5 skills you'll gain from customer service jobs

Darcy Nathan, Editorial assistant
March, 2024

Whether you're looking to advance within your current field or transition to a new career, the skills you acquire working in customer service will serve you well throughout your professional life 

When applying for a job, it's important to showcase your experience and skills. Customer service roles, such as retail assistant, waiting staff or cashier are a perfect opportunity to develop transferable skills. Providing specific examples of how you have developed these skills in real-life situations can give potential employers a better understanding of your capabilities and increase your chances of getting hired.

1. Teamwork

Collaboration is a crucial skill required in all areas of work. In customer service, it enables you to work alongside colleagues, share knowledge, escalate issues, and provide seamless customer support. All jobs require some degree of collaboration, even jobs that may appear to be solo. For example, writers or coders may work alone, but must also be able to communicate with editors, designers, or programmers to ensure campaigns are successful.

Demonstrating your ability to work with others towards a common goal is crucial when applying for a job. One way to do this is by giving an example of how you resolved a conflict in your previous job. This may include a disagreement with a colleague or a situation where you had to work with different departments. Highlighting such instances will demonstrate your collaborative work skills, which are an asset in any workplace.

2. Problem solving

Customer service is all about finding solutions. You troubleshoot issues, identify root causes, and think creatively to find resolutions that satisfy customers. As a customer service representative, you have to think quickly and produce creative solutions that meet the customer's needs and align with company policies. This requires critical thinking, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure. These problem-solving skills are crucial in any field, from engineering to finance.

To evidence this to an employer, you could use examples of a time you've identified the root cause of the problem, discovered a solution, and then monitored the issue until it is resolved. This could be a task as simple as correcting a mistake in a food order or processing a clothing return.

3. Communication

Working in hospitality you may often come across customers who are frustrated or upset. This requires you to de-escalate and address their concerns. By perfecting your communication skills under pressure, you can find solutions that satisfy customers' needs and expectations.

On a CV, you can highlight how you used your active listening skills and clear, concise language to ensure customer satisfaction, or how you effectively conveyed product features and benefits to increase sales in retail roles. These examples highlight your ability to prioritise customer needs while achieving business objectives - a valuable skill set in any work environment.

4. Time management

Efficient time management is crucial in any service profession. Whether you're catering to guest requests or managing multiple reservations, staying organised is important.

In a job application, you might highlight this by explaining 'during my time at the call centre, I was able to achieve exceptional customer satisfaction ratings by effectively managing multiple inquiries across phone, email, and chat channels.'

Prioritising tasks is also a vital skill in any work environment. For instance, an experienced server knows that taking new orders is more important than momentarily refilling water glasses and can efficiently address both requirements. Similarly, you could talk about how you've dealt with unforeseen disruptions, such as till system failures, by prioritising critical jobs and keeping customers informed about the situation.

5. Adaptability

If you've worked in the customer service industry, you'll know that adaptability is key. You must be able to adjust your schedule, think on your feet, and oversee unexpected situations with ease. This trait is highly valued in the workplace, as it demonstrates your potential as a professional who can navigate challenges and learn new skills quickly.

To strengthen your application, provide specific examples of your adaptability. Perhaps you've mastered a new software program or guest reservation system, or you've successfully adapted to a new and demanding workplace environment. Highlighting these experiences will set you apart from other candidates and show your leadership potential.

To learn more about qualities you can add to your CV to stand out from the crowd, see what skills do employers want?

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page