What You Need to Know About… Customer Service

What to know about… Customer service

We all have our reservations when we hear companies spout ‘we believe in great customer service’, but forget grumpy customers, bored sales assistants and low pay for a minute. A career in customer service is one of the most under estimated and satisfying roles going.

If you are one of those people who constantly have their phone glued to their ear, feel lost when they can’t check Facebook and just have the urge to upload to Instagram that picture of a really cute cupcake, then maybe a career in customer service is for you.

So, What’s involved?

As a customer service assistant or team member you will constantly be in the limelight. Doing everything from talking to customers, helping colleagues and handling cash to making coffee and arranging shop displays, there is never a dull moment. You are the face of the company and it’s your job to make sure every customer leaves with a smile and leaving a good impression is paramount.

The Good Bits

The great thing about a career in customer service is that there are jobs in every Industry, which means that you can work absolutely anywhere, from big banks to the local corner shop, so you can always find somewhere as near or far as you like.

The nature of customer service means there is so much flexibility in terms of hours of work. If you need full time work or a Saturday job to supplement expenses, you can find it. If you need to work 10-2 Monday to Friday because you need to look after the kids, there is a role out there for you too.

Another brilliant thing is that there is no limit to progression. If you work hard, don’t be surprised if within a few years you find yourself in management. Hard work is usually rewarded with bonuses at every level and if your manager is nice, there’s sometimes a Christmas party in it for you!

The Bad Bits

The biggest problem with a career in customer service can be the customers. While the old mantra ‘the customer is always right’ is a myth, you still have to weave your way around the tricky customers and ensure they leave with a smile while adhering to company policy.

Sometimes the starting pay is not so good. If you wait it out however, the salary does increase and if you get into supervisor/management roles, the salary is usually quite good.

What Skills and Qualifications Do I Need to be Customer Service Assistant?

  • Good time management
  • Communication
  • Tact
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptation to different environments
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Can-do attitude
  • Skilled at performing under pressure

Most importantly: patience! There is nothing that gets you fired quicker than hurrying a customer and losing your nerve.

A customer service assistant is not likely to be asked for any qualifications, but employers usually ask for five GCSE’s in English and Maths as a minimum. If you progress into management, companies normally have their own training scheme so you can get the qualifications you need.

Previous experience is not a must either since most companies train you, but the more you have, the higher your chances of getting hired will be.

Pay

You love the sound of talking to people all day, but how much is it worth? The basic pay for a full time customer service assistant is usually £12,000 – £18,000 per year, depending on experience, location and position.

Progression

The great thing about the customer service sector is that you can try out a few companies in different Industries, find the one you love most and stick with it. From then on, you can progress into supervisor, branch manager and area manager roles among others.

by Nathalie Lot

Strike-Jobs website

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