Customer service plays a critical role in almost all companies, so it is not surprising to find that 300,000 people work in customer services in the UK. Of these, 110,000 people work in call centres, and most are associated with a retail trade. However, you will find careers in specialist fields such as insurance and science.
Positions include customer service clerks, administrators, advisors, supervisors, and managers. You may work business to business or in technical services in a large call centre or as one member of a small office team.
Your responsibilities will include listening to the customer’s questions and providing accurate answers. You will spend time resolving complaints and straightforwardly providing product or service information.
You may be responsible for hitting sales and retention targets or be required to take payments, arrange returns, process refunds, and create customer contracts. You will also need to judge when it is appropriate to refer customers to supervisors or other departments.
You do not need a degree at an entry-level unless you choose a highly-technical field, such as working in scientific research. The average customer service clerk will earn £18,000 per year and up to £22,000 as they build skills and experience.
A customer service manager has an average salary of £24,500, with highly experienced or qualified managers earning £40,000 or more.
You will start your customer service career by gaining on-the-job product skills and awareness. As your career progresses, you may become a team leader and, eventually, a whole department manager.
Some companies allow or require you to work remotely, and people who desire to travel often find this attractive. Your career might see you become a specialist or technical expert, with opportunities to earn more significant salaries.
Customer service never stops, so a varied work schedule could be part of your job.
Core customer service skills include being an active listener and having patience and empathy. Communication skills are essential, and you should be able to resolve conflicts. You will be proficient in speaking to people face-to-face or over the telephone, possess computer skills, work under pressure, be persuasive, and be ready to help others.
If you have a passion for helping people and working to targets, a role in customer service could be for you.