We’ve added another one to the books! TQUK EPA now offers End-Point Assessment for the Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship!

Customer Service Specialists are the main professional in their organisation responsible for direct customer support. They act as a referral point for dealing with complex and technical customer queries, and also function as an escalation point for complicated or ongoing customer problems. They are an expert in their organisation’s products and services, and will share their knowledge with their wider team and colleagues.

Customer Service Specialists are required to analyse data and customer information in order to improve customer service across their organisation. Individuals in this role will be able to work in a range of environments including contact centres, webchat, the service industry or any other customer service point.

After undergoing an extensive training programme, Apprentices will need to pass their End-Point Assessment. The End-Point Assessment for the Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship will last for a maximum of three months and will consist of three components:

  • Practical Observation with Questions and Answers
  • Work-Based Project Supported by Interview
  • Professional Discussion with Portfolio of Evidence

Practical Observation with Questions and Answers

The Practical Observation will be graded on a fail/pass/distinction basis and will be covered in one session lasting 60 minutes +/- 10%. The Apprentice will be given 2 weeks’ notice of their Observation. The Observation can be carried out before or after the Work-Based Project but it is recommended that it should take place before the Professional Discussion.

The Apprentice will be observed in their workplace carrying out a range of day-to-day duties. The Observation should include activities which allow the Apprentice to demonstrate the full range of their knowledge, skills and behaviours. Apprentices should also have the opportunity, if required, to move from one area of their business to another in order to demonstrate how they’ve applied their knowledge, skills and behaviours to achieve their work objectives.

The Observation must:

  • Reflect typical working conditions
  • Allow the Apprentice to demonstrate all aspects of the standard being assessed
  • Take a synoptic approach to assessment
  • Be carried out on a one-to-one basis

The Practical Observation must also include questioning by the End-Point Assessor to clarify that the Apprentice’s knowledge and understanding is being applied to their work. Questions must be open-ended and End-Point Assessors may ask supplementary questions, in addition to the standardised questions devised by the EPAO, to seek further clarification from the Apprentice.

Work-Based Project Supported by Interview

The Work-Based Project is designed to ensure that the Apprentice’s learning meets the needs of their business and is relevant to their role. Apprentices must submit a 2,500 word +/- 10% Written Report on a Project that they have carried out to their EPAO two weeks before their Interview. All work on the Project must be undertaken over two months in the End-Point Assessment period. The subject of the Written Report should be agreed with the EPAO with guidance from the Employer to ensure that they can comment on the appropriateness for the business, but the EPAO will ultimately make the decision on whether to approve the Written Report.

The Project should cover a specific high-level challenge that the Apprentice has dealt with, such as a complaint or a difficult situation. The Written Report should:

  • Explain what the challenge was
  • Explain what actions, including planning and execution, that the Apprentice undertook
  • Explain what solutions were offered
  • Include details of any recommendations that were made to change a policy or process
  • Explain any feedback from the customer
  • Include details of the Apprentice’s responsibilities and results

The Written Report should include annexes consisting of evidence of the Apprentice’s actions. This can include emails, letters, meeting notes, call logs and so on.

The Work-Based Project will be supported by an Interview. This Interview will last for 60 minutes +/- 10% and will focus on the Written Report. It can take place face-to-face or with online video conferencing, if appropriate. Regardless, it will be conducted in a controlled environment in a quiet room free from distraction.

The Apprentice will be asked 10 competency-based questions by their End-Point Assessor. The Apprentice’s responses in the Interview will be assessed in addition to the Work-Based Project and End-Point Assessors will grade the Project and Interview holistically as a fail, pass or distinction.

Although there is flexibility in the order of assessment activities, it is recommended that the Work-Based Project takes place before the Professional Discussion.

Professional Discussion with Portfolio of Evidence

During their programme, Apprentices must gather a Portfolio that includes examples of their work throughout their apprenticeship. This portfolio will be used by the Apprentice to demonstrate to their Employer that they are ready for EPA. At least two weeks before their Professional Discussion, the Apprentice must extract 10-15 pieces of evidence from their Portfolio to submit to their EPAO which will support them in their Discussion. This evidence could include witness statements, customer feedback such as emails or letters, manager feedback from one-to-one sessions and so on.

The Professional Discussion will last for 60 minutes, +/- 10%. During the Discussion, the Apprentice will use evidence from their Portfolio to support them. The Discussion can be conducted face-to-face or with online video conferencing software and must take place in a controlled environment. The End-Point Assessor will use questions taken from a template set by the EPAO and will grade the Discussion as either fail, pass or distinction using the grading criteria in Appendix B in the standard.

Grading

In order to pass their apprenticeship, Apprentices must gain a pass in every End-Point Assessment element. Once the Apprentice has done this, their final grade can be calculated according to the table below:

Practical Observation with Q&A

Work-Based Project (Supported by Interview)

Professional Discussion (with Portfolio of Evidence)

Grade

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Pass

 

Distinction

Pass

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Distinction

After their apprenticeship is complete, Apprentices will be able to join the Institute of Customer Service as an individual member at professional level. If the Apprentice chooses to pursue customer service further in their career, then they may be eligible for further professional membership.

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And there you have it! We hope this helped all the interested Employers and Apprentices out there learn more about End-Point Assessment for the Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship. If you’d like to see the other Apprenticeship Standards which we offer EPA for, then click here.

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