Customer Service Specialist Standard

The main purpose of a customer service specialist is to be a ‘professional’ for direct customer support within all sectors and organisation types. You are an advocate of Customer Service who acts as a referral point for dealing with more complex or technical customer requests, complaints, and queries. You are often an escalation point for complicated or ongoing customer problems. As an expert in your organisations’ products and/or services, you share knowledge with your wider team and colleagues. You gather and analyse data and customer information that influences change and improvements in service. Utilising both organisational and generic IT systems to carry out your role with an awareness of other digital technologies. This could be in many types of environment including contact centres, retail, webchat, service industry or any customer service point

Work Based Project (supported by an interview)

You must submit a written report, on a project you have carried out, to their EPAO 2 weeks prior to an interview date. This date will be agreed when you pass through the Gateway process.

The written report must be 2500 words (+/- 10%), excluding annexes. All work on the project will be undertaken following the Gateway process over a two-month period. 

The subject of the project report should be agreed with the EPAO with guidance from the employer in order to allow them to comment on appropriateness for their business but the EPAO must make a decision to ensure consistency. The subject should cover a specific high-level challenge (such as a complaint or difficult situation) that you have dealt with explaining what it was, what actions (planning and execution) t tool, what solutions were offered, details of any recommendations made to change a policy or process and any feedback from the customer. Details should also include your responsibilities and results. 

The report should contain annexes that are attributable to you and the actions you took. Example evidence could be emails, letters, meeting notes, call logs, workflow documents or, feedback.

Although there is flexibility in the order in which each assessment method is carried out, it is recommended that the written work-based project takes place before the professional discussion.

The work-based project is designed to ensure your learning meets the needs of the business and is relevant to your role.

Your employer will ensure you have sufficient time and the necessary resources to plan and undertake the research and produce the written report.



Professional Discussion (supported by portfolio evidence)

  • The professional discussion will last for 60 minutes (+/- 10%).
  • During the professional discussion, evidence from the on-programme portfolio of evidence will be used as a base to support the professional discussion. The apprentice will extract, from their portfolio, evidence which is suitable for supporting them in their professional discussion. This evidence will consist of a minimum of 10 pieces of evidence to a maximum of 15 pieces and related to the standards which apply to the professional discussion. This could include witness statements, customer feedback such as emails or letters, manager feedback from one-to-one or alike. The portfolio of evidence is not directly assessed.
  • Apprentices must submit the requested portfolio of evidence (10-15 pieces) to their EPAO 2 weeks prior to the professional discussion date. This date will be agreed when the apprentice passes through Gateway process. This evidence will be considered by the independent assessor and use for the planning to the discussion.
  • The professional discussion can be either face-to-face or via online videoconference, if appropriate. EPAOs must ensure that it is conducted in a suitable controlled environment. I.e. a quiet room, free from distraction and influence.



Practical Observation (with Q&As)

  • The practical observation is covered in one session, lasting 1 hour +/- 10% tolerance either way.
  • The apprentice must be observed, by an independent assessor, undertaking a range of day to day workplace activities. The observation should involve activities which allow the apprentice to demonstrate the full range of their knowledge, skills and behaviours required.
  • The observation must include questioning to clarify knowledge and understanding is being applied. Standardises questions must be devised by the EPAOs to explore the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviour related to the KSBs in Appendix A. Questions must be open questions and independent assessors may ask supplementary questions as required to seek further clarification. Supplementary questions will be devised by the independent assessor as required.
  • During the practical observation the apprentice should have the opportunity, if required, to move from one area/function of the business to another in order to best demonstrate how they have applied their KSBs in a realistic work environment to achieve genuine and demanding work objectives.
  • The independent assessor must plan the practical observation in conjunction with the apprentice and their employer, taking account of workplace considerations. This would typically include timing, the right environment and enough space for the apprentice to be able to do their job.
  • The practical observation must take place in the apprentice’s workplace. The amount of questioning time carried out during the observation should not exceed 15% of the total time allowed for the practical observation.
  • The practical observation must: o Reflect typical working conditions. o Allow the apprentice to demonstrate all aspects of the standard being assessed. o Take a synoptic approach to assessment the overall competence. o Be carried out on a one-to-one basis.
  • The apprentice must be given 2 weeks’ notice of the practical observation. The observation can be before or after the work-based project but it is recommended not before the professional discussion.
  • The independent assessor must use the assessment tools and procedures that are set by the EPAO to record the practical observation


© Copyright JC Training & Consultancy