Customer service staff are responsible for serving and assisting customers in the sales of products and services.
They work across a huge range of industries, from retail and insurance, to technology and manufacturing
As the front-line of interaction between customers and businesses, they focus on delivering a seamless experience for customers, whilst also protecting the interests of their employer.
This detailed guide includes a full customer service job description and everything else you need to know about customer services, including salaries, skills, qualifications, typical employers and more.
- Customer service job description
- How much do customer services representatives earn?
- What does a customer service representative do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs customer services representatives?
- Which junior jobs progress to customer service roles?
Customer service job description
Customer Service Rep | Magnolia Furnishings
About Magnolia Furnishings
Magnolia Furnishings sell luxury furnishings across the UK through our online and bricks-and-mortar stores.
About the role
We need a call-centre based customer service representative to handle customer enquiries and complaints, in a way that is reflective of our luxury brand. Reporting to the customer service supervisor and manager, working in our dynamic customer service team.
- Communicate with customers, answer queries and resolve problems
- Build strong relationships with customers and promote our brand
- Handle and resolve customer complaints with understanding and diplomacy
- Provide product and service recommendations based on customer needs
- Process telephone orders and complete customer transactions
- Understand and convey technical product information to customers
- Advise on company information and processes, as well as deals and promotions
- Utilise the internal customer management software to track all order processes
Location & commitments
- Shift work: Monday – Thursday, and Saturday 7.00 am – 2.00 pm
- Permanent contract subject to 12 week probation
- Winchester office based
- Overtime may be expected
- Additional shifts may be needed, overtime paid at standard rate
- Exceptional verbal communication skills
- Excellent people skills and the ability to build relationships with customers
- Strong problem solving abilities and the desire to create positive customer experiences
- 12 months’ experience in a phone-based customer service role
- GCSE Maths and English Grade C
- NVQ in customer service level 2 or above
Contact us to apply
Our call centre is energetic and successful. If you’ve got what it takes to be part of an industry-leading team then send your CV to the HR department at firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do customer service employees earn?
The average salary for a customer service representative in the UK is £23,000.
Customer service salaries in the UK
- Low: £18,000
- Average: £23,000
- High: £27,000
Customer service salaries will vary hugely depending on;
- The industry of the employer – e.g. working for a financial services company usually pays more than working in retail
- The type of work – g. script based customer telephone calls or face-to- face customer support
- General salary factors – such as level of experience and location
For example, a senior customer service representative for a large bank in London will typically earn more than a junior staff member who works for a small pet store business in Devon.
These figures are based on job advert samples. They don’t include bonuses and commission (which can be notable in customer services), overtime, or non-financial benefits.
What does a customer service representative do?
Within their job description, someone working in customer services usually has common duties, regardless of the industry they work in. These include;
- Communicating with customers – Responding to enquiries, and handling customer queries via telephone, email, social media, or face-to-face
- Resolving complaints – Handling customer complaints to resolve issues in a way which keeps customers happy, but also keeps the interest of the business in mind
- Maintaining product or service knowledge – Building and maintaining sound knowledge of the products and services offered, in order to relay details to customers
- Making recommendations – Identifying customer needs through engaging with them, and recommending products and services based on those needs
- Processing transactions – Handling sales via cash and credit card over the phone or face-to-face via a POS system, and processing refunds
- Updating company systems – Using company processes and systems to log complaints, update product details etc.
- Boosting sales – Those in retail customer service jobs may sometimes be expected to cross-sell and up-sell to customers to increase average transaction value
- Ensuring customer satisfaction – Provide a professional service to customers which also protects the business’s interests and brand persona
What do customer services representatives need?
Working in customer services requires a range of skills and experience, and sometimes qualifications. These will vary role to role, but here’s an overview of what a typical customer service job requires.
Junior customer service jobs are accessible without any prior experience required.
However, those who have some experience in a customer facing role, even in a voluntary capacity, will find it easier to perform the role. Company specific customer service training is usually offered as part of the induction process for most customer service jobs.
Intermediate to senior customer service roles require background experience in customer service roles, usually within the relevant sector. In addition, you will need some experience of managing others within customer service, and evidence of meeting customer service quotas, targets and objectives.
Customer service roles require a number of “soft” skills such as:
- Communication: Clear and professionally delivered communication, via multiple channels, is vital
- Problem solving: Creative approaches to difficult scenarios are needed on a regular basis
- Conflict resolution: Managing aggrieved customers to de-escalate situations and ensure a positive solution
- Listening: Successfully working in customer services is dependent on exceptional listening skills
- Diplomacy: Working in customer services, you need to tread a fine line between meeting a customer’s expectations and protecting the interests of the business
- Ability to work under pressure: Customer service environments, such as call centres, can be highly pressured and target-driven
- Organisation: Keeping track of customer interactions and being able to provide responses within promised time frames
Customer service qualifications
It is not essential to have qualifications to work in customer service, but most staff will be required to have a good basic standard of education, particularly in maths and English.
There are four levels of NVQ applicable to customer service which provide practical guidance to providing effective customer service. Some employers will require these, or encourage them to be undertaken on-the-job.
NVQ certificate/diploma in customer services
NVQs in customer service are available across four levels with Level 1 suited to those starting out in Customer Service progressing through to Level 4 for those moving into customer service management positions.
The different NVQ levels are designed to systematically cover all aspects of customer service and are the most widely recognised qualification in the industry. They can be gained whilst working for an employer, most usually through a combination of workplace assessment, online learning and tutoring.
The NVQ in customer service is designed around core concepts, such as: communication, using customer service language, following rules, and understanding the customer service function.
However, to allow for tailoring towards the exact job, there are additional units which cover more specific aspects of customer service such as: dealing with customers across a language divide, how to gather, analyse and interpret customer feedback, and how to manage a customer service award system.
Institute of Customer Service
The Institute of Customer Service offers professional customer service qualifications which are becoming increasingly recognised in the industry. Their courses are accredited and designed to meet the common needs of the sector.
These courses are taken directly through the Institute, using an online portal, and are completed whilst working in a customer service role. There are also business-specific training courses which the Institute delivers. Employers value these qualifications because they can be tailored to the business. However, this can make them seem less transferable from one employer to another.
Nonetheless, the four core professional qualifications (Communications, Solutions, Innovations and Coach) are respected as providing good qualifications for those in customer services.
What is expected of customer service staff?
Typically, customer service representatives will be expected to commit the following;
- Full time hours – (35 – 40 hours per week) with occasional overtime when needed, although part time is often available
- Weekend working – some customer service departments are notably busier at weekends e.g. in retail stores
- Shift working – Call centres and other customer service jobs may require shift work if the business offers customer care outside of standard business hours
- Location – Customer services can be based in offices, call centres, retail premises. Occasionally, call centre work can be done remotely from home.
Customer service benefits
The benefits available to those in customer service roles will vary greatly depending on the industry and employer, but general benefits may include:
- Bonuses and commission – based on performance and targets
- Corporate discounts and benefits – e.g. life insurance
Who employs customer services staff?
Any business with a customer facing element will need to employ customer service staff, which means there is a huge range of companies who hire them.
Organisations which employ large numbers of customer service representatives are typically large businesses, often having a nationwide or global presence.
Customer services representatives are needed in both the public and the private sector, but they mainly appear in the private sector.
Typical customer service employers include:
- Retail – e.g. supermarkets, eCommerce stores and clothing shops
- Healthcare providers
- Financial institutions e.g. banks and insurers
- Hospitality – e.g. hotels and leisure centres
- Utilities providers – e.g. gas, electric and water
- Local government
- Media providers – e.g. cable television
Which junior jobs progress to customer service roles?
It is possible to become a customer service representative with no experience, and it is often considered and entry-level job.
However, some people come to customer services from other roles such as cashier, or assistant customer service officer
Which senior jobs do customer service jobs progress to?
Being a customer services representative is an excellent starting point for different careers within customer service and sales, such as the roles below.
Customer service supervisor
Customer services supervisors oversee numerous customer service representatives within a team of customer service staff, and handle tasks like creating staff rotas, training and recording attendance.
A sales person is tasked with the responsibility of selling a business’s products or services to customers, and will usually be targeted with generating certain amounts of revenue for their employer. They focus entirely on sales and often to not handle the service or after-sales duties that customer service staff deal with.
Businesses that sell ongoing services to large customers (usually in the business-to-business space) hire account managers to manage the relationship, ensure quality service provision, and maximise the revenue generated from the accounts within their care.
Customer service job description – conclusion
Customer service is an essential element of every organisation that provides a product or service to the public.
It requires a varied skill set, and although many of the roles would be considered entry-level, it often provides staff with a sound stepping stone into more senior roles within a company.