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Handbook

Our guides for employers and candidates on how to navigate the entry-level job market.

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Contents

Customer Service Roles

How to hire a graduate for a role in Customer Service

Candidate profile:

A committed and patient individual who is able to adapt quickly to different situations and is willing to help others. They should possess a very clear understanding of your product and have a strong work ethic in order to provide exceptional customer service to your clients – after all, the reputation of your business can rest in their hands. They should be more than willing to be build relationships and rapport with customers, and being polite at all times.

No particular degree is required for a role in Customer Service – the right personality and attitude are far more important, so focus on that during the application process.

Top skills:

  1. Written & verbal communication: you need to trust them to speak and write directly to customers.
  2. Speaking on the phone: being able to clearly listen and communicate with customers on the phone will allow them to make the customer service process as good as possible.
  3. Time management: with lots of problems to solve, a customer service executive has to be organised!
  4. Multi-tasking: dealing with more than one issue and once without making mistakes is an essential skill for this role.
  5. Attention to detail: small slip ups can lead to a bad experience for the customer, so being able to keep track of all the details when managing a problem is key.

Non-office experience:

  • Ideally the candidate will have some experience in a customer facing role, such as waitressing, front of house or retail which will demonstrate their ability to communicate and interact with customers.
  • A role which has required interpersonal relationships and management such as captain of a sports team would also be beneficial as it demonstrates that the candidate has experience working with and responding to people and potential issues

Office experience:

  • Any experience which has required the candidate to spend time on the phone dealing with customers or clients is great!
  • A candidate with experience of having to verbally communicate and present is also impressive – whether that is in an office or university setting.

Green flag

  • Someone who is polite and empathetic and patient
  • The ability to articulate clearly to others is also a good sign
  • Someone who can effectively deal with technical or complex language

Red flag

  • Poor people skills
  • Bad communication skills
  • Someone who becomes irate or impatient easily

At interview:

  • We’d recommend setting up a scenario where the candidate has to deal with a difficult customer complaint. This is the best way of testing how they react on the spot and how they are able to resolve a situation where something has gone wrong, whilst maintaining composure and remaining polite.
  • This role play might also be useful to test a candidate’s ability to deal with new/complex information that they may have to have knowledge of to help customers efficiently and effectively.

Employee’s Expectations:

A trainee customer service representative’s salary averages at around £18,000-£20,000, but can range from £13,000 to £24,000. A graduate will expect to gain more responsibility as they gain more experience.

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