Future-proof your customer service job

Young beautiful call center worker

We all know that customer service requires great communication skills, patience and organisation. But as the customer service job role evolves will the required skills change as well?

To help you future-proof your job and continue to develop in your career, we’re sharing the future skills of customer service professionals:

  • Willingness to learn – this one tops the list for obvious reasons. The nature of a customer service job is changing entirely which means you need to be willing to change with it. Your job requires you to adapt to the different ways customers want to get in contact with you – how, when, where and why.
  • Flexible working hours – just as people change how they get in touch with you, opinion is changing on when a business should be available for support…and customers think it should be 24/7. If you’re really looking to excel in a customer service role you have to be open to working hours outside the normal 9-5.
  • Tech-savvy skills – customers are increasingly turning to untraditional channels for help, which means you need to be ready when your company decides to turn on live chats, social media support or a whole new platform entirely.
  • Thick skin – the old adage “the customer is always right” means more today, in the age of social media, than it’s ever meant before. In an instant someone can publicly disgrace a company and widely share customer service responses – putting even more pressure and attention on you. And knowing that most companies will cave into customer demands over risking a social media crisis, people come out guns-a-blazing at customer service representatives!
  • A bit of creativity – a refund and an apology used to be all it took to satisfy an unhappy customer, but today people seem to demand more and more from every business even when service is strong. As this pressure continues to mount it’ll be on the customer service representatives to keep an open mind and offer creative solutions to customer issues.  A little bit of creative thinking could diffuse a sticky situation.

Need a little help adapting to the changes in your industry? Check out our Training Courses and see which courses could help you expand your skill set.

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How to research your interviewer ahead of an interview

young man looks with binoculars sitting on a suitcase in the mid

You should know by now that recruiters, employers and hiring managers alike are all looking you up on social media. Should you being doing the same?

Looking for a new job is challenging so when you land an interview it’s important to be as prepared as possible, here’s how to leverage social media when it comes to learning a bit more about your interviewer.

 

Go ahead and “follow”

No, we don’t mean stalk! There’s nothing wrong with using the power of the internet to uncover what you can about your interviewer – by contrast it can actually show a good deal of initiative and prove that you’ve taken the time to research ahead of your interview, so don’t be worried that you’re doing something sneaky. That being said, if you are looking someone up on social media, it’s best to be transparent about it. Go ahead and follow them on Twitter, that way if you mention one of their Tweets during the interview it won’t catch them off guard!

 

Pay particular attention to LinkedIn

While it’s recommended to stay honest about who you’re looking at online, you’re safest bet is to stick to profiles closely linked to work. Twitter is a good option, but LinkedIn is where you should really focus your energy. This will help you remain professional and will likely offer more insight into the company than any other platform.

If you connect with your interviewer or recruiter on LinkedIn, you’ll instantly be added to their professional network – meaning, even if this job doesn’t work out you’ll have a way to get in touch down the line.

 

Look for a common interest

By far the best way to use social media to your advantage in this situation is to learn as much as you can about who you’re about to meet with. Finding something you have in common allows you to make a more personal connection during the interview. Look for common threads such as friends, colleagues, universities, events or interested. This will give you something outside of the job role to discuss during the interview.

Having something in common can often ease the tension and instantly makes you more memorable.

 

Be a bit careful

We’ve looked at the benefits of researching your interviewer on social media, but be warned that there are some drawbacks. Try and be as sensible as possible in your research, avoiding profiles that look very personal, try not comment or ‘like’ their content until you’ve met in person. And remember…if you found them on social media they can probably find you too!

Get tips to cleaning up your online image here.

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An Interview with Russell Taylor – The Technical Recruitment People

RT Logo 15

Russell Taylor Group Ltd operates on both a National and Global scale as a niche provider of search and selection recruitment services. Some of the main sectors they cover include: Oil and Gas, Nuclear and Energy and Health and Safety, amongst others. Here we talk with Rob Kurton, Operations Director at their Bromborough Office, about his experiences in the recruitment industry. 

  1. What makes your company stand out from the crowd?

    We are a family owned recruitment business which places a huge emphasis on work/life balance. We have resisted the temptation to become a KPI driven company like so many of our competitors, allowing our consultants to focus on delivering the best possible results for our candidates and clients alike, rather than pushing performance targets for the sake of it! As an Investor in People (Silver) accredited business, we are extremely proud of the working environment that is present within all of our offices. This reflects in the level of service that we provide to our clients within the engineering and construction sectors.

  2. How did you get into recruitment?

    Having been made redundant from a marketing position, I was trying to find another role within marketing and came into contact with several agencies during my job search. One of these agencies offered me a job, which I decided to accept. The rest, as they say, is history.

  3. What would you be doing if you weren’t in recruitment?

    I’ve never really given that much thought to be honest. With hindsight, I would have loved to have played rugby at a professional level or worked within the game somehow. Otherwise, I would be working within property perhaps?

  4. What is your top tip for candidates looking for work?

    Be proactive and make sure that you follow all of your applications up with a telephone call. You never know, the fact that you’ve taken the time to speak to the person who has posted the vacancy, may separate you from the crowd.

  5. What do you find the most rewarding about working in recruitment?

    Apart from seeing people securing their dream positions on a day-to-day basis, I also get to see our own staff developing their own personal careers, whilst earning a very good living to boot!

  6. What are your predictions for the recruitment year ahead?

    Busy, busy, busy! Business has returned to and even surpassed pre-recession levels with no signs of it slowing down. The biggest challenge is now finding suitably skilled candidates to fill our clients’ ever increasing number of vacancies.

  7. Have you, personally, ever made an interview faux pas? If so, what was it?

    In my early twenties, I once turned up to an interview with what I thought was a very smart and professional looking briefcase. Somehow, I still got the job but was ridiculed on a regular basis for the 4 years that I ended up working for that company!

  8. If you could meet one famous person – dead or alive – who would it be and why? 

    Johnny Wilkinson I think….I’d love to know what went through his mind before, and what it felt like after he’d slotted that Rugby World Cup winning drop-goal in 2003 against Australia.

To find out more about Russell Taylor, visit their website. 

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How to Pass your Probation Period at work

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A one, three or six month probationary period is completely normal in many types of job. Following a successful interview process and induction, your probation period is in place to ensure that you’re the right fit for the vacancy, and that you can see yourself staying with the company in the long term. So, how can you make sure you’ll pass your probationary period and get offered that permanent contract?

 

Be proactive

Perhaps there’ll be a rigid structure of training in place, or perhaps they’ll take a ‘learn on the job’ approach. Make the most of the options available to you, and fully immerse yourself in learning new techniques and information. If you feel like you can take on extra work, let your manager know you are open to upping your workload – but don’t insist on it if they are keen for you to take things slow.

 

Keep track

Make records of everything you learn, and all of the work you complete during your probation period. It will be handy to look over this before your probationary meeting, especially if you will be required to discuss what you have contributed to the business so far. You may also find it easier to look back on your own notes if you forget some important information, too – there’s so much to absorb in the first few weeks, after all.

 

Ask how you’re doing

There should be regular catch-ups in place, particularly during those first few weeks of employment. However, if you feel as though you need to touch base with your manager more often, don’t be hesitant in asking for more feedback. If any issues arise it is best to catch them sooner rather than later, and this will also show your keenness in making the most of the opportunity that’s been given to you.

 

Make friends

It sounds simple enough, right? Your manager will be assessing you based on team fit as well as performance, so if they can see that you’ve integrated well with your team mates, this will definitely count in your favour! Environment and culture should be important considerations for any company.

 

For more career tips visit the CV-Library Career Advice Centre.

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How to work your way out of a career rut

frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at offi

This time of year can breathe life back into everything you do, but what happens if you feel stuck in your career? Before making any drastic decisions think about how you ended up in this career rut, and what can realistically help you get ‘un-stuck’.

Why do you feel stuck?

Identifying the issue at the core of your rut will give you clarity on how you ended up in this situation. Did you jump into a career straight out of university and have developed different interests now? Perhaps you feel you’ve excelled in your position and haven’t been given the opportunity to progress. Or maybe you simply don’t feel excited about what you do anymore.

Identify your obstacles

Once you understand what the overall issue is, narrow it down further – is someone stifling your success on a particular project? Is there limited room to grow and expand your skills? Have you changed your behaviour since joining the company?

Sit down and make a list of these obstacles and be honest with yourself when it comes to whether or not you are creating obstacles for yourself.  Often, feelings of fear or boredom can lead to feeling stuck in your career.

Create a plan of action

Armed with your list of obstacles, it’s time to think about how you can resolve the issues. Sometimes making simple adjustments to your daily habits can reinvigorate your career – this may mean changing the way you communicate or trying some new behaviours. With a few ideas in mind, set yourself up with a plan of action that will give you something to work towards.

Of course if there are no solutions to your obstacles it may be time to consider making a bigger career change – get tips more advice on this in our Career Centre.

Decision time?

A few weeks into your plan is the best time to reassess the situation. Think back to why you were feeling stuck in the first place and determine if you still feel the same way. Hopefully you’ll have a new attitude and will be feeling positive about the future. If not, then you need to consider what’s next in your career.

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British Sandwich Week – What’s your favourite lunchtime sarnie?

cold cut turkey sandwich on whole wheat with swiss cheese

British Sandwich Week (11-17 May) is here! And what better week could there be than one which provides an opportunity to celebrate Britain’s staple lunchtime treat?! Workers across the nation indulge in a sandwich on a daily basis, so today we are taking a look at the most-loved fillings.

But firstly, where does the sandwich originate from?

It’s claimed that the fourth Earl of Sandwich invented the famous British snack back in the 1700′s. As a heavy gambler, he did not like to leave the table when in the middle of a game and instead asked to be brought meat in between two slices of bread… thus creating the wonder that is the sandwich. Now there’s no question that the meat variety remains a firm favourite, but today there are many different fillings.

The British Sandwich Association trawled the UK’s supermarkets to find the Top 9 most-bought sandwiches and here are the results:

1. Chicken and Bacon
2. Prawn Mayonnaise
3. Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato
4. Chicken Salad
5. Ploughmans
6. Egg and Cress
7. Chicken and Stuffing
8. Southern Fried Chicken
9. Tuna and Sweetcorn

Is your top sandwich on this list, or do you have a different personal favourite? Get involved and spread some inspiration – let us know what you’ve got in your sandwich today and tell us your best-loved fillings!

Pausing for a lunch break is the best way to prepare yourself for the afternoon ahead. So this week, find the time to put down your work and pick up your sandwich and refuel yourself for the rest of the day!

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/12/09/britains-favourite-sandwi_n_6294544.html 

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Walk to Work Week – Take steps towards a healthier you

Business People Corporate Walking Commuting City Concept
 

When you’re working all day it can be all too easy to skip the exercise, but with this week being Walk to Work Week (11th-15th May), there’s no better time to get yourself moving! Run by ‘Living Stones’ as part of ‘National Walking Month’, we take a look at the benefits of getting involved in this great initiative!
 

Improve your fitness
They say the key to fitness is eating less and exercising more, but when you’re sat at work all day, this can be easier said than done. By finding the time and energy to walk to work instead of driving, you’ve already done some exercise for the day before you’ve even got to your desk!
 

Save the pennies!
We all know that transport can be costly. What better way to save a bit of money than walking to work, even if just for a few days a week. Maybe you live far away and can’t reasonably walk the whole distance. Why not see if you can get off the bus or train a stop earlier, or park your car slightly further from the office and walk the remaining distance. This way, at least you’re getting a little more exercise and you may even save money on transport!
 

Be kinder to the planet
Just by walking to work you are taking steps towards being a greener you – cutting your environmental footprint.
 

Make new friends or bond with your team
Make the Walk to Work Week fun! See if you can get a competition going with your colleagues, or see if there is anyone that lives nearby that would like to take part with you. It’s a great way to have a little challenge going at work and is a perfect opportunity to get to know your work friends a little better.
 

Relieve some stress
The daily commute can sometimes be a stressful time of the day; whether you are stuck in traffic, you can’t find a parking space, you missed the bus or the train is delayed – they can all be a bad start the day. Why not relieve the stresses of the morning and saunter into the office at your own pace.

 

You may not be able to walk to work if you live far away, but maybe you could consider popping out for a walk on your lunch-break to make the most of the great outdoors. Use the week as a catalyst for change: get fit, get involved with the team, and relieve some stress. You never know, it may be the beginnings of a new hobby!

To find out more about Walk to Work Week and to get involved, visit: http://walktoworkweek.org.uk/.

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What does a Conservative government mean for job-hunters?

London, the UK. Red bus in motion and Big Ben, the Palace of Wes

The long-awaited outcome of the General Election has been revealed, with David Cameron leading the Conservatives to victory. Maintaining his position as Prime Minister and making his return to Downing Street, we take a look at what this result means for the professionals and job-hunters of the nation.

Based on clear values of wanting to reward work in our country, those who put in and do their best should find the system on their side. As I put it on the steps of Downing Street five years ago, those who can should, those who can’t we will always help.” - David Cameron

With David outlining his approach to government, here’s our round-up of some of the main pledges to influence the workers and job-hunters of Great Britain:

  • Conservatives aim to help businesses create 2 million new jobs and 3 million new apprenticeships
    Keen to keep employment levels rising and help young people take their first step onto the career ladder, Cameron pledges to raise the number of opportunities available.

     

  • Personal tax allowance is to be raised to £12,500
    This was one of the main parts of their election pledge, announced in 2013, providing us all with extra disposable income each month.

     

  • Minimum wage set to be increased to £6.70 an hour this Autumn
    And also pledges to pass a new law that would mean all those working 30 hours a week and earning the minimum wage will not pay income tax on earnings
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  • Working parents are to be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare per week for children aged 3-4 years old
    Helping working parents with childcare will make the return to work for parents easier and will enable parents to work more hours. 

This is only a snippet of Cameron’s manifesto and they’ll be lots more to talk about in the coming months. But for now, after so many weeks of political debate, let’s just sit back and enjoy the weekend!

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Polling Day is here! Have you spotted us around London today?

advan-blog (6)With Polling Day upon us, the General Election is heating up and the outcome is fast-approaching. Our van has been busy touring the streets of London and sparking conversation among city-goers. Given the serious tone that surrounds the nation today, we have been shedding a little humour on the topic, asking: “Who will be looking for their next job?”

Our van has travelled up and down the nation’s capital – stopping outside numerous polling stations, driving through some of the city’s busiest business districts and pausing outside some of the biggest names in publishing.

We’ve paid a visit to Big Ben in Westminster, toured the streets of Tower Hill and made our way across to Euston – to name just a few of the pitstops we’ve made today! Along the way, we’ve paused outside some of the best-known publishing buildings, including Northcliffe House and Kings Place. With these buildings housing the likes of the Metro, Evening Standard, Daily Mail, The Guardian and Observer, we hope to have ignited a little bit of discussion and humour in the office, and on the streets!

With some of the biggest brands in the UK jumping on to the General Election debate, it’s great to have been noticed for our campaign by Marketing Magazine in their ‘Best Brand Reactions to Today’s Elections’. To see what they had to say, take a look here.

If you have seen our van around today, get involved and let us know using #cvelection on Twitter!

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General Election 2015 – CV-Library Drums Up Political Debate in London

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Which party leader will soon be looking for their next job?

With a strong focus on tomorrow’s poll, have any of the party leaders looked ahead of Friday’s outcome? Here at CV-Library, we are asking Londoner’s exactly that, questioning: ‘Who will be looking for their next role?’

Throughout Thursday, keep an eye out for our CV-Library van. We will be stopping outside numerous polling venues and many of the city’s key train stations, including Waterloo, Westminster, Canary Wharf and Paddington, and would love to see you get involved in the trail by tweeting us your photographs!

We are calling for the people of London to get involved in the debate by using the hashtag #cvelection. Join the discussion and tell us who you think may need to turn to our services in the wake of the General Election, or tweet us your photographs of our van!

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