Customer Service (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR01823
Issue number: 10
Issued: 07 November 2012

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Customer Service (England)
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Issued by
Instructus

Contact name: Matthew Street
Telephone number: 020 7091 9620
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Purpose

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) – Statement on Apprenticeship Quality Definition

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.
 

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 since the mid-1990s as a recruitment tool. Every year around 15,000 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. A wide variety of other job roles within which customer service skills complement other technical skills at the Intermediate level also exist; and those undertaking such job roles are also likely to benefit from undertaking the Customer Service Intermediate Apprenticeship. 

 

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. Again, a wide variety of other job roles within which customer service skills complement other technical skills at the Advanced level also exist; and those undertaking such job roles are also likely to benefit from undertaking the Customer Service Advanced Apprenticeship.

 

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 Key Skills and Functional Skills. However, there are no IT or ICT Key or 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 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 3.56 MB)