Case study

Customer service manager — Aileen Foy

After graduating into a difficult labour market, Aileen has discovered she loves working with customers and helping them to achieve their training goals

What degree did you study and where?

I studied multimedia technology at Leeds Metropolitan University.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

The main thing I use from my course is the organisational skills. When I left school and went to university I realised how much I'd been spoon-fed in terms of having others getting everything ready for me.

University made things more real and enabled me to work more independently.

I also learned a lot about communication skills with different sorts of people and that has been vital too.

What do you do day-to-day?

I deal with all of the bookings for our courses, so as customers make bookings, either online or through our sales team, I process them, put them onto the database and chase payments.

I make sure that the students are all happy with what they're doing and that they all have the right information about the courses.

I also have to deal with the associated paperwork that comes after the courses. I process all of the scores and send them to the accredited courses.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

The main thing I enjoy is the relationships that you build with customers. When people phone up they might not be entirely sure what course they need to go on because there's so much choice.

It's great to be able to guide them towards the right decision, which you know will benefit them.

I also really love the fact that once they've been on the course we receive feedback from them telling us how it's made an impact on their work.

We also get a lot of repeat customers and which we talk to on a weekly basis. It's nice to see their progression, we see them booking their course and then hopefully we see them pass and when they get their certificate they're over the moon.

What are the challenges?

Customer service is a very busy environment. One thing I've learned is how to manage my time, because when you're dealing with a product like training courses you have a deadline when all bookings need to be in.

If they're not it causes problems for our customers, so that's vitally important.

Any advice for others who would like to get into this career?

When I left university it was at a time when there were very few jobs available. I clutched at straws and tried to get into any job role, but I believe that perseverance is key.

If you get knocked back then perhaps it was because that role wouldn't have been right for you. Keep assessing your choices and applying for roles which will fit your skills and you'll make it.

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