What skills do you need for customer service?

Customer service is essential to all businesses, which means it’s a common job role in the UK. If you’re looking to get into a customer service role for the first time, you might be wondering what skills, qualifications, and experience you need to deliver contact centre services.

Here, we have the guide to everything you need in order to start a successful career in customer service.

What skills do you need for customer service?

There are a range of skills that will come in useful for a role in customer services.

Communication skills

Understandably, communication skills are essential to these roles. Whether you want to provide customer services in-person, over the phone, via email, or via live chat, you need solid communication skills.

Being a strong communicator means you’re a good active listener, you understand how friendly and formally you should be speaking to people, and you understand the most appropriate methods of communication.


Whether you’re working in retail or energy, empathy will be hugely important to how you deal with customers. You may speak to someone who can’t afford to pay their bills right now, or you might have a customer whose struggle to order something on your website has personal implications.

Being empathetic and understanding how these things are affecting your customers will allow you to deal with them more effectively and put your customers at ease. Nobody wants to deal with an advisor that doesn’t understand how they’re feeling.


If you choose to work for a customer service outsourcing business like Kura, being able to adapt to different clients and sectors will be a good skill to have. We work with businesses across many industries, from utilities to charity and care services.

Chances are, you’ll remain on one client for long periods of time, but there may be opportunities for you to switch around depending on call volumes and support needs. It’s a great opportunity to test your hand in different businesses.

Digital skills

So much customer service is now digital. But even if you choose a role that has you dealing with clients in person or over the phone, you’ll still be using some level of tech. You may be working in a shop that requires you to enter customer details into a computer or iPad, or you could be using your internal system to navigate a buyer’s account.

There’s a skills gap when it comes to digital abilities, so if you’re tech-savvy, this can really give you an edge when it comes to applying for customer service roles. Knowledge of different devices and types of apps and systems will put you in good stead.

Additional helpful customer service skills

The three above skills are the most critical to customer service roles, but you’ll also benefit from having the following capabilities:

• Time management skills
• Patience
• Problem-solving skills
• Resilience
• Responsiveness and timeliness
• Creativity
• Multi-tasking

What qualifications do you need to work in customer service?

The good news is that many customer service jobs don’t require high-level qualifications.

Many of these roles will require sufficient GCSE grades in Maths and English so you can help customers with pricing or mathematical queries and communicate effectively with them. An IT qualification will also be useful to ensure you’re computer literate.

If you want to set yourself apart from other candidates and you’re interested in pursuing a lifelong career in customer service, you can choose to take a customer service qualification to set yourself apart and help you to progress in your career.

You can take NVQ certificates at Level 1, 2, and 3 to prepare yourself for these roles and give yourself the best chance of success. Apprenticeships in customer service are also available, allowing you to earn while you learn and gain the skills you need while on the job.

Do you need experience to work in customer service?

Some roles may require prior customer service experience, while entry-level positions are often more accepting of people who don’t have much or any prior experience.

If you’ve previously had jobs that have allowed you to develop some of the skills necessary for this sector, this can be beneficial. Whether you’ve been a part-time shop assistant, worked in a local restaurant, or even delivered newspapers when you were younger, you’ll be able to transition into a customer service role.

When it comes to progressing through your career, you’ll need experience in customer service to advance into managerial positions. Prior management experience is also good to have, so you could ask to shadow a manager in your current service-based role.

How to work in customer service


But seriously, if you think you’ve got the above skills, any relevant qualifications, and a passion for helping others, we really do want to hear from you.

We have customer service jobs and call centre jobs available at all levels, from apprentice and entry-level all the way up to senior management positions.

Not sure which position is best for you? You can email us at [email protected] with some information about your experience and where you’re based, and our friendly team can help you find the best role. You could also give us a call on 0141 378 3112.