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I have recently moved to Australia. English is not my first language but people can more or less understand what I say. I plan to study further after the pandemic ends. I am now applying for retail / hospitality jobs to cover my cost of living.

My only work experience was working as a tutor. I also did some FOSS development when I was bored. So obviously, I put X years of teaching experience in my resume.

When applying for jobs online, sometimes they ask for my customer service experience. It is often a multiple choice question so I can only choose none or X months. Does teaching experience count as customer service experience?

It is weird to call students "customers", but it is actually true in a certain way from my experience. If you don't entertain your "customers" well enough, they won't come to your class :)

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    You might have slightly more justification if you dealt with their parents. If you were a private tutor and they were your paying customers. Things like a parent/teacher meeting could be similar.
    – Dustybin80
    Jan 20, 2022 at 12:06
  • If you've worked as a tutor commercially, then I would say it inevitably involves customer service.
    – Steve
    Jan 20, 2022 at 13:27
  • @Steve But I wouldn't say it's "customer service experience". Jan 20, 2022 at 15:45
  • Depending where you taught you might claim front line battle experience :)
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 20, 2022 at 18:46
  • @GregoryCurrie Why not? If I hire a tutor for myself, then I would be a customer, but if someone else pays for on my behalf, I'm not a customer?
    – zmike
    Jan 20, 2022 at 21:48

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No, you can't say you have customer service experience. You are comparing apples to oranges since those are your pupils and not your customers and can't be compared in terms of authority-relation, communication-style, behaviour etc. and hence you should not mention to have customer service experience.

Just imagine speaking to or treating a customer like your pupils or the other way around - it's a completely different ball-game.

There might be marginal similarities or intersections - but that doesn't rectify calling teaching to be some sort of customer service experience.

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Does teaching experience count as customer service experience?

No. At least not in the context of the online job application.

During an interview, you could explain why you feel they are similar and how experience in one would contribute to success in the other.

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Good answers already, my addition is:

but it is actually true in a certain way from my experience

Sure it is, but not in the way they mean it. So listing it as such makes you look out of touch or desperate to put anything down.

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When applying for jobs online, sometimes they ask for my customer service experience. It is often a multiple choice question so I can only choose none or X months. Does teaching experience count as customer service experience?

Yes, it can. As a tutor you have customers. You have to interact with those customers. You have to maintain a level of professionalism. They can complain if you are rude, or don't meet the customers expectations.

While it is easier to explain in an interview or if they give you a text block to explain, the goal of the online application is to get to the next stage. If you check none then your application will be rejected if that customer experience is a hard requirement.

You could also use this as an opportunity to tweak your resume to highlight the customer service parts of your previous jobs. Remember you can tailor your resume for every job application.

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    Customer service refers to communication that happens around a product or service. Tutoring IS the service. You can try to reason about it how you like, but it's misleading to treat tutoring experience as customer service. Jan 20, 2022 at 15:16
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    Customer service can be HVAC repair, a cashier at a store, a help desk person, front desk at a hotel, wait staff, or a person that helps students study for a test. They deal with customers. Jan 20, 2022 at 15:30
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    You can say what you want, but here in Australia "customer service experience" means more that "did you interact with a customer". Jan 20, 2022 at 15:44
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    "Customer Service" is typically a defined role. It's a lore more than just the baseline interaction with a customer which is incidental to the actual job function.
    – brhans
    Jan 20, 2022 at 18:07

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