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Job Photographs

  • A man is sitting at a desk, speaking on a telephone and looking at a sheet of paper.

    Checking a customer service policy matter with head office.

  • A woman and a man are standing behind a shop counter.  They are talking.

    In retail stores, customer service is usually carried out at a desk near the front entrance.

  • A man is sitting at a desk in an office, using a computer.

    Customer services managers prepare reports and statistics.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, speaking on a telephone and looking at an open folder.

    Contact with customers is often by telephone.

  • Two men are standing in an office, talking.  They are both looking at a sheet of paper.

    The manager works with another section head to investigate a problem.

  • Customer Services Manager

Customer Services Manager

Introduction

Customer services managers make sure that customers' needs are met, and that purchasers of the company's products or services continue to buy them. They often supervise a team of customer service assistants in a retail store, a call/contact centre or an office. Some customer services managers work in the public sector, making sure that users of public services are satisfied.

Also known as

  • Manager, Customer Care
  • Supervisor, Customer Services
  • Contact Centre Manager

Video: - Tracey-Ann: Customer Service Manager

Video: - Wendy: Customer Services Co-ordinator

Video: - Natalie: Customer Services Manager

Work Activities

As a Customer Services Manager, you will make sure that the company or organisation you work for is meeting its customers' needs, and that customers are happy with the products or services you are supplying. If customers are satisfied, you will continue to buy the products or services; in this way, the company will be successful.

In the public sector, you are concerned with the reputation of the organisation and in helping to maintain value for money rather than in increasing profit.

You will lead, supervise and co-ordinate teams of Assistants. You must monitor performance to make sure that the team members are giving good service to customers.

Some of your duties include:

  • recruiting staff
  • organising training
  • planning work rotas
  • holding staff meetings
  • coaching and counselling team members

You'll forecast and anticipate customer needs, prepare plans for improving customer service, and you plan and manage budgets. Depending on the size of the organisation, some Managers prepare, or contribute to, customer service policies and quality standards.

Examples of standards and policies include:

  • replying to a customer enquiry or complaint in a certain time
  • answering the telephone quickly
  • what customers can do if they are not satisfied with a reply
  • instructions to staff on how to record details of suggestions or complaints

You might have to prepare reports for Directors or other Senior Managers. You might need to show an analysis of queries/complaints received and the outcomes, and recommend improvements to working practices.

You will deal with complicated suggestions, enquiries or complaints that your staff pass on to you. You have to understand the customer's needs and point of view by finding out all the facts. In the case of a complaint, you must decide whether to offer the customer a refund or exchange, or some other form of compensation.

Sometimes a customer has a suggestion, enquiry or complaint that could result in a product or service being changed or improved in some way. In this case, you liaise with other Managers in the company to make sure this happens.

Managers working in a retail store are likely to meet customers face to face on a daily basis. You might be required to wear a uniform.

Retail customer services operations are likely to be run from a reception area or desk in the store. In large stores, you often recruit and manage section heads, who are in turn responsible for Assistants in their area.

Those working in manufacturing or service industries, or the public sector or public utilities, usually have contact with customers by phone, letter or email.

Some organisations run their customer services operations through a call or contact centre, where you supervise a team of Operators working solely on the telephone or online.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Customer Services Manager, you will need to be able to:

  • lead, motivate and develop staff members
  • make decisions and take responsibility for solving problems
  • prioritise tasks; you will need to be well organised
  • measure and analyse your organisation's performance against quality standards
  • think calmly and clearly even when other people are angry or upset
  • be tactful, resilient and flexible
  • pay attention to detail
  • be patient, pleasant and polite

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £21,000 - £23,500
  • With experience: £26,000 - £30,500
  • Senior Customer Services Managers earn £34,000 - £39,000

Profit and target related bonuses are common.

Hours of work

Hours of work for Customer Services Managers vary depending on the type of organisation they work for. Many work 9 am - 5 pm, Monday to Friday, and some might be required to work Saturdays. Those who work in call centres or retail stores might be required to work evenings or shifts.

Where could I work?

Most types of business and public sector organisation employ a Customer Services Manager. Employers include:

  • banks
  • building societies
  • insurance companies
  • gas, electricity, phone and water companies
  • local authority departments
  • department stores
  • supermarkets
  • mail order companies
  • public transport providers

Opportunities for Customer Services Managers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, through the Institute of Customer Service website, on job boards and large employers' websites, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus. Job vacancies can also be found on the Institute of Customer Service website.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

It is possible to enter the profession as a Customer Services Assistant or Call Centre Operator and progress to a supervisory or managerial position.

An Advanced, Higher Level, or Degree Apprenticeship is also great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Applicants for direct entry to managerial trainee posts could be at an advantage if they have a degree, HND or foundation degree in, for example, business studies, marketing, management, retail or service sector management.

Training

If you would like some training, City & Guilds offer a level 3 qualification in customer service. This course has a range of units, which include:

  • demonstrating your understanding of customer service
  • demonstrating understanding of the rules that impact on improvements in customer service
  • dealing with customers in writing or electronically
  • using customer service as a competitive tool
  • organising the promotion of additional services or products to customers
  • building a customer service knowledge set
  • organising the delivery of reliable customer service
  • improving the customer relationship
  • processing customer service complaints
  • working with others to improve customer service
  • leading a team to improve customer service

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience working as a Customer Service Assistant would be really useful for this career.

Progression

Customer Services Managers can progress to senior management or Director posts.

Qualifications

Customer Services Managers tend to have a wide range of qualifications. Some companies might ask for a good general standard of education with at least 4/5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, or equivalent. Others prefer applicants to have A levels, and many might favour graduates.

To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate level Apprenticeship.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

For entry to a degree course in marketing, retailing or business studies, the usual requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects

English language and maths are usually required at GCSE level (grade C/4 or above).

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, course requirements vary so check prospectuses carefully.

Some companies might ask for qualifications that are specific to their particular industry/business sector.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Entry

Some entrants have gained skills as customer service assistants, and are then promoted to supervisor and management roles.

You might be able to take an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Customer Service for entry as a customer service assistant.

Graduate training schemes might be available with larger employers.

Access courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (for example, Access to Business) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Distance learning

There are degree and postgraduate courses in business available by distance learning.

The Open University offers foundation degrees in business and retail management.

Statistics

  • 12% of customer services managers work part-time.
  • 13% have flexible hours.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

Institute of Customer Service (ICS)

Tel: 01206 571716

Website: www.instituteofcustomerservice.com

Open University (OU)

Tel: 0845 3006090

Website: www.open.ac.uk

Inside Careers

Specialists in graduate careers

Address: Unit 6, The Quad, 49 Atalanta Street, Fulham, London SW6 6TU

Tel: 020 7565 7900

Website: www.insidecareers.co.uk

Getting into Business & Economics Courses

Author: Carly Roberts Publisher: Trotman

Website: www.prospectseducationresources.co.uk/products/9781911067382.html

Jobsite UK

Retail, fashion and hospitality industries

Tel: 020 8340 3366

Email: help@jobsite.co.uk

Website: www.theappointment.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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