Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship in Customer Service

Intermediate Customer Service Practitioner (Level 2), Advanced Customer Service Specialist (Level 3)

Where to begin……………………
If you want to be an apprentice in Customer Service and don’t yet have an employer, contact our apprenticeship recruitment team; 01228 822798 or email Deborah Macleod at dmacleod@carlisle.ac.uk

If you already have an employer, or are an employer, contact our apprentice recruitment team; 01228 822708 or email Oli Matthews at omatthews@carlisle.ac.uk

The role of a Customer Service Practitioner is to deliver high quality products and services to the customers of their organisation. Your core responsibility will be to provide a professional service to customers, which will be delivered from the workplace, digitally, or through going out into the customer’s own locality.  These may be one-off or routine contacts and include dealing with orders, payments, offering advice, guidance and support, meet-and-greet, sales, fixing problems, after care, service recovery, or gaining insight through measuring customer satisfaction. You may be the first point of contact and work in any sector, or organisation type.

Your actions will influence the customer experience and their satisfaction with your organisation. You will demonstrate excellent customer service skills and behaviours, as well as product and/or service knowledge when delivering to your customers.  You provide service in line with the organisation’s customer service standards and strategy and within appropriate regulatory requirements. Your customer interactions may cover a wide range of situations and can include; face-to-face, telephone, post, email, text and social media.

The main purpose of a Customer Service Specialist is to be a professional for direct customer support within all sectors and organisation types. You are an advocate of customer service, who acts as a referral point for dealing with complex or technical customer requests, complaints and queries. You are often an escalation point for complicated or ongoing customer problems. As an expert in your organisation’s products and/or services, you share knowledge with your wider team and colleagues. You gather and analyse data and customer information that influences change and improvements in service, utilising both organisational and generic IT systems to carry out your role, with an awareness of other digital technologies. This could be in many types of environment, including contact centres, retail, web chat, service industry, or any other customer service point.


Reference: A0038SC
Duration: 12-18 months
Course Dates: Ongoing
Type: Part Time (Day Release)
Tutor: Sharron Macauley

Course Content
  • Continuous improvement and future focussed approaches to customer service delivery, including decision making and providing recommendations/advice
  • Find solutions that meet your organisations needs as well as those customer requirements, while adopting a cost conscious mind-set
  • Through advanced questioning, listening and summarising, negotiate mutually beneficial outcomes
  • Appropriately manage and resolve challenging and complicated situations within your level of authority and make suitable adjustments to service or strategy
  • Use clear explanations and provide options and solutions to influence and help customers to make choices and agree next steps
  • Explore and interpret the customer experience to inform and influence, thereby achieving a positive result for customer satisfaction
  • Identify where the highs and lows of the customer journey produce a range of emotions
  • Use written and verbal communication to simplify complex information, in a digestible format that supports a positive customer outcome
  • Proactively gather customer feedback through a variety of methods, critically analysing and evaluating the meaning, implication and facts, to then act upon them
  • When providing your service, analyse your customer types, in order to identify or anticipate their potential needs and expectations
  • Maintain a positive relationship, even when you are unable to deliver the customer’s expected outcome
  • When managing referrals or escalations, take into account historical interactions and challenges to determine next steps
  • Support the implementation of solutions to the end to end experience and changes in line with new and relevant legislation, regulations and industry best practice

What will you learn?

  • To understand the effect your service provision has on the wider organisation and the value it adds
  • To understand the underpinning business processes that support you in bringing about the best outcome for customers and your organisation
  • To understand what continuous improvement means in a service environment and how your recommendations for change will impact upon your organisation
  • To understand the principles and benefits of being able to think about the future when taking action, or making service related decisions
  • To understand your organisation’s structure, environment and culture and what role each department needs to play in delivering customer service and what the consequences are, should things go wrong
  • To understand a range of leadership styles and behaviours and apply them successfully in a customer service environment
  • To understand and critically evaluate the possible journeys of your customers, including challenges, emotions and the end-to-end experience
  • To understand the reasons why customer issues and complex situations sometimes need referral, or escalation for specialist attention
  • To understand commercial factors and authority limits for delivering the required customer experience
  • To know your internal and external customers and how their behaviour may require different approaches from you
  • To understand how to analyse, use and present a range of information to provide customer insight
  • To understand what drives loyalty, retention and satisfaction and how they impact upon your organisation
  • To understand how customer expectations can differ between cultures, ages and social profiles
  • To enhance current knowledge and understanding of regulatory considerations, drivers, impacts and best practice, in relation to how you deliver for customers

End Point Assessment (Takes place at the end of the apprenticeship):

  • Portfolio submission and demonstration of professional behaviours
  • Practical observation of customer interaction
  • Professional discussion (and work-based project for Customer Service Specialist)

Entry Requirements

  • A courteous and enthusiastic attitude
  • An honest and reliable character
  • Legible handwriting and ICT literate
  • GCSE maths and English at grade C, 9 to 4, or Functional Skills Level 2 (or willingness to work towards)
  • Customer service experience (preferred but not essential)

Possible Job Roles

Customer Support Specialist, Tourism Officer, Business Development/Sales Executive, Personal Banker, Legal Secretary, Hotel Receptionist, Careers Advisor, Service Administrator, Public Relations Representative, Translator.

Progression

HNC in Business, ILM Leadership & Management, or Digital Marketing.

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