Customer Service - non-statutory (Wales)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR01658
Issue number: 8
Issued: 27 September 2012

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Customer Service - non-statutory (Wales)
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Purpose

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.

 

In Wales there are 99,200 people working in Sales and Customer Service related occupations (Statistics for Wales, June 2010). Employers have estimated that there will be 44,000 new jobs in customer service in Wales between 2007 and 2017 and have been using Apprenticeships in Customer Service since the mid-1990s as a recruitment tool. Every year around 3,500 apprentices start their training in Wales, making it one of the most popular Apprenticeships. 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 Foundation 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. Job roles within which Customer Service skills complement other technical skills at the Intermediate level will include Accounts Payable Clerk, Bakery Assistant, Export Clerk, Trainee Sport Coach, Warehouse Assistant, Cashier and Trainee Optician, as examples. 

At the 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, as well as complementary job roles such as Paint Body Advisor, Nurse, Nail Technician, Lifeguard, Account Manager, Restaurant Supervisor and Recruitment Consultant.

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.

 

Communication and Application of Numbers are included in the Customer Service Apprenticeship options offered for Essential Skills Wales. However, there are no IT Essential Skills Wales 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 apprentice job roles outlined above, an introduction of IT to these Frameworks would prohibit a considerable number of learners from attaining this Apprenticeship framework.

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 a Foundation 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 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.


The framework will also contribute to meeting the skills priorities in Wales by

  • providing flexible access to a high quality Level 2 and 3 skills programme, which ever entry route apprentices use for those who prefer this style of learning and achievement
  • incorporating skills to improve the levels of general literacy and numeracy in Wales
  • using technical and competence qualifications, valued by employers, to help their businesses grow
  • developing apprentice’s employability skills making them more attractive to employers whichever career they choose
  • providing a career pathway into jobs and training at technician level and higher, to provide the skills which the economy needs to grow
  • building on the existing quality learning provision for Customer Service in Wales.

 

Download framework

Customer Service - non-statutory (Wales)
(PDF document 2.52 MB)