Axio Development

Customer Service Training Ideas

Customer Service Training Ideas 

If you want your organisation to deliver better customer service, here are some practical customer service training ideas, exercises and activities that will help you instil some of the key skills and attitude changes that are important.

These are tried and tested techniques used by organisations both large and small to deliver world class customer service.

In order to get the most from your training activities and exercises its important to first understand what are the good things that your organisation currently does and what are the areas you need to improve.

Consider a customer survey and also an employee survey of current customer service practice. This can be extremely useful in helping you to format your customer service training ideas.

Defining great customer service exercise

Use this exercise to engage your people in the process. The objective here is to identify at least one example of when they have received excellent customer service. From this ask them:

  • What was good about it?
  • How did the person/organisation deal with you well?
  • How personable were they?
  • What was particularly helpful about what they did?
  • What made their customer service stand out?

Next ask them to share examples of when they have received poor customer service:

  • What happened?
  • What was poor or bad about the service received?
  • How did they react to your request?
  • What feelings did this raise in you?

The next step is to get them to flip chart the differences between good and bad and from this draw out a definition of what world class customer service looks like. Make sure you develop a list of what a good customer experience for your organisation includes, for example:

  • The helpfulness and responsiveness of the person dealing with you
  • Effective communication
  • People skills
  • Do what they say they will
  • Understanding and empathy
  • Going the extra mile

Getting into the customers mindset exercise

We all tend to think about customer service from our point of view – its only natural as we are wired to think about what we want and like. Getting off our own agenda for a while and thinking about the other persons’ needs and wants is a great help in seeing where customer service can be improved.

In groups get your people to identify they types or groups of customers that are common in your business. Now ask them to ‘step into’ the mindset of these types of customers and look at your business from their point of view. Ask ‘what are their needs at each step of their customer service experience’:

  • Initial contact with you
  • How we point them in the right direction for their needs
  • The service or product they buy
  • The completion of their contact with you
  • After-sales service.

The learning and the suggestions for change that come from this exercise can be fed back to senior management and/or developed into a revised customer service charter for the business.

Carry out a mystery shopper exercise

Ask an outsider to your business, as a mystery shopper, to fully utilise your services, or to purchase one of your products. Debrief their experience with the people that served them. What worked well, what could have been better? From this get the team to think about what they can do to apply these insights into delivering even better service.

View competitor customer service

Involve your staff in contacting a competitor, either on the phone or in person, to make an enquiry, purchase a small item, or utilise their service. This activity gives people an insight into what other businesses do that works well and whether this is relevant to your business. As a result, this enables your team to consider what they could do better within their own organisation. This type of activity can drive a positive change in perceptions and mindsets.

Provide communication skills training

Good communication skills are essential in world class customer service. Communication training should cover:

  • Handling a customer enquiry
  • Face to face customer greeting
  • Explaining your services
  • Determining customer needs through questioning and listening skills
  • Application of your customer service standards throughout the training.

Here are some further tips to consider:

  • If you do not have some basic pre-agreed customer service standards, get your staff involved in writing them during the training. Suggest what the standards should be e.g. answering a telephone call within three rings.
  • Practice some practical scenarios of using these communication skills, so that they discuss how they would handle them. In addition, get them to practice typical customer scenarios to build their skills and confidence.
  • Encourage them to support one another and give each other some constructive and motivational feedback.

Dealing with difficult situations and complaint handling

Often staff find dealing with difficult situations and customer complaints quite challenging.

  • Run a training session where you share tips and ideas to help them. This will build their confidence in dealing with these situations.
  • Give a practical demonstration of how not to respond to the customer complaint or concern, followed by a good example. This helps you draw out the techniques. Then give staff the time to practice these situations themselves. Consider groups of three with one acting as observer while the other two are customer and employee. Then rotate around so all get some practice.

Develop detailed product knowledge

Keep your staff up to date with changing products and services. In addition, ensure that all staff visit other departments throughout the staff member’s time with you. This will enable your staff to confidently explain these products and services to your customers, as well as their team colleagues, on their return to their department.

Internal customer service improvements

Ask each manager to facilitate a meeting that champions their team and the service they deliver. Ask them to consider ways that they can improve their internal service to others. In addition, focus on how to achieve enhanced external customer service.

Ensure a customer service focus within staff induction

Having provided customer service training to your current staff, review the induction programme that all new staff receive.

All of these customer service training ideas can be easily implemented in any organisation. If you want to find out more about how to apply these customer service training ideas in your business contact us on

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