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How to become a Customer Services Assistant

customer services assistant careers

What does a Customer Services Assistant do?

Customer service assistants work in a variety of jobs involving regular or constant contact with customers, either answering customers’ enquiries or selling them goods or services face-to-face, by telephone or email. They usually work as part of a team, either as an information or sales assistant or in a specific customer services team or department. They might work in a shop, bank or local government office, in a call centre, or perhaps for an insurance or energy company.

Some customer service assistants work to targets set by the organisation and log information on a computerised database. They need clear, up-to-date knowledge of their organisation’s products and procedures in order to assist customers, and to deal with more difficult queries and situations.

Activities will vary according to the type and size of organisation they are working for, but they could include unpacking goods, stocking shelves, arranging displays or taking part in customer promotions or events. In a retail or banking environment the work may involve regular handling of payments.

What's the working environment like working as a Customer Services Assistant?

Customer service assistants usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, often including some weekend work. Supermarkets, other out-of-town retail outlets, garages, airports and hotels often open in the evenings, or in some cases 24 hours a day, so working hours are variable. Part-time work is often available.

The working environment is often very pressurised. Customer service assistants may have to either sit or stand in one place for lengthy periods and, in smaller organisations, may have to move stock from storerooms to display areas. They may be expected to wear a uniform, especially in larger organisations.

What does it take to become a Customer Services Assistant?

To be a customer services assistant you should:

  • have a genuine interest in working with and helping customers
  • have good communication skills
  • be able to work as part of a team
  • be well presented, polite, tactful and friendly
  • be numerate, lively and quick-thinking
  • be patient and calm
  • be able to handle complaints and difficult situations
  • understand computer systems and cash registers.

Customer Services Assistant Career Opportunities

There are many different customer services opportunities, especially in urban and well populated areas. The retail trade offers particularly good opportunities. Vacancies are usually advertised in local newspapers, careers offices or within the retail outlets themselves.

Many retail banks employ specific customer services teams as well as counter assistants. Customer contact and call centres are another big employer. There are customer services jobs in many other sectors too, for example transport, hotels, insurance, health care and information. Many organisations use the internet to advertise jobs.

There will be the opportunity of promotion to supervisory or management roles in many organisations (see Customer Services Manager profile). Some medium to large ones will offer training to assistants who show the potential for promotion. In smaller organisations, supervisory or management jobs often go to existing staff because of their knowledge of the organisation and its products.

It may be possible to move into a totally different type of business, as many customer services skills are transferable, or into a wider role within the same organisation.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Customer Services Assistant that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Customer Service (ICS)
2 Castle Court
St Peter’s Street
Colchester
CO1 1EW
Tel: 01206 571716
www.instituteofcustomerservice.com

Skillsmart Retail Ltd
40 Duke Street
London
W1A 1AB
Tel: 0800 093 5001
www.skillsmartretail.com



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