How to become a Customer Service Advisor

How to become a Customer Service Advisor?

Overview

Job Role Customer Service Advisor, (aka: Call Centre Advisor)
Responsibilities Dealing with customer queries, or complaints via the telephone, email or in person.
Salary

£8.55 per hour / £16,688 per year


What do I need to do to become an Customer Service Advisor? 

Working in a call centre often gets bad press, but customer service advisors are a vital part of a company’s operations. It can be the start of an exciting and rewarding career, with plenty of room for progression in the administration and secretarial sector. Or, you could think of it as a useful stepping-stone into another industry. Great communication skills, efficiency, and accuracy will make you an asset to any customer service team.

Situated in the customer service department, your job title may be customer service advisor, call centre advisor or retail advisor. Pay for this type of role can vary greatly, but the average yearly salary across the UK is £16,688 per year, and will usually range from £12,668 to £21,453. On a full-time contract you will normally work a standard 40-hour week. There may be the opportunity for flexible working hours, and it could involve evening or weekend work. This is great if you’re a student or would benefit from not working set hours on certain days.

Day-to-day you will be communicating with customers about product selection (sales) or dealing with aftercare queries. These interactions may be via telephone, email, occasionally by letter, and in person. You’ll also be required to maintain data entry protocols and carefully record other information throughout your day.

Other regular tasks may include creating and interpreting reports, and meetings with your team members and supervisor. Whether you’re in a large team or tight-knit group, it’s important to be a good team player. This means pulling your weight, helping colleagues when you can, and communicating effectively about tasks or any issues that come up.

When applying for a customer service advisor role, it’s important to highlight in your career history any work that includes office-based jobs to your potential employer. This will show you have the right skills, such as using standard technical equipment, telephones and basic numeracy. Computer skills are particularly important in this sort of job, so include any certificates or examples of training you’ve had in IT or data entry in your application.

Any experience working in a customer-facing role will have given you great transferable skills that will also help your application. This can be from any job that involves interacting with customers, such as working as a receptionist, on a shop floor, or in a restaurant. You may also be able to show that you know how to deal with difficult complaints and remain calm and polite.

Regardless of your work experience, it’s vital to come across in a professional manner. This means from the first point of contact you have with your potential employer, phone calls or emails with them, right up to arriving at an interview on time and greeting them in person; it all counts towards their personal opinion of you. While all employers must be fair in their assessment of your skills and suitability for a job, it can only help your application if you are friendly and courteous. After all, as a customer service advisor you are representing their company and brand so this is particularly important.

Although formal training may not be required for entry-level roles, there are a number of national vocational qualifications (NVQs), work-based qualifications, in customer service. Training provider City & Guilds has information on their website, offering different levels of NVQ depending on your education and work background.

You have probably been developing some of the skills needed for this role without realising it. Great communication skills, in written form and verbally in person or on the phone, are one of the most important. This means being able to clearly tell someone information in a way they can understand, and listening carefully to their response or any questions they might have. Being able to deal with difficult customers, while maintaining a sense of composure and understanding will be a bonus in this role.

You will also need to be able to work well under pressure, manage your own workload, and have the ability to prioritise the tasks that are the most important. Use any examples that you have of this when talking in an interview to show you’re a good fit for the job, and explain that you’re also willing to improve on these soft skills. Good computer skills, such as typing, data entry and using email systems will also be beneficial as they will allow you to do your job efficiently.

In terms of career progression within this role, a logical step is to become a senior customer service advisor. This step up the ladder would usually include overseeing customer claims, data analysis of statistics and ensuring your team members follow the correct procedures.

Or, you could aim to progress to becoming a customer service team leader. This means being responsible for other customer service advisors, ensuring your team delivers on objectives. In turn, this will also mean giving them support and training in relevant areas to enable them to do their jobs better. You may also be responsible for dealing with complaints or difficult customers.

Overall, this is a great role to develop your skills, gain experience working in an office and can provide good flexibility if you need to work part-time. It’s also a great entry-level job, as it develops skills that could take you into a number of different career paths. This may include retail, marketing, human resources, recruitment or other administrative roles.

You may find the work can feel relentless if you’re not meeting your targets or you’ve had some difficult customer queries that you haven’t been able to resolve. It’s important to remember that every call or task you take is building upon your skills. If you feel you’re not happy in your current customer service advisor role, there are lots of different businesses providing a variety of opportunities.

Browse the latest customer service advisor jobs.

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