Customer Service Apprenticeship
The role of a customer service apprentice is to deliver high quality products and services to the customers of their organisation.
Your core responsibility will be to provide a high quality 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.
We offer customer service apprenticeships at 2 levels. The Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner Apprenticeship is ideal for those new to the role of customer service. It helps develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be successful in your sector. The Level 3 Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship is ideal for those with a bit more experience in the sector. It will allow you to build on your existing knowledge and learn new skills and techniques to help you excel further.
Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner
- Use a range of questioning skills, including listening and responding in a way that builds rapport, determines customer needs and expectations and achieves positive engagement and delivery.
- Depending on your job role and work environment:
- Use appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication skills, along with summarising language during face-to-face communications; and/or
- Use appropriate communication skills, along with reinforcement techniques (to confirm understanding) during non-facing customer interactions.
- Use an appropriate ‘tone of voice’ in all communications, including written and digital, that reflect the organisation’s brand.
- Provide clear explanations and offer options in order to help customers make choices that are mutually beneficial to both the customer and your organisation.
- Be able to organise yourself, prioritise your own workload/activity and work to meet deadlines.
Dealing with customer conflict and challenge
- Demonstrate patience and calmness.
- Show you understand the customer’s point of view.
- Use appropriate sign-posting or resolution to meet your customers needs and manage expectations.
- Maintain informative communication during service recovery.
Knowing your customers
- Understand who customers are.
- Understand the difference between internal and external customers.
- Understand the different needs and priorities of your customers and the best way to manage their expectations, recognising and knowing how to adapt style to be highly effective.
Understanding the organisation
- Know the purpose of the business and what ‘brand promise’ means
- Know your organisation’s core values and how they link to the service culture.
- Know the internal policies and procedures, including any complaints processes and digital media policies that are relevant to you and your organisation.
Meeting regulations and legislation
- Know the appropriate legislation and regulatory requirements that affect your business.
- Know your responsibility in relation to this and how to apply it when delivering service.
Systems and resources
- Know how to use systems, equipment and technology to meet the needs of your customers.
- Understand types of measurement and evaluation tools available to monitor customer service levels.
Your role and responsibility
- Understand your role and responsibility within your organisation and the impact of your actions on others.
- Know the targets and goals you need to deliver against.
- Understand how establishing the facts enable you to create a customer focused experience and appropriate response.
- Understand how to build trust with a customer and why this is important.
Product and service knowledge
- Understand the products or services that are available from your organisation and keep up-to-date.
- Take ownership for keeping your service knowledge and skills up-to-date.
- Consider personal goals and propose development that would help achieve them.
Being open to feedback
Act on and seek feedback from others to develop or maintain personal service skills and knowledge.
- Frequently and consistently communicate and work with others in the interest of helping customers efficiently.
- Share personal learning and case studies with others, presenting recommendations, and improvement to support good practice.
Equality – treating all customers as individuals
- Treat customers as individuals to provide a personalised customer service experience.
- Uphold the organisations core values and service culture through your actions.
Presentation – dress code, professional language
- Demonstrate personal pride in the job through appropriate dress and positive and confident language.
“Right first time”
- Use communication behaviours that establish clearly what each customer requires and manage their expectations.
- Take ownership from the first contact and then take responsibility for fulfilling your promise.
Level 3 Customer Service Specialist
Business-focused service delivery
- Demonstrate a continuous improvement and future focussed approach to customer service delivery including decision making and providing recommendations or advice
- Resolve complex issues by being able to choose from and successfully apply a wide range of approaches
- Find solutions that meet your organisations needs as well as the customer requirements
Providing a positive customer experience
- Through advanced questioning, listening and summarising negotiate mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Manage challenging and complicated situations within your level of authority and make recommendations to enable and deliver change to service or strategy
- Use clear explanations, provide options and solutions to influence and help customers make choices and agree next steps
- Explore and interpret the customer experience to inform and influence achieving a positive result for customer satisfaction
- Demonstrate a cost conscious mind-set when meeting customer and the business needs
- Identifying where highs and lows of the customer journey produce a range of emotions in the customer
- Use written and verbal communication to simplify and provide complex information in a way that supports positive customer outcome in the relevant format
Working with your customers / customer insights
- Proactively gather customer feedback, through a variety of methods. Critically analyse, and evaluate the meaning, implication and facts and act upon it
- Analyse your customer types, to identify or anticipate their potential needs and expectations when providing your service
Customer service performance
- 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
- Analyse the end to end service experience, seeking input from others where required, supporting development of solutions
- Make recommendations based on your findings to enable improvement
- Make recommendations and implement where possible, changes in line with new and relevant legislation, regulations and industry best practice
Business Knowledge and Understanding
- Understand what continuous improvement means in a service environment and how your recommendations for change impact your organisation
- Understand the impact your service provision has on the wider organisation and the value it adds
- Understand your organisation’s current business strategy in relation to customers and make recommendations for its future
- Understand the principles and benefits of being able to think about the future when taking action or making service related decisions
- Understand a range of leadership styles and apply them successfully in a customer service environment
Customer Journey knowledge
- Understand and critically evaluate the possible journeys of your customers, including challenges and the end-to-end experience
- Understand the reasons why customer issues and complex situations sometimes need referral or escalation for specialist attention
- Understand the underpinning business processes that support you in bringing about the best outcome for customers and your organisation
- Understand commercial factors and authority limits for delivering the required customer experience
Knowing your customers and their needs/ Customer Insight
- Know your internal and external customers and how their behaviour may require different approaches from you
- Understand how to analyse, use and present a range of information to provide customer insight
- Understand what drives loyalty, retention and satisfaction and how they impact on your organisation
- Understand different customer types and the role of emotions in bringing about a successful outcome
- Understand how customer expectations can differ between cultures, ages and social profiles
Customer service culture and environment awareness
- Keep current, knowledge and understanding of regulatory considerations, drivers and impacts in relation to how you deliver for customers
- Understand your business environment and culture and the position of customer service within it
- Understand your organisation structure and what role each department needs to play in delivering Customer Service and what the consequences are should things go wrong
- Understand how to find and use industry best practice to enhance your own knowledge
- Proactively keep your service, industry and best practice knowledge and skills up-to-date
- Consider personal goals related to service and take action towards achieving them
- Personally commit to and take ownership for actions to resolve customer issues to the satisfaction of the customer and your organisation
- Exercises proactivity and creativity when identifying solutions to customer and organisational issues
- Make realistic promises and deliver on them
- Work effectively and collaboratively with colleagues at all levels to achieve results.
- Recognise colleagues as internal customers
- Share knowledge and experience with others to support colleague development
- Adopt a positive and enthusiastic attitude being open minded and able to tailor your service to each customer
- Be adaptable and flexible to your customer needs whilst continuing to work within the agreed customer service environment
- Demonstrate brand advocacy, values and belief when dealing with customer requests to build trust, credibility and satisfaction
- Ensure your personal presentation, in all forms of communication, reflects positively on your organisation’s brand