An Overview of the Different Jobs in the Customer Services Industry

There are several levels to the customer service department and if you are looking to enter the field the best thing to do is become informed on your options. This article is designed to help you with making that decision by breaking down the four main departments: customer service assistant (entry level); customer advisor; customer services supervisor and customer services manager.

Customer Service Assistant: This is an entry level position which quite simply involves ensuring that customers leave with a positive view of the company you work for. Almost all businesses employ customer service assistants, from banks to supermarkets so you should be able to find a business that you are sincerely interested in or passionate about. This should impact upon your performance in the role and help you to excel in your position. You will be conversing with customers, and colleagues, face-to-face, over the phone and via email so you must have an excellent grasp of the English language and confidence talking to people. If you are seeking a job with regular daytime hours this may not be position for you as it varies depending on the company. Many businesses are open over the weekend, in the evenings or even over night. The salaries are generally entry level oriented, as a trainee you can expect £8000-£10500pa and at a higher qualified level £9000-£13000pa, but it is all company-dependent. The biggest benefit of this position though is that you get a high level of job satisfaction because you spend the best part of the day helping customers with their enquiries. The only thing you have to remember is that customers can get fairly cross if they are complaining and you will be expected to not only take the brunt of this but also reach an amicable conclusion.

Customer Advisor: If you find yourself often described by others – or yourself – as a ‘chatterbox’ you may find that you also get into trouble at work for excessive talking to your colleagues and therefore a customer advisor position may be right up your street. In this position, generally speaking, the more you talk the better. Your position within the company is to help customers with their enquiries. This could range from informing customers of services that your company deliver, suggesting products they might be interested in, putting them in touch with a senior member of staff if necessary but also promoting your company. As with the customer service assistant position, you will be conversing with customers, and colleagues, face-to-face, over the phone and via email so you must have an excellent grasp of the English language and confidence talking to people. The range of areas that you can work in is slightly broader because you are more likely to work in a more specific industry such as hotels and banks; the level of service needs to be extremely high here. The salary is also a little higher for the same reason; you can expect to begin on £12000-£17000 and progress up to £22000 with more experience. Additionally a lot of businesses offer the chance to earn bonuses or commissions if you perform exceptionally well so the scope to earn well is there for the taking.

Customer Services Supervisor: Essentially this job entails managing a team of staff: making sure they deliver the best level of customer service possible, ensuring they turn up on time and ultimately just do their job correctly. The tasks then branch out and it becomes your responsibility to delegate within the team, monitor performance both of the team and individuals, help with training, development, recruitment and handle complaints from both customers and staff. The worst part about this role is that it is the supervisor’s responsibility to handle those horrible and sometimes serious complaints against your company that you once handed over to the management to deal with. This is significantly more than an entry level job and therefore you can expect the salary to reflect that, when you go in as a junior supervisor you would expect to earn between £15000-£25000pa but again, depending on the company, as you progress through the levels the salary can inflate to up to £40000pa. The good news is there will always be someone senior to you so if there whenever you need advice or help you have someone to call on.

Customer Services Manager: Finally the highest level, the person who takes all the complaints as well as the positives and has to provide the final answer to any query that is causing problems for those further down the ladder. The most important thing about your role is motivating and leading a team to ensure that their customer service skills are the absolute best and the service is being delivered in an efficient and professional manner. In order to fulfil your role the tasks you need to complete have more to do with your staff than the customers. While maintaining good customer relations you must also recruit staff, arrange meetings, training and carry out staff appraisals. The salary for this position is reflective of the experience you have gained throughout your career as well as all the options mentioned in the previous roles – location, department and business. If you know this position is where you ultimately aim to be and choose to start as a trainee in this area you will begin on £16000-£20000pa, more experience will lead to £20000-£40000pa but eventually you could find yourself earning as much as £60000pa. Of course these salaries reflect the responsibilities of the role and when you reach this level it is expected that you deal with the trickiest of situations and reach the most amicable end agreement.