How to become a Financial Services Customer Adviser. Read our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Financial Services Customer Adviser do?
Financial services customer advisers work in contact centres for banks, credit card companies and other companies offering financial services.
As an agent or adviser in a financial services centre, you would handle enquiries by telephone and e-mail. Depending on your job, these may range from straightforward information requests to complex complaints. Your work would also involve:
- using computerised systems to access customer information and update account details
- processing payments and withdrawals
- sending letters to customers
- selling financial products and services
- following security procedures
- handling complaints or referring them to a supervisor
- meeting targets for how many calls to handle.
With experience, you could specialise in giving mortgage and other financial advice, or supervise a team of staff.
You could be known by various other job titles, such as sales adviser or contact centre agent.
Contact centres are often open late into the evening and operate six or seven days a week, so evening and weekend shift work is common. Part-time hours and temporary contracts are widely available.
You would usually work in a large open-plan office, at a work station with a computer and a headset. The working environment can be very pressurised.
How much does a Financial Services Customer Adviser earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Starting salaries can be around £18,000 to £21,000 a year, plus commission.
- With experience this could rise to between £20,000 and £28,000 a year.
Many companies pay commission for meeting sales targets. Other benefits can include profit-related bonuses, subsidised mortgages, loans, pensions, shares and insurance.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Employers look for personal qualities such as confidence and a good telephone manner. You will find it useful to have computer skills and experience of customer service or office work. If you are successful in getting a job interview, it will usually include practical telephone and keyboard tests.
You do not always need formal qualifications to work in a contact centre. However, employers will usually ask for a good standard of general education, and you may have an advantage with some GCSEs including English and maths, or qualifications of a similar level.
Many colleges offer introductory courses in contact centre techniques, such as:
- City & Guilds (4423) Level 1 Certificate of Introduction to the Contact Centre Industry
- City & Guilds (4422) Certificate in Contact Centre Skills
- BTEC Level 1 Award in Introduction to Contact Centres.
These courses are not essential, but they may give you an advantage when looking for your first contact centre job.
You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Training and Development
You will be trained on the job when you start work in a banking contact centre. Your in-house training will usually include telephone skills, product knowledge and company procedures.
You will often get the chance to gain work-based qualifications, such as:
- NVQ levels 1 and 2 in Contact Centre Operations
- NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Retail Financial Services
- ifs School of Finance Customer Service Professional award.
You may need to take further specialist training and qualifications to progress into certain areas such as mortgage advice. This is because you must meet strict industry regulations about training and competence standards to work in some areas of financial services.
You will have continuous training for new financial products and procedures throughout your career.
With experience, you could progress to become a supervisor or manager, and take Contact Centre Professionals NVQs at levels 3, 4 and 5.
Skills and Knowledge
- excellent communication and listening skills
- good customer service skills
- the ability to work well under pressure
- a willingness to work to targets and deadlines
- a patient and professional manner
- accuracy and attention to detail
- good computer keyboard skills.
You could work at call centres for all kinds of financial services companies around the UK.
Jobs are advertised in the local press, through recruitment agencies and on employers’ own websites.
With further training, you could specialise in mortgage advice, pensions work or financial advice. With experience, you could progress into supervisory jobs.
Alternatively, you could move into retail (face-to-face) banking, or into contact centre work for other types of industry.