Graduate Careers Advice

Graduate Customer Service Careers

Chris Marks

What qualifications do I need to be a Customer Service Staff?

‘The customer is always right’ is a statement that those in Customer Service have to live by. Even if that’s not always the case you’ll have to find a middle-ground so everyone is happy.

Happy customers are essential for most businesses, and a happy customer means a happy work life!

‘Customer Service’ means slightly different things in different industries and can mean helping people buy what they have come to your store for, answering queries on the phone when customers ring up about an account, or giving clients extras that come with travelling on planes or staying in hotels.

Regardless of the exact nature of the job, it is all about making sure the customer is happy.

The skills you need from one job to the next are basically the same, but to be good at your role you will need to understand how your specific industry works and how it affects your customers.

You can start at a very basic level before moving into roles in customer relations or customer complaints.

Some larger companies will have entire customer service departments which will regularly take on new staff. Roles are often flexible, with hours to suit students so it is easy to get your foot in the door while still studying for your degree.

How much can I earn as a Customer Service Staff?

The average salary for Customer Service across all roles in the UK is £23,349.

In higher Customer Service Manager jobs (favoured by graduates) typical starting salaries for trainees are between £18,000 and £25,000. Experienced managers can reach salaries between £30,000 and £45,000 and in some cases can be over £60,000 for specialist positions.

Some jobs, especially in sales, retail and banking, come with generous commission and bonuses and often provide a benefits package as well.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

What qualifications do I Need to be a Customer Service Staff?

Most jobs in Customer Service don’t require you to have a degree, with your personality and communication skills being the main things that employers will initially look at.

Depending on the industry specific degrees might be seen as beneficial to that role. For example, a solid maths-based degree would be beneficial.

What Skills Do I Need to be a Customer Service Staff?

Different roles in the Customer Service may will require slightly different skills, but the majority of roles will require you to have:

  • Team work
  • Communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to work alone
  • Commercial awareness
  • Multi-tasking              
Team work Communication skills Time management skills Ability to work under pressure Ability to work alone Commercial awareness Multi-tasking

What Experience Do I Need to Get a Job In Customer Service?

Whatever job you go to and whatever career you start there is one thing that will help you beyond measure – work experience.

Many people who currently work in Customer Service didn’t know they wanted to work in the industry until they experienced it. Many companies provide work experience while you are at school so go into your local office and find out.

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