Customer Service Specialist (Level 3)
Who is this Apprenticeship for?
This course is for any eligible candidates, who wish to earn a wage while developing their knowledge, skills and behaviours in a specialised customer service focused role within any industry.
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 environments including contact centres, retail, webchat, service industry or any customer service point.
Are there any entry requirements?
Must be a UK citizen, or have the right of abode in the UK, or is a citizen of a country that is within the EEA and have been ordinarily resident in the UK, the EU or the EEA continuously for the previous three years before the start of learning.
Candidates will have achieved a minimum of GCSE Grade 9-4 (A*-C) or equivalent in English and Maths. We also offer Functional Skills English and maths at Level 1 and Level 2 for those needing to gain these qualifications prior to enrolment.
Apprentices must be employed, for a minimum of 30 hours, in a role that suits the skills requirements of this apprenticeship.
New applicants will be contacted by a vocational delivery tutor to determine suitability/eligibility prior, give information and advice on the next steps.
Shortlisted applicants will be sent to the employer, to then follow their recruitment procedure. Unsuitable applicants will be sign-posted to other areas of our service to develop transferable/employability skills, with a view to ensuring they are suitable for other apprenticeship positions in the future.
What is the curriculum intent of this Apprenticeship?
The structure and delivery of the course curriculum will enable you to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours to reflect the needs of local and regional employers, gain qualifications and be successful in this area.
The curriculum is planned and sequenced to enable learners with previous knowledge and experience to develop the new skills needed to progress to the next stage of their career, training, education or employment. The curriculum is flexible and responsive to learner demands and can be tailored to suit individual needs, arising from any current and dynamic issues affecting their role, which can be addressed during workshop sessions.
As an apprentice you will need to be able to demonstrate knowledge and practical skills at the end of your apprenticeship training programme and understand how this reflects the needs of the local, regional and national economy.
What will the Apprenticeship cover?
The Customer Service Specialist Level 3 Apprenticeship will develop the knowledge and understanding of:
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 acting 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
Develop the skills in:
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 consider historical interactions and challenges to determine next steps
- 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
Develop the behaviours around:
- Proactively keep your service, industry and best practice knowledge and skills up to date
- Consider personal goals related to service and act towards achieving them
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
End Point Assessment Methods
To trigger the End Point Assessment, you must have:
- English & maths GCSE minimum grade 4+ (C+) or equivalent level 2 qualification proof
- Completed a showcase portfolio, demonstrating how you have met the knowledge, skills and behaviours
The End Point Assessment consists of:
- Workplace Observation: A pre-planned observation with questions, in your normal place of work and independently assessed for a minimum of 60 minutes
- Work Based Project: A 2500-word report on a project agreed with the EPAO, completed over a 2 month period
- Interview to support Project: A 60-minute interview, focussing on the work-based project report with 10 questions to be answered by the apprentice
- Professional Discussion: A 60-minute structured discussion, underpinned by a portfolio of evidence, with the Independent Assessor. This is to draw out the best of the apprentice’s competence and excellence and cover the knowledge, skills and behaviours
This standard will be graded as Distinction, Pass or Fail.
What could I do when I have finished this Apprenticeship?
The customer service role may be a gateway to further career opportunities, such as management or senior support roles.
You may gain employment with your employer to pursue a career in an office as a supervisor or team leader and / or decide to complete a Business Administrator Apprenticeship (Level 3), or Team Leader/ Supervisor Apprenticeship (Level 3).
Completion of this apprenticeship will lead to eligibility 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.
Where and when will I learn?
During the course you will be expected to attend one of our Darlington based Training Centres (Coleridge Centre, DL1 5AJ / Bennett House DL1 5PT) twice per month to develop your knowledge and practical skills in a controlled environment. These sessions will allow you to complete coursework, receive instant feedback and ensure you are ready for the End Point Assessment. The remainder of the week will be spent working with your employer putting the theory into practice to further develop your knowledge, skills and behaviours in a real working environment.
This course will typically take 15 months, but this is based on a vocational initial assessment to determine prior learning in this area and may be reduced.
How much will the Apprenticeship cost?
There are no fees for this apprenticeship.
What do I do next?
Or you can:
- Apply for this apprenticeship area to be entered into a 'pool of candidates'. When a relevant vacancy becomes available we will contact you.
- If you are already employed in this area and wish to join the apprenticeship training, or have identified an employer wishing to start you as an apprentice in this area, please contact us