Customer Service (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR03058
Issue number: 17
Issued: 29 August 2014

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Customer Service (England)
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Issued by
Skills CFA

Contact name: David Garrick
Telephone number: 020 7091 9620
Please download the framework for email contact information.

Purpose

Defining Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the apprenticeship.

On completion of the apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

Profile of the sector

Employers recognise the key role customer-facing staff play in determining the quality of the customer experience and in increasing customer loyalty. In an increasingly service-led economy, customer demand for better and more individualised service is set to continue to increase. Therefore there is a need to raise customer service standards and increase the supply of people with customer service skills. Employers across all sectors, regardless of whether their main business is customer service or if they wish to train staff to undertake customer service as part of their job role, need to up skill their current workforce and recruit new staff. Customer service apprenticeships have a major role to play in this by helping employers address the skills gaps and shortages that they are experiencing, and by providing a vehicle for introducing and raising customer service skills in the workplace.

Employers have estimated that there will be 113,000 new jobs in customer service in England between 2004 and 2014 and have been using Apprenticeships in Customer Service as a recruitment tool since the mid-1990s. Every year since 2010 an average of 50,000 apprentices start their Customer Service Apprenticeship training in England, making it one of the most popular apprenticeship programmes. The need for high levels of customer service skills is evident across all sectors. In particular the Retail, Financial Services, Contact Centre, Hospitality, Sport and Recreation, Health and Social Care, Telecommunications and Travel and Tourism sectors have the particularly high levels of customer service apprentices, with many other sectors, such as Local Government, Motor Vehicle, Power & Energy, Housing and Manufacturing also showing numbers still in their hundreds.

Due to the varied nature of the customer service industry there are many job roles that apply to customer service intermediate apprentices. These will include job roles which are dedicated to customer service such as Customer Service Trainee, Customer Service Assistant, Customer Service Advisor, Customer Service Representative and Customer Service Agent.

At the advanced apprenticeship level, dedicated customer service job roles will include Customer Relationship Manager, Customer Support Officer, Customer Service Team Leader, Customer Service Supervisory and Customer Service Co-ordinator.

The customer service apprenticeships have been built on the success of their predecessors by including employer led, up to date, flexible qualifications which meet their demand for higher levels of customer service skills, including softer-skills such as communication, team working, interpersonal skills and the ability to improve own learning and performance.

English and mathematics are included in the customer service apprenticeship options offered for Functional Skills. However, there are no IT or ICT Functional Skills in these apprenticeships as, historically, many learners have not been able to attain these skills due to the constraints of their job roles and access to IT equipment. Due to the pan sector nature of customer service and the diversity found in the apprentice job roles outlined above, an introduction of IT and ICT to these frameworks would prohibit a considerable number of learners from attaining this apprenticeship.

Whatever job role or sector a customer service apprentice might work in, they will be learning and understanding the key concepts of customer service and how to apply customer service knowledge and skills in the workplace.

For an intermediate apprentice these skills could involve communicating with customers, building relationships with customers, resolving problems, promoting products and/or services, using appropriate communication channels, keeping records, gathering customer feedback and working in a team.

For an advanced apprentice these skills could involve improving customer satisfaction, team leading, improving customer loyalty, gathering and analysing customer feedback, processing complaints and maintaining reliable customer service.

 

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Customer Service (England)
(PDF document 2.68 MB)