remote CSRs?

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Next, what level of experience or proficiency would you like your CSR to have? Would you be okay with a mid-level one or are you looking for a senior level one?

Finally, how much do you have to spend? Do you have just enough for a newbie CSR? Is your pocket deep enough for a part-time or even a full-time recruit? Are you ready to spend good money on a senior-level CSR salary or is your budget pointing towards a mid-level one?

Our Clients at C9 Staff

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C9 Staff Customer Service Representatives

Here at C9 Staff, we have CSRs in all levels of proficiency. Whether you need a mid-level one (with 1-3 years experience) or a senior level one (with 4 years experience or more), we have a CSR that fits your needs.
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