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Work Placement Customer Service Jobs

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          Helping you find a career in the customer service industry

          Customer service workers are on the frontline of the most industries. You're the first point of contact between a business and its customers. This means you'll be getting to meet and speak to a lot of different people, confronting unique problems and coming up with solutions that will keep your customers happy. A good customer service agent can be the difference between a one-time purchase and a loyal customer who only buys your brand.

          Customer service is relied on heavily in the banking, retail and travel industry, as well as many others. This means there's a lot of opportunities in the industry for individuals with a diverse range of interests. Perhaps you have a passion for shopping and want to work within the retail sector, or maybe you've got a head for finance and want to work in a bank, or maybe you love seeing the latest blockbusters and working in a cinema really appeals to you. There's always a place for you in customer service.

          Sometimes you'll be dealing with customers face to face and at other times over the phone or via email. At the end of the day, your aim is to make sure customers are making purchases from the business you work for, so good interpersonal and persuasive skills will take you a long way in the industry.

          Customer service also offers jobs with flexible hours. Some companies will need customer service agents that work a 9-5 shift, while others will need agents at different times. There's a large demand for workers in the industry, so you should be able to find work with hours that suit your needs.

          There's room for growth in the industry too. You may start out as a call centre operator, but with hard work and dedication, you could find yourself running the office, or in a head office role developing strategies and policies to improve the customer service function of your business!

          Find out more
          • FAQs
          Skills & interests you'll need

          A lot of the skills you'll need for one customer service job will be transferable to other positions within the field. Some positions may require more of one skill than another. For example, working as a theatre attendant will require confidence working face to face with customers, while a call centre customer service agent will need some IT skills, as well as a good telephone manner.

          You'll need to be comfortable interacting with lots of different people, so developing your communication skills will be essential.

          How to get Customer service internships, work experience or placements

          Quite often you won't need a degree to begin a career in customer service, though it can be helpful if you are looking to apply for roles in head office graduate schemes. Getting some basic work experience will help you stand out though.

          A certificate in customer service may be useful. City & Guilds Business Group offers for all ages.

          Many larger businesses (particularly in retail, telecoms or banking sectors) will offer a range of different work placement schemes aimed at university students or sixth formers. These can range from a year-long, paid placement during your degree (a ‘sandwich year' or industrial placement), to a summer internship (usually 2-3 months), to a short 2-3 weeks of work shadowing.

          A ‘sandwich' year is usually taken between the penultimate and final years of your degree course, and many people who undertake placements during their degrees report that the experience they received was highly beneficial for their career search after graduating (many employers will also give hiring preference in their graduate schemes to people who have completed placements with them and made a good impression!) Industrial placements can also be a great way to earn a year's salary and ease students' financial worries ahead of their final years. Most work placements are recruited during the first term of your penultimate year.

          Many degree courses in business-related subjects will have a ‘sandwich year' as part of the degree's structure, so you might be able to find out details about placements in buying from your department. If you are particularly interested in a career in customer service, it might also be worthwhile speaking to your university's careers department to see whether they have links to particular businesses. Even if your degree does not have a ‘sandwich' year in its structure, many universities will allow you to take a year out for a placement, so if you are interested in undertaking a placement, speak to your department.

          Most summer internships and work experience programmes will be advertised on employers' websites, so you should identify a range of businesses which interest you and look for details of various programmes. Most employers will expect summer intern to be going into their final year of a degree, while work experience programmes are aimed at college students.

          Read more about the Customer service industry

          Institute of Customer Service
          The International Customer Service Institute