Course Highlights

This customer service course will:

  • Define exceptional service.
  • Identify nine customer expectations and explain how to meet them.
  • Discuss the importance of service language in communicating with customers.
  • Prepare your team to handle demanding customers and difficult situations.
  • Provide suggestions for managing service-related stress.

Course Overview

What is exceptional service? What do customers expect? What actions can service providers take to meet those expectations? What are some best practices for ensuring clear and complete communication? How should one handle difficult customer interactions? What techniques can service providers use to reduce customer service stress? Find out the answers to these and other important customer service questions during this information-packed customer service training workshop. Participants will learn what exceptional service entails, how to project a customer-friendly image, how to navigate challenging interactions, and more.

Note 1: We also offer a similar online, instructor-led customer service training course for groups that prefer distance learning in a virtual classroom.

Note 2: We offer a version of this program for schools and school systems. The course objectives and modules follow the outline. However, all examples relate to schools and best practices for serving students, parents, teachers, staff, and other customers in the school community.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Identify their customers.
  • Describe nine customer expectations and the actions service providers can take to meet them.
  • Explain the communication process.
  • Identify areas where communication between service providers and their customers can break down.
  • Adapt to different communication styles and preferences.
  • Identify factors that can create difficult service interactions.
  • Explain the FOCUS model for understanding what all customers want.
  • Apply the CALM technique for de-escalating tense interactions.
  • Follow best practices for communicating via email, text, ticket systems, memos, and telephone.
  • Develop a personal action plan to improve customer service skills.
  • Identify techniques for managing service-related stress.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Get Ready to Serve: Where Excellence Starts

Who are our customers? Is it just one group, or do others rely on us for service? In this opening discussion, participants will identify their obvious customers and those they may serve without realizing it. They will also articulate any regular challenges they encounter.

Stand and Deliver: Know the Nine Expectations

Customers have a range of needs and expectations, and the extent to which providers can meet those demands can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful interactions. In this part of the program, we will review nine expectations and specific actions providers can take to satisfy those needs.

The Communication Jungle: Understanding Different Communication Styles

One customer wants a lot of detail, another prefers the big picture, and another rarely says what he’s thinking until he completes a satisfaction survey. Customers’ communication preferences differ, and successful providers know how to adapt to provide an exceptional service experience. In this part of the program, we’ll use Business Training Works’ signature diagnostic tool, The Communication Jungle, to identify participants’ styles. Additionally, we will discuss concrete ideas for identifying others’ styles and adapting for better communication.

It’s Not What You Say: Rephrasing for Better Relationships

What providers say and how they say it can significantly affect the service experience. In this workshop segment, participants will rephrase blunt communication and discuss how sarcasm, negativity, impatience, and other service choices can negatively impact service and what providers can do to avoid falling into those traps.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Dealing with Difficult Customers

Difficult situations are unpleasant for both customers and those who serve them. This part of the program identifies root causes that can create difficult situations. It also discusses the FOCUS framework for understanding what all humans want and the CALM model for de-escalation. Through a series of role-plays, participants will have the opportunity to practice the model using scenarios related to their workplace.

Tools of the Trade: Voicemail, Email, Memos, and More

Depending on the industry, service providers may use the telephone, email, texts, memos, or other channels to communicate with customers. This course segment reviews best practices for communicating professionally, regardless of the chosen channel.

The Clinic: What We Can Do Better

Information with no plan for implementation is just information. In this part of the program, participants will identify actions they can take immediately, in the near future, and in the long term to improve the service experience.

Customer-Service Stress: 15-Minute Mini Spa

Dealing with customers’ needs, wants, and frustrations can lead to stress. And over time, that stress can compound and negatively affect providers if they don’t have a mechanism for managing tensions. In this final module, we will look at stress-management techniques to ensure that the providers stay refreshed and alert and that their service is the best it can be.