Why your retail, customer service and hospitality experience transfers well to care

Why your retail, customer service and hospitality experience transfers well to care

Identifying Retail, Hospitality and Customer Service Skills You Can Transfer To a Career in Care

Not everyone that has a successful career in care started their working life in the industry. Many people began in hospitality and retail and switched later on. There are reasons why people make that move, including looking for something more rewarding. One of the biggest reasons is that many care organisations focus on values-based recruitment.

Care organisations value people and the experience and skills they’ve gained in different environments. That’s why retail, customer service and hospitality experience can transfer well to care. Of course, when changing careers, it helps to identify and highlight those skills during an application and interviews.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to recognising previous roles and the associated transferable skills. Keep reading to find out how to use your existing experience to take your first steps towards a career in care.

What Is Customer Service?

Customer service representatives can work in many industries. They’re the front-facing aspect of companies. The roles can be varied, including helping customers face-to-face and in real time to find what they need in a shop. Other customer service reps might provide support over the phone or on social media handling queries, solving problems and addressing complaints.

Every customer service team aims to provide information and help customers buy and use products or services. The main responsibility is to ensure that people have a good experience during their entire time interacting with a company and its service or product.

Which Retail and Customer Service Skills Transfer Well To Care?

Since customer happiness is the key concern for retail and customer service staff, there are several skills that the role requires. Let’s explore them and how they transfer to care work.

  • Using positive language - how you treat a customer will significantly impact their experience. The same is true for residents and people supported when working in care. Communicating clearly and with compassion are integral to providing support for someone.

  • Good customer service - to be good at your job, you need to recognise what good customer service looks like. In care, it’s essential to know what’s required and how to do it in a way that delivers maximum results. Your employer will help you achieve this.

  • Listening skills - resolving a query or a customer complaint first requires you to understand the issue. In care, one half of communication is listening. It enables better teamwork and also empowers residents and the people cared for.

  • Product knowledge - to help someone find, buy and use a product or service, you need to know how it works. There isn’t a direct equivalent in care. However, knowing your clients, the activities that will help them and their preferences requires the same kind of memory and understanding.

  • Handling bad experiences - customer service teaches you that not everything runs smoothly all the time. Most times, it’s how you handle the situation afterwards that matters. Following procedures to resolve issues, being respectful and showing empathy can turn a negative into a positive in customer service and in care.

What Is Hospitality?

The hospitality industry involves roles where you welcome guests. It could be an event venue, a hotel or a restaurant. Typically, food and beverage, travel, luxury experiences or some kind of service is involved.

The roles are varied. They could include hospitality management, such as planning experiences, staff rotas and events. Alternatively, you could be interacting directly with guests to provide food, or other services. At all levels, the work involves providing an experience and meeting customer expectations.

Which Hospitality Skills Transfer Well To Care?

Hospitality jobs are similar to customer service roles in that interactions with customers are the main focus. Here are some crucial skills that transfer well from a hospitality role to care work

  • Great customer service - you know what great customer service looks like, including how the little details matter. Each day and each customer is different but you adapt to deliver a great service. Adapting to different environments and people is essential to delivering good care, too.

  • Teamwork - events and hotel or restaurant shifts can’t be managed alone; you need to communicate with your colleagues and they need to be able to rely on you. The same is true in care, with handovers, forming care plans and working with managers.

  • Planning - before you start a shift in a hospitality role, you look ahead to what the day will bring, whether that’s reservations, special dishes or a particular event. Planning is also crucial to care work, where you’ll need to plan around supporting different clients and prioritise tasks.

  • Communication skills - when you welcome guests you need to communicate positively and also listen to their requests. In a similar way, you’ll be using communication to help meet people’s needs in a care environment.

  • Understanding customer experiences - in hospitality, you need to know what’s expected and to detect whether people are having a good time; if not it’s your job to resolve that issue. In care, you can use the same skills of empathy, understanding and including others to provide support.

Focusing On Your Qualities in Your First Application

Transferable skills mean you can adapt your existing experience to a new career, and there are many ways to do so with a role in care. When making an application and at your interview, focus on the qualities mentioned above that you’re sure to have developed in your customer service, retail or hospitality role.

For more tips for first-time care position applicants, check out our guide on what to consider before you fill out your application.

Take the Next Step

You’re ready to take the next step and apply for a role in care. You can use our care resources to understand the different roles, career options and the benefits of working in care.