In today’s always-connected and digitally savvy society, customer service has become an increasingly crucial role, vital to the consumer experience. A poor customer service experience can easily go viral on the Internet and damage a company’s brand for years to come.
Moreover, with the myriad ways to reach a company or brand, from social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to more traditional means like phone and email, customer service representatives need to increasingly juggle new technologies and learn new skill sets. Some of the important tasks customer service representatives perform include furnishing information about an organization’s products and services, handling complaints, and processing orders and returns.
In terms of employment, the role of customer service representative is the 6th most common job in the United States. Some of the important skills a customer service representative should have are problem-solving and computer skills. Maintaining a positive and professional demeanor at all times and displaying empathy towards customers are other traits that successful customer service representatives should have.
Almost all industries need customer service representatives, but what are the best places for customer services representatives to pursue their careers?
AdvisorSmith’s study of the customer service industry ranked 396 of the largest cities to discover the best cities for customer service representatives. We list the top 50 cities below. Additionally, we broke down our study by city size, examining the best small, midsize, and large cities for customer service representatives.
Best Cities for Customer Service Representatives
1. Midland, MI
Midland is located in Central Michigan in an area known as the Great Lakes Bay Region. The city once hosted Native American villages, leading later to fur trading operations, followed by logging and mill operations. The city was incorporated in 1887.
In 1890, Herbert Henry Dow moved to Midland and formed the Dow Chemical Company. This company, along with its offshoot, Dow Corning, as well as Chemical Bank, are all headquartered in Midland. The presence of these companies has created an abundance of high-quality customer service representative jobs in the city.
The city of Midland has 84% more customer service representative jobs compared with the average American city. Customer service representatives in Midland earned an average of $44,580, which is 25% above the national average. Additionally, Midland’s low cost of living, which is 9% below the average US city, provides an additional benefit for workers in the city.
2. Des Moines, IA
Des Moines is the capital and most populous city in the state of Iowa. Located along the Des Moines River, the city grew in importance when a railroad link was built, and the city became a center for coal mining. Today, Des Moines is notable for hosting the first caucuses for U.S. presidential primaries.
Des Moines is a center for the insurance industry, and also has a substantial financial services and publishing presence. Some of the major companies headquartered in Des Moines that provide jobs for customer service representatives include the Principal Financial Group, Meredith Corporation, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Customer service representatives in Des Moines earned an average wage of $39,550 while enjoying a cost of living that is 10% below the national average. The city also hosted 72% more customer service representative jobs than the average city.
3. Danville, IL
Danville, Illinois is a small city located about 120 miles south of Chicago. The city was historically a major industrial city and coal mining area. Many of these former industrial sites have been redeveloped into lakes and parks. Today, Danville hosts offices of McLane Midwest and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, both of which provide substantial customer service jobs.
Customer service representatives in Danville earn average salaries of $37,580, or $18.07 per hour, which is 5% above the national average. Additionally, Danville also benefits from very low costs of living, with the 3rd lowest cost of living in the cities in our study.
4. Green Bay, WI
Green Bay, Wisconsin is the third largest city in the state of Wisconsin. The city is situated on Green Bay, which is a bay on Lake Michigan. An important development for the city of Green Bay was the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, which linked the Great Lakes with New York City and the Atlantic Ocean. The construction of the canal led to Green Bay’s development as a trading center. Later, lumber and the arrival of the railroad spurred further development.
Today, in addition to hosting the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, Green Bay also hosts offices for health insurance companies, paper products companies, and logistics that provide career opportunities for customer service representatives. Customer service representatives in Green Bay earn an average salary of $36,960, which is 4% above the national average. The city also has 72% more customer service representative jobs per capita than the average U.S. city.
5. Syracuse, NY
Syracuse is a large city located in Central New York State named after the Greek city of Syracuse. The city was an important transportation hub, first with the opening of the Erie Canal, and later with the arrival of the railroad. After World War II, the city experienced major growth in manufacturing. Today, the city hosts multiple health centers, as well as Wegmans and Time Warner Cable offices, which provide jobs for customer service reps.
Syracuse has 19% more customer service jobs per capita than the average American city. Those customer service representatives earned an above average salary of $39,370 and benefit from Syracuse’s lower than average cost of living.
Top Cities for Customer Service Representatives by Population
Customer service representatives have diversified lifestyles depending upon city size, as some prefer large metro areas, while others enjoy the familiarity of smaller towns. We broke our analysis down by city size, highlighting the best small (population below 150,000), medium (population of 150,000-500,000) and large-sized (population above 500,000) cities for customer service representatives.
Top 50 Cities for Customer Service Representatives
Below, we list the top 50 cities for customer service representatives. The data shown below includes city-level data on the number of jobs for customer service representatives, the location quotient, hourly and annual salaries, and the cost of living.
|Rank||City||City Size||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage||Total Jobs||Location Quotient||Cost of Living|
|2||Des Moines, IA||Large||$19.01||$39,550||12,130||1.72||90|
|4||Green Bay, WI||Midsize||$17.77||$36,960||5,760||1.72||92|
|12||Wichita Falls, TX||Midsize||$15.57||$32,390||1,330||1.21||77|
|14||South Bend, IN||Midsize||$17.74||$36,900||2,420||0.93||84|
|24||Salt Lake City, UT||Large||$16.79||$34,920||29,340||2.17||107|
|32||Cedar Rapids, IA||Midsize||$16.67||$34,670||4,080||1.49||93|
|33||San Antonio, TX||Large||$15.63||$32,510||30,630||1.57||89|
|38||Kansas City, MO||Large||$17.27||$35,910||26,810||1.31||94|
|41||Fort Wayne, IN||Midsize||$16.44||$34,180||4,040||0.97||84|
|47||Boise City, ID||Large||$15.56||$32,370||11,120||1.86||98|
We considered three primary variables in ranking the best cities for customer service representatives.
1. The cost of living in each city
AdvisorSmith’s study adjusted the salaries in each city using a cost of living index. Because the cost of housing, transportation, groceries, and other living expenses varies between different cities, the lifestyle that a customer service representative is able to afford also varies. By adjusting customer service representative salaries, we can create a fair comparison across different cities. We ranked cities with a lower cost of living more highly in our ranking.
2. Salaries for Customer Service Representatives
We examined salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for customer service representatives in each city, since it is one of the most important variables in deciding where to live and pursue a career. We ranked cities with higher salaries more highly in our study.
The average salary for customer service representatives in the United States was roughly $35,650 yearly or $17.14 hourly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for customer service representatives will grow 5% during the period 2016-2026.
3. Location Quotient for Customer Service Jobs
The location quotient for customer service jobs indicates the density of customer service representative jobs in a given city compared with the total employment in each city. The higher the location quotient, the more customer service jobs there are in a city. We ranked cities with higher location quotients more highly in our study.
In the United States, there are approximately 2,767,790 customer service representatives employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 Sperling’s Best Places Cost of Living Index
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics