Customer service advisers provide a wide range of services offered at main post offices. They may sometimes be known as post office counter clerks, or counter sales assistants.
Their duties include:
- selling stamps and dealing with letters and parcels
- payment of pensions and benefits
- banking and savings services
- accepting bill payments
- dealing with vehicle registrations and issuing tax discs
- travel services such as checking passport applications and selling travel insurance and foreign currency.
All main post offices now have some form of retail activity attached to them, called a postshop, and customer service advisers may have to assist with this.
Hours and Environment
Customers service advisers work 36 hours (in London 35) over five days between Monday and Saturday. Job sharing and part-time work may be available.
They may work either behind a transparent security screen, or in an open plan office without a security screen.
Skills and Interests
To be a post office customer service adviser you should:
- be able to handle cash and information responsibly
- be good at mental and written arithmetic and use of a calculator
- have good keyboard skills
- have good communication skills, for understanding customer requirements and explaining services
- be able to work fast and accurately in what is often a very busy environment
- have a good memory for the many different forms and services
- be patient, helpful and able to remain calm under pressure
- be prepared to promote and sell products to customers.
No specific qualifications are required, although in order to pass the selection tests you are likely to need a reasonable standard of secondary education. GCSEs (A-D)/S grades (1-4) or equivalent in maths and English would be an advantage.
The first stage of the selection process is an online questionnaire to test your accurancy and number skills, followed by a telephone interview. If you pass these tests you will then have a face-to-face interview.
Previous customer service experience is useful, particularly experience of working in banks or building societies or retail.
Successful applicants have four weeks of induction training covering the activities of the average post office, including the Post Office computer sytem. This involves classroom work and on-the-job training with experienced staff.
Training opportunities are ongoing, and you may have the opportunity to work towards NVQ/SVQ at Level 2 or 3 in Retail Operations or Customer Service.
The Post Office is part of the Royal Mail Group PLC which includes Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide.
The number of customer service adviser jobs has fallen over recent years with the introduction of Direct Payment of benefits and the closure of some community post offices. However, there are still around 500 post offices and over 15,000 sub post offices across the country.
Promotion is normally to assistant branch manager or branch manager. Opportunities exist for further training, and employees with management potential may be helped to study for further qualifications.
Customer services advisers may also be employed by sub post offices and agencies. These are franchised business owned by sub-postmasters who advertise, recruit and train their own staff. Terms and conditions of employment, including rates of pay, are those offered by the owner and not the Post Office.
The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.
Post office customer service advisers start on around £11,000 to £14,000 a year.
With more experience this can rise to between £14,000 to £16,500 a year.
Pay may vary according to the location of the post office. An allowance is paid for working in London.
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POL Customer Care
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