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NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service: An Outline

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Customer Service

Customer Service

What Is the Level 3 Diploma, and Who Is It For?

The OCR NVQ Level 3 Customer Service is for candidates working in a role that includes delivering and managing services for internal and external customers of an organisation/company and other partner organisations.

Candidates have to be accountable for their practice areas, and they will have to be working in a commercial customer service environment to pursue this qualification. They could be working on their own or with less supervision, as candidates should be able to make decisions independently and work on their own initiative.


This qualification is approved by the CFA as an essential component of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) and Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales (SASW) compliant apprenticeship frameworks for Customer Services.

This qualification can be completed as a whole diploma (full qualification) by achieving all the required credits (more on this below), or it can be completed as certificates for various units that the candidates require so that they qualify for their specific job role. It takes 12 to 18 months to complete your diploma if you are working full time, depending on how much time you are willing to spend working towards it.

Personally, I spent weekends working on my qualification, as the time provided by my organisation (one hour per week) was not sufficient. But then again, it was my personal choice; I was eager to have my qualification in hand as soon as possible.

Sharing My Experience With the Diploma Process

Having completed my Level 3 Diploma many months ago, I thought that I would share my experience, which I believe will greatly benefit any candidate who is currently in the process of completing it or is planning to take it on in the future. This is purely for reference purposes only so that you get an idea of what would be expected of you and up to what standard when you complete your paperwork.

Having gone through this journey myself with two qualifications in a row now (yes, I have my NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration), I am convinced as to how sometimes it can be really difficult to put your thoughts and actions (I mean the job) into words as well as convince the verifiers with the standards that they expect; by this, I mean they expect you to be very detailed in what you do on your job and with your knowledge of the job.

All about customer service

All about customer service

The Structure of the Qualification

The qualification itself is structured in a way that the units (59 units total) are categorised into various groups. The units are a mixture of Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 units, and there is a rule for the combination of units that you should complete, the number of minimum credits you should have in each level, i.e. level 2 and level 3, the number of units from each group, etc. There are also a few mandatory units that everyone taking a particular diploma needs to complete, and the rest are optional units but must comply with the rules of combination.

Rules of Combination

The rules of combination for NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service are as follows:

  1. Candidates must achieve a total of 42 credits in order to attain this qualification.
  2. Out of the 42 credits, 12 credits have to be from units under Group A.
  3. From the optional groups, candidates must achieve at least 30 credits and this has to be achieved by completing at least one unit from each optional group (i.e. all units should not be from the same group or one or two selective groups).
  4. Out of the above 30 credits from optional groups, at least 10 credits must be achieved through Level 3 units. This is mandatory as this is a Level 3 Diploma qualification. The rest of the units could be achieved either through completing Level 2 or Level 3 or Level 4 (completing a Level 4 unit could, most of the time, be difficult as you need to show work-based evidence at Level 4, and that could not always be a possibility as this would relate to someone in a managerial role).

What Would This Qualification Lead To?

You can work towards your Level 4 Diploma, provided you are able to show a higher level of work experience than you showed while working towards your level 3. A piece of advice from my assessor was that it would be beneficial to work in a managerial role to complete the Level 4 diploma, without which it would be difficult to provide evidence to complete each unit.

Also, once you complete your level 3 diploma in customer services, you can look into progressing your career within or outside the organisation or for other supervisory/team leader roles.

Choosing the Units

Once you are prepared to dedicate 12 to 18 months towards this diploma, you will have to speak to your assessor, get advice wherever possible by discussing the available units and how they would best suit your job role, and choose the units wisely following the rules of combination above.

The units that I chose to work on are as follows.

  1. F3 – Mandatory unit from Group A – Demonstrate understanding of customer service – This is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 6
  2. F4 – Mandatory unit from Group A – Demonstrate understanding of the rules that impact on improvements in customer service – This is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 6.
  3. A3 – Optional unit from Group B – Communicate effectively with customers – This is a level 2 unit with a credit value of 5.
  4. A13 – Optional unit from Group B – Deal with customers in writing or electronically – This is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 6.
  5. B11 – Optional unit from Group C – Improve the customer relationship – This is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 7.
  6. C5 – Optional unit from Group D – Monitor and solve customer service problems – This is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 6.
  7. D6 – Optional unit from Group E – Develop your own customer service skills through self–study – This is a level 2 unit with a credit value of 6.

7 Essentials of Excellent Customer Service

How Will You Be Assessed?

This is a question many have, and I have been bombarded with questions from many NVQ candidates regarding assessment. First of all, when you see a Level 2 unit under a Level 3 Diploma list, please do not judge, but have a look at the rule on how you can flexibly choose units by following the rule given by OCR. Each unit will be assessed on various criteria. The criteria are provided by OCR along with each unit. All information relating to a unit will be in the unit handbook on the OCR website.

Assessments are generally based on knowledge of the unit where observation and questioning are done by your assessor in your workplace. Most units include a personal statement where you write about your duties, what you do etc, along with witness testimonies from your managers or colleagues who would have observed your various tasks at your workplace and also through evidence (real pieces of work or projects that you have done as part of your daily job) gathered during the course of your diploma or certificate. I have included personal statements wherever eligible.

If you have any suggestions or extra information that you think would be beneficial, please leave a comment below. I also look forward to hearing your own experience during the course of this diploma; feel free to share them in the comments section, as this will benefit many.

I wish you all the best, and thank you for stopping by!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Patrick on July 18, 2017:

This was very useful

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on September 03, 2016:

Hello teaches12345, thank you so much. I totally agree with you on your view. Have a great weekend :)

Dianna Mendez on September 01, 2016:

Congratulations on completing your Level 3 diploma for this degree. Every business would benefit from hiring someone like you to help manage with quality customer care.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on August 25, 2016:

Hello FlourishAnyway, yes, I agree with you and to be honest, this qualification gave me great insight into customer service as I had to do a lot of self-study through research and that was one of the best things. Thank you for reading and sharing your views. Have a great rest of the week! :-)

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 24, 2016:

Perhaps if this were more widespread we'd have better customer service everywhere.