Looking for a role that’s customer-facing? Step one: always laugh at the customer’s jokes. Step two: find the right position…
If you enjoy working with people, and thrive on making others happy, a career in customer service could be exactly what you need to fulfil your ambitions.
To give you an idea of what’s available (and to help you get there), here are five jobs in the customer service industry that you could be doing right now:
What they do: Oversee and manage a portfolio of client accounts to ensure their company is always delivering the best service possible. They could be based in a marketing or sales department, and their duties will generally involve managing projects, generating and maintaining client relationships, and dealing with any client complaints.
What you need: An in depth understanding of your clients’ requirements is absolutely essential to becoming a good Account Manager. You’ll also need to be excellent at negotiating, managing budgets, and working under pressure.Although many vacancies are advertised as graduate roles, you’ll still able to break into the industry without a degree.
What you can earn: New Account Managers will earn around £18,000, but your salary could increase to well in excess of £30,000 (including commission) once you’re experienced in the field.
Perfect for: People who are good with relationships.
Our advice: As marketing and sales is a highly competitive industry to break into, it’s always best to gain as many industry recognised qualifications (e.g. CAM) as you can and/or a degree in a relevant field (e.g. marketing, business management, or advertising) to help you stand out from the crowd.
Customer Service Advisor
What they do: Use their excellent communication skills to ensure their customers have the best possible experience when shopping for (or using) their company’s products or services. They can work in various settings, and could interact with customers over the phone, on the shop floor, or via email. Their role might also involve dealing with customer complaints.
What you need: An approachable and personable nature, as well as an ability to communicate effectively with all types of people are key attributes for any successful Customer Service Advisor. You won’t need a degree to be considered, but a good level of education and/or previous experience in similar roles is likely to be beneficial.
What you can earn: Salaries start at around £12,000, but could rise up to £20,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who like to help people.
Our advice: Some Customer Service Advisor roles might suit you more than others, so tailor your experience to the direction you want to go in. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in retail, quantify your attributes with relevant experience, and if you’re looking to work in a more specialist field (e.g. finance or banking), think about gaining tangible and/or specific qualifications – such as A Levels or GNVQs.
What they do: Supervise, manage, and motivate a team of customer-facing colleagues, to ensure the smooth running of the department. They could be based in retail, hospitality, an office, or in the public sector, and their role usually involves delegating tasks, sharing company goals and deadlines, and interacting with customers wherever needed.
What you need: Aside from excellent leadership and interpersonal skills, you’ll also need to be able to make good business decisions and work well under pressure. There are no set qualifications to become a Team Leader, but relevant experience in a customer service and/or leadership role will usually be essential.
What you can earn: Salaries start at around £15,000, but this can easily rise up to £25,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who are good at boosting morale.
Our advice: If you haven’t got any previous experience in a leadership position, don’t panic. Gaining some initial experience as a Customer Service Advisor will give you the knowledge and skills to quickly progress upwards within an organisation. Most companies will place focus on hiring from within when recruiting for Team Leader positions, so make sure your knowledge of the business and keen interest in career progression always shines through.
Technical Support Advisor
What they do: Monitor and maintain the computer systems within an organisation, acting as first port of call for any customers who need technical support. Whether it’s a forgotten password, a product problem, or an issue regarding connectivity, a Technical Support Advisor is there to help fix the problem. They could communicate over the phone, face-to-face, or via email, and their interactions will normally be logged, in order to help identify common issues.
What you need: An ability to advise others about technology in easy-to-understand language, whilst exhibiting patience at all times, is essential. You’ll also need to be a logical thinker and possess an analytical mind. You won’t need a degree to become a Technical Support Advisor, but good GCSE grades in at least the core subjects (Maths, English, and Science) will be beneficial.
What you can earn: Technical Support Advisors normally start on a salary of around £18,000, which could rise up to £47,000 if you decide to move up to a management position.
Perfect for: People whose expertise go beyond ‘turning it off and on’.
Our advice: If you’re finding it hard to break into the technical support side of the customer service industry, consider gaining some practical experience by taking on temporary roles in IT and tech support. Not only will learning about specialist subjects help give you the expertise to become a good Technical Support Advisor, your keen interest in the field will also help you stand out from a crowd of other applicants.
What they do: Serve customers in restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs, by taking orders, delivering food and drink, clearing tables, advising on specials and current offers, and generally ensuring all customers have a pleasant dining experience. They may also have the opportunity to gain extra skills to become Silver Service trained, or to become a specialist in wine waiting (AKA Sommelier).
What you need: Excellent customer service and teamwork skills, combined with an ability to work well in a busy, fast-paced environment is essential to becoming a good Waiter/Waitress. There are no set prerequisites to become a member of the waiting staff, but relevant experience could improve your chances.
What you can earn: Earning potential will vary dependent on the type of Waiter/Waitress you are, what hours you work, and whether you’re Silver Service trained. Full-time waiting staff can earn up to £13,000 when experienced. If you move up to a management position, your salary could rise to £17,000. Tips are also an added bonus.
Perfect for: People who don’t drop things.
Our advice: When it comes to becoming a member of the waiting staff, it’s all about personality. Put a precedence on your friendliness and approachability on your CV and at the interview – and you’re bound to impress the employer. However, if you’re new to the field, and you feel like your lack of quantifiable work experience could be holding you back, it might be worth getting involved in another entry-level customer service based role (e.g. bar work) to start you off.
Still searching for your perfect Customer Service position? View all available Customer Service jobs now.