Overview of the role
Role / Occupation: Customer Service Specialist
Overview: The main purpose of a customer service specialist is to be a ‘professional’ for direct customer support within all sectors and organisation types. You are an advocate of Customer Service who acts as a referral point for dealing with more complex or technical customer requests, complaints, and queries. You are often 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 gather and analyse data and customer information that influences change and improvements in service. Utilising 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.
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 own knowledge
15 months (this does not include EPA period)
The delivery will be done mainly at the workplace, with the off-the-job training accounting for at least 6 hours a week. The assessor will regularly visit you at work to observe you performing relevant tasks and to carry out professional discussions.
You will complete a Level 3 Customer Service Specialist prior to taking the end-point assessment.
Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment.
Upon completion you can progress onto an advanced or higher apprenticeship at level 3, 4 or 5.
End Point Assessment
The end-point assessment (EPA) for Customer Service Specialist contains 3 methods of assessment which will be graded as Fail, Pass or Distinction:
- Work based project
- Practical observation
- Professional discussion
Candidates for this course should be working in a related sector.
All applications will be reviewed on an individual basis. If you have experience or previous knowledge that will support your application please remember to include it. Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.
As an employer that doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy, you pay just 5% towards the cost of training and assessing an apprentice.
The government will pay the rest up to the funding band maximum.
You’ll pay the training provider directly and agree on a payment schedule.
If you employ fewer than 50 employees, the government will pay 100% of the apprenticeship training costs up to the funding band maximum for apprentices aged:
- 16 to 18
- 19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan provided by their local authority or has been in the care of their local authority
Paying employer National Insurance contributions
Employers may not need to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions for an apprentice, if the apprentice is:
- under 25 years old
- on an approved UK government apprenticeship standard or framework (these can differ depending on country)
- earns less than £967 a week (£50,270 a year)
The apprentice, as an employee, will continue to pay Class 1 insurance contributions through their salary, this will only benefit the employer.
Read HMRC’s guidance on paying National Insurance contributions.