Customer Service Specialist (Level 3 Apprenticeship)

Subject: Customer Service

 I am: an employer a student

As a customer service specialist you will provide direct customer support within all sectors and organisation types. You will be an advocate of customer service who acts as a referral point for dealing with more complex or technical customer requests, complaints, and queries. You will often be 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 will gather and analyse data and customer information that influences change and improvements in service, and will utilise 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, webchat, service industry or any customer service point.

Key Facts

  • Attendance: As this qualification is work-based no college attendance is required. Tuition will be provided online, and support will be provided by a personal tutor who will assess work and provide feedback. Regular contact and support will be carried out by the tutor via email, telephone and microsoft Teams.
  • Duration: 15-18 months
  • Start date:  Any time during the year.
  • Location: Apprentices must be living and working in England.
  • Off-the-job training: The apprentice must undertake a minimum of 6 hours per week of 'off-the-job’ training.

Entry Requirements

There are no formal academic entry requirements, however you will need a good standard of English and maths. Students who don’t already hold certificates evidencing English and maths at level 2 or equivalent will need to complete Functional Skills.

You will need to be living and working in England as a team leader or manager in a customer service role, earning at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices. To complete this apprenticeship within 15-18 months you will need to be working for a minimum of 30 hours per week, if you are working less than 30 hours a week the length of your apprenticeship will be extended depending on your working hours.

If you have a level 3 (or above) qualification in a similar subject you may not be able to undertake this apprenticeship, in which case you may wish to undertake the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service.

International qualifications

Students with foreign qualifications are required to have their certificates translated using a UK ENIC Statement to confirm if they have previously achieved Level 2 English and Level 2 maths for their apprenticeship. More information about how to apply, how it works and prices can be found on the UK ENIC’s website here.

Course Content

This apprenticeship consists of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are required by someone in a customer service role in order to succeed.

Knowledge

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

Skills

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

Service improvement

  • 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

Behaviours/Attitude

Develop self

  • 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

Ownership/ Responsibility

  • 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

Team working

  • 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

Equality

  • 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

Presentation

  • 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

Assessment

An End Point Assessment will be required to achieve the apprenticeship. This consists of the following:

  • Work-based Project 
  • Practical Observation – An observation will be undertaken by an independent assessor to assess the skills, knowledge and behaviours learnt.
  • Professional Discussion - Following the practical observation participating in a professional discussion is required. This will confirm knowledge and understanding whilst providing the opportunities to discuss any potential scenarios that were not possible to witness during the practical observation.

Functional Skills

Unless exempt, Level 2 Functional Skills are assessed via online examinations and practical assessments.

Course Fees

Apprenticeship course fees are payable by the employer.

Fees are dependent upon the size of the organisation you are employed in as this will impact if your employer is a levy payer, or a non-levy payer.

Course fees for Apprenticeship Levy Payers

Levy payers in England will pay the full apprenticeship amount of £4,000 using their digital account.

Course fees for Non-Levy Payers

Non-levy paying employers in England are required to contribute 5% (£200 in one payment) towards the cost of the apprenticeship provided they use their digital account to process the claim for 95% funding available.

All fees are fully inclusive of End Point Assessment (EPA) fees. However, if a student needs to re-sit an exam, re-sit fees will be payable.

Save 50% off the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service, VetSkill Level 2 Award in Information, Advice or Guidance, or the VetSkill Level 2 Certificate for Veterinary Receptionists qualification course fees if you study it alongside this apprenticeship (Awarding Body fees still apply).

Before making any financial decision it is recommended that you seek advice from an independent source, for example the Money Advice Service.

These are current figures and may be subject to change. The differences in course fees reflect the level of funding that is available as a result of government policies and priorities. These may be as a result of age, employment status, previous education achievements, or location for example, and are outside the control of CAW Business School.

What Next?

Completion of this apprenticeship will allow you to join the Institute of Customer Service as an individual member at Professional level. Should you choose to progress on a customer service career path, you may be eligible for further professional membership including management.

You may wish to consider a related qualification such as leadership and management in order to gain further understanding of the business environment and expanding your existing skillset.

Testimonials

What our Business School students say:

“I have enjoyed learning new skills and applying some of these to my current job”
“The tutors are very helpful and supportive and provide me with regular reviews on my progress”
“The course fits around my everyday work making this easy to complete”
“The tutors are extremely helpful and always manage to find time to provide support and answer any queries”

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