Tips to Negotiate Your Customer Service Representative Salary

Brandi Glass
April 45 min read
A Man and a Woman Working in a Call Center

Negotiating your salary can be intimidating, but whether you're a new recruit or an experienced customer service representative, it's always worth asking for a higher wage.

If you’re considering negotiating your salary, keep reading. We'll provide you with all the information you need, from the average call center representative salary in the US to when you should ask for a higher wage. We’ll also share essential tips and tricks for discussing your salary with your manager, including compelling reasons for a raise and example phrases.

What is the Average Customer Service Representative Salary in the US?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average customer service representative salary in 2021 was $36,920. 80% of customer service representatives earned between $26,340 and $58,640.

That said, customer service representative salaries vary significantly depending on the industry. Postal Service customer service representatives working for the federal government earned an average of $69,180, almost twice the national average. Meanwhile, business support customer service representatives had an average national salary of $33,430.

Location can also affect the average call center representative salary. For example, in the District of Columbia, customer service representative wages averaged $48,590. In Idaho, however, the mean annual customer service representative salary was $33,960.

When Should You Negotiate Your Customer Service Representative Salary?

You should negotiate your customer service representative salary when first offered the role, and on an annual basis after that.

Even if you have no experience as a customer service representative, it's worth negotiating your starting salary. More than 50% of employers are willing to offer a higher entry-level salary if the applicant asks for it.

You should never wait more than a year before asking for a raise. Employers expect you to negotiate your salary every year. Additionally, rising inflation rates mean that failing to ask for a pay increase could lead to you having less spending power than a year ago.

You can also ask for a higher salary if you're taking on additional responsibilities or have received a competitive offer from a different company. However, employers are less likely to respond positively if this comes shortly after receiving a pay rise.

Reasons to Ask for a Higher Customer Service Representative Salary

When negotiating your customer service representative salary, you'll need strong reasons to convince your boss that you deserve a raise. Here are some of the best reasons you can give:

  • The average customer service representative salary for your industry, location, company or experience level
  • Your above-average expertise, experience or track record
  • Taking on increasing responsibilities at work
  • Completing professional development
  • Your current or previous salary
  • Salary offers from competing companies
  • The increasing cost of living or inflation

How to Negotiate your Call Center Representative Salary in 5 Steps

Good preparation will help you successfully negotiate a higher salary. Here's what you should do:

1. Do Your Research

No matter what reason you give, you want to back up your argument with data. The more informed you are, the easier it will be to make a convincing case for a higher salary offer.

We've already explored common reasons to ask for a higher salary, such as average salaries in your industry or an increase in inflation rates. Your first step in negotiating your call center representative salary should be researching this information.

2. Decide the Salary You Want — And the Salary You’ll Accept

Based on your research and personal circumstances, it's time to decide how much of a pay rise you're going to ask for. It's worth coming up with two figures: the amount you'll ask for and the amount you will accept if the company counter offers.

3. Prepare Your Case

You’ll need to convince your manager or the hiring officer that it’s worth agreeing to your requested salary increase. Prepare your arguments ahead of time to help you confidently discuss them in the meeting. For example, you could say:

“While I appreciate that my salary is in line with what the company typically pays for new recruits, I come with three years of experience as a customer service representative in this industry. I’ll be able to leverage my industry know-how and well-honed customer service skills to hit the ground running.”

Or:

“I’ve recently taken on the responsibility of training new staff members, which has led to a 12% reduction in call duration on our team and a 5% increase in customer satisfaction rates on the post-call survey.”

4. Ask

Finally, after all this research and preparation, it’s time to ask for a higher salary. If you’re a current employee, you can email or tell your manager something like:

“I’d appreciate having a meeting to discuss my job performance and salary. When would work for you?”

Alternatively, if you’re asking for a higher starting salary at a new company, you can say:

“I’m excited by the possibility of working at your company. However, I was hoping for a higher salary offer based on [your reasons]. Would you be willing to offer [your ideal rate]?”

5. Negotiate

Your manager might agree to your request or deny it outright. Often, however, they’ll come back with a counter-offer. You can choose to accept this or negotiate.

Negotiating won’t always be successful. Sometimes, managers will tell you that they’ve already made their best offer. However, even if they won’t budge, you can ask if there would be room to revisit the salary six months later based on your performance in the role.

Start Salary Negotiations off on the Right Foot

Successful salary negotiations begin by convincing your manager or potential new employer of your value to the company. That's why a well-written resume is an important tool in salary negotiations.

If you’re negotiating your starting salary, recruiters will review your resume before making an offer. And even if you're already established in the role, a polished resume will help you underscore your worth as an employee. Plus, having a resume ready to go can give you the confidence you need to begin job-hunting if your salary negotiations don't go as well as you were hoping for.

Your resume should highlight your strongest features, in addition to being customized to the role and company in question. It also needs to be machine-readable, so you can beat an applicant tracking system, and be professionally designed.

Crafting a winning resume doesn't have to be hard work, however. Here at Rocket Resume, we've got dozens of customer service representative and sales manager resume templates that will help you get started. Plus, our resume builder will talk you through the process of adapting your template. It will suggest the best structure based on your professional experiences, along with recruiter-approved phrasing for describing your skill sets and work history.

You can write your resume in 10 minutes with our tools. Build your resume now so you can achieve an attractive customer service representative salary.