Customer Service Training for the Modern Team (2023)

If you have customers, you have people whose job is customer care. We know it’s more costly to gain a new customer than it is to retain a current one. Customer care, customer relations, or customer service are synonyms for the teams responsible for protecting this part of the business. For many companies, that has traditionally meant trained professionals in a call center or at a customer service desk in a brick and mortar location.

I worked in a customer service call center in college. They put me in charge of responding to complaints and dissatisfied customers. I would have to research the issue, solve the problem, and write and mail a letter back to them. I wonder how often this happens now!

One of my co-workers spent time as a switchboard operator/receptionist/customer service rep in college. This was in the 80’s before every employee had their own direct-dial phone number and every inbound call had to be manually transferred to the appropriate person or department. I imagine Lily Tomlin’s character, Ernestine! One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy!

Over time, customer service has been a bit of a chameleon. Sometimes it was less about service, answering questions, or solving problems, and more about call volume, minimizing call length, and throughput. Now you have companies like Zappos that brag about a record setting call that lasted 10 hours while the rep bonded with the customer!

Sometimes it is a frustrating and annoying process of pressing “3” for billing or shouting “operator” in a manner in which the computer could understand. Now you see a credit card company that runs TV commercials “bragging” that you can call and talk to a real person.

So, while call centers may still have a role to play in customer service, the times have definitely changed. There are now more ways for customers to reach out to companies and actually interact with them. Who looks forward to calling customer service? Customers seek help when and where it is convenient. Not all issues arise during business hours so companies can use these new channels for communicating with the customer, problem-solving, marketing, and brand-building around the clock.

(Video) 9 Inspiring Customer Service Training Ideas for Your IT Team

It’s highly likely these new channels are already in place in your organization but the question is, has every customer-facing employee received the appropriate customer service training content? With a little planning and flexibility, you and your teams can be better prepared to take on modern customer service.

Why Customer Service Training Videos Include So Much More These Days

Let’s say you’ve hired five new reps, and you’re about to spend the next two weeks training them. They will learn not only about your company processes, products/services, policies, and culture, but also about the skills needed to do their job: phone etiquette, keeping a positive attitude, and so on. It is likely they will learn these skills either through instructor-led sessions or customer service training videos, or more likely a mix of the two.

Let’s unpack some of the assumptions that might go into that training:

  • Traditional customer service will be handled exclusively by customer service reps.
  • Those reps will be together in a call center or at a designated counter in a retail location.
  • Interactions with customers will primarily be via the phone and face-to-face.

The customer service rep will most likely be following a script or pre-planned workflow.
I would be willing to bet that at least one of these is not entirely true in your organization today. If that is the case, the training content you are using will need to be expanded. It’s no wonder that customer service training videos include so many more skills today than they did a decade ago.

What follows are just a few examples (along with some video recommendations from our own library).

Customer Care from Afar: Training on Remote Technology

Many call centers these days are no longer actual physical call centers. They are composed of teams of people working remotely and connected by technology. This is great because it gives those teams much more flexibility and widens your talent pool.

(Video) Customer Service Training - Customer Service Training Videos - Inspire & Train Your Team

Now consider: Are the members of your team ready to work remotely? For example:

  • Have they created an appropriate work environment wherever they work?
  • Do they know how to use all of the relevant remote communications tools? Project management and scheduling tools?
  • Are they practicing appropriate time management skills?

Being able to do these things requires adequate training in working remotely, whether your reps are doing customer service over the phone or online.

Speaking of online: Providing customer service via LiveChat or email is much different than talking to them on the phone. With a phone, a lot of emotional meaning is conveyed by tone and timing. These are not available when typing. On the other hand, people will assume a lot about a person (and the company they represent) based on how they write. Improper grammar and punctuation, for example, can give the impression that your rep does not care or is not paying attention.

You could build a whole curriculum on business writing for customer service via chat, with topics like:

  • Why Care About Writing
  • Punctuation
  • Misused Words
  • Proofreading

The Increasingly Blurry Line between Marketing and Customer Service

Technology is not only making customer service teams more distributed and remote, but also spreading out the responsibility for customer care, too. One of the biggest areas where this is happening is between marketing and customer service.

A lot of times you’ll see marketing departments running social media accounts, for example. How often have you seen a customer complain to a company via Facebook or Twitter? (Maybe you’ve even done so yourself.) The marketing team responsible for these social media accounts will need to have the appropriate customer service training so they can handle these interactions.

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Then again, maybe you have your customer service team handling customer interactions via social media. That’s a sensible move, but it will mean that those customer service reps will need some training on these platforms, along with some training that covers basic digital marketing.

You will also need to consider new processes for these online customer interactions.

  • You will want to protect the privacy of the customers asking questions on public channels and move the conversation to the private messaging feature.
  • If you have a team handling Twitter questions, you may ask each person to “sign” their Tweet with their initials so the interaction looks more personal.
  • Be sure someone is monitoring and responding to the public reviews like Google Reviews, Glassdoor, and Yelp.
  • I would also suggest that you create a strategy on how to handle sarcasm or humor in social media interactions with customers. This can be extremely popular and successful and it can also backfire. It may require additional training on your brand voice.

Face-to-Face Interactions and Technical Support

Customer service is not just online; it is increasingly offline as well.

I’m reminded of this every time I swing by Smoothie King for breakfast. The servers are always friendly, helpful, and unbelievably patient when someone customizes their keto kale concoction! The company understands that these employees are the ambassadors for the Smoothie King brand, and offers franchises access to world-class training. I imagine they must cover a whole range of topics, from dress code to emotional intelligence to deliver such a positive customer experience.

Another example from the cable industry. The customer experience extends beyond daily use of the TV and Internet services. The true test occurs with the face-to-face interactions with the installer or the technician sent to fix a problem. They might not be an official customer service rep per se, but some customer service training will be required.

Do all the installers know how to present themselves in person? Is their uniform clean? Do they wear shoe covers? How to communicate with customers, even when the customers are angry? Similarly, the team who provides technical support over the phone will need to be trained on the technical fixes as well as handling upset and irate customers. The impression that these front-line employees leave could net you a customer for life—or push them to the competition.

(Video) How to Help a Struggling Team Member: Customer Service Training 101

Classic Customer Service

Even though the nature of customer service is changing, it’s important to keep up with the basics, too. Some things are always important. Here are some of the standard call center topics that we find clients needing again and again as they bring on new reps:

  • Telephone techniques. (We have several courses on telephone techniques, covering everything from greetings and phone etiquette to putting people on hold, taking good messages, and even handling angry callers.)
  • Service Quality Indicators. (How can reps know that they are delivering good service? What matters to the customer, and are those things being delivered?)
  • How to give exceptional service. (Especially useful for retail.)
  • How to stay positive and handle feedback.

As you build a more expansive training program for modern customer service, you’ll want to make sure you’re not neglecting the classics.

Modern Customer Service Has Evolved—So Should Your Training

So now we can see, through these concrete examples, how customer service has changed in modern times:

Customer service is not done by specialized reps only. Marketing, IT support, installation, and many other teams of professionals will need to be trained on customer service, too.

Service is not confined to a single physical call center. Customer service happens online and off, and the employees providing service can literally be anywhere. Employees need to be adequately trained to work in this kind of environment.

Interactions with customers happen via phone, live chat, email, social media, and more. Employees will need to know an evolving list of technologies, and how to communicate with them. Again, this requires adequate training beyond typical customer service.

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Everything about the interaction is important. Not just scripts and phone etiquette matter, but things like writing skills, tone, and even uniforms too. Every employee needs to be a brand ambassador.

Why am I hammering on these points? For one simple reason: When a company is searching for training content for customer service, they are actually shopping for much, much more. If they are looking for a course or two on call center etiquette, they are selling their service team short.

This is also why I’m proud of the content library we’ve built here at HSI. Yes, it does have many of the more traditional customer service topics you’d find in other learning libraries. But we also have much, much more than what’s typically expected…and that allows our clients to meet the more unexpected training needs as best practices change and roles expand.

Additional Reading

  • Sample a few of our customer service training videos.
  • Read our blog post "Ring, Ring! What Call Center Training Do You Need Today?"
  • For more on off-the-shelf (OTS) content and how it benefits organizations, see “7 Ways Off-the-Shelf Training Content Brings Value to Your Organization.
  • If you are already looking to buy off-the-shelf eLearning content, our blog gives you a handy checklist, "How to Buy eLearning Content for Your LMS."


How do you provide excellent customer service answer? ›

11 ways to provide great customer service
  • Be friendly. The most important rule in providing excellent customer service is to be friendly. ...
  • Respond promptly. ...
  • Know your product or service. ...
  • Listen to your customers. ...
  • Say thank you. ...
  • Get to know your customers. ...
  • Ask for feedback. ...
  • Use the feedback you receive.

What are the 3 most important things in customer service? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

What are the 5 most important things in customer service? ›

Here are the top customer service skills your representatives need, according to data.
  1. Persuasive Speaking Skills. Think of the most persuasive speaker in your organisation. ...
  2. Empathy. ...
  3. Adaptability. ...
  4. Ability to Use Positive Language. ...
  5. Clear Communication Skills. ...
  6. Self-Control. ...
  7. Taking Responsibility. ...
  8. Patience.

What makes for great customer service * Your answer? ›

What is good customer service? Good customer service means consistently meeting customers' expectations. Great customer service is quick, easy, personalized, and empathetic. Companies that deliver excellent customer service take the time needed to understand the needs of their unique customer base.

What is a good example of excellent customer service? ›

To recap, this includes: Making sure you and your staff are knowledgeable about the products you sell. Being available for customer questions and responding promptly (even if it's negative feedback) Doing what you can to go above and beyond and make customers happy and feel special.

How do you train your customer service team? ›

8 ways to coach employees to better customer service
  1. Hire problem-solvers. ...
  2. Empower employees to solve problems on their own. ...
  3. Encourage active listening. ...
  4. Invest in training and development. ...
  5. Support wide-ranging company knowledge. ...
  6. Talk to your employees. ...
  7. Model patience and empathy. ...
  8. Make customer service everybody's job.

How do I train my customer support team? ›

Proven Tips for Training Customer Service Staff
  1. First, define good customer service. ...
  2. Train employees to listen. ...
  3. Teach employees about phone etiquette. ...
  4. Share relevant resources. ...
  5. Hold lunch and learns. ...
  6. Boost onboarding efforts. ...
  7. Keep team members informed. ...
  8. Maintain an internal knowledge database.
21 Jan 2021

Why is customer service training important? ›

Increased Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty, and Retention.

When employees are trained well on all of these aspects, the way they deal with customers changes drastically. Also, problems are solved effectively, and the organization experiences enhanced quality of service. As a result, customer satisfaction increases.

How do you give a 5 star customer service? ›

Here are five tried and true tips to infuse a mentality of five-star support directly into the culture of your company.
  1. Give your customer service team more information. ...
  2. Respond to customer feedback. ...
  3. Admit when you are wrong. ...
  4. Encourage personal development. ...
  5. Creatively and proactively problem solve.
24 Apr 2020

What is the most important skill in customer service? ›

The Most Important Customer Service Skills
  • 1) Respect. The idea behind respect is that you treat others the way you would like to be treated. ...
  • 2) Patience. Customers with problems are going to want to talk. ...
  • 3) Self-Control. ...
  • 4) Concern. ...
  • 5) Attentiveness. ...
  • 6) Empathy. ...
  • 7) Flexibility. ...
  • 8) Communication Skills.

What is great customer service skills? ›

Types of great customer service skills

Relatability – managing human interactions naturally and effectively. Sensitivity – reading the customer's emotions while keeping your own in check. Accountability – remaining professional, prompt and prudent. Positivity – being solution-oriented, confident, proactive and ...

What are the 7 qualities of good customer service? ›

7 Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep
  • Problem-Solving Skills. The number one skill you need to excel in for good customer service is problem-solving. ...
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Friendly Attitude. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Business Acumen. ...
  • Product/Service Knowledge. ...
  • Strong Time Management.

What are the 4 rules of customer service? ›

10 Customer Service Rules to Abide By
  • Be Nice. ...
  • Respect Your Customers. ...
  • Listen. ...
  • Be Positive. ...
  • Offer Solutions, Not Excuses. ...
  • Be Honest. ...
  • Go the Extra Mile. ...
  • Apologize.

What are the 4 keys to customer service? ›

There are four key principles of good customer service: It's personalized, competent, convenient, and proactive. These factors have the biggest influence on the customer experience.

Can you give an example of when you have provided excellent customer service? ›

I spoke to my manager to determine our options and my manager gave me the approval to give the guests an available room. I also offered the guests free room service for the inconvenience of having to wait for a hotel room. The guests were so satisfied that they left a glowing review online after their stay."

What is the best example of customer service you have come across? ›

More customer service examples

Remembering someone's regular order as a barista. Sending out a survey after making a product change, to see what your customers really think. Staying beyond your shift to help deal with a customer's enquiry. Phoning other stores to check stock levels and make reservations.

What is a good example of customer service interview question? ›

General and Common Customer Service Interview Questions

What does good customer service mean to you? What's the best customer service you've ever received? What do you consider to be the most important skills when providing customer service? How do you ensure you maintain good communication with every customer?

What makes a good customer service team? ›

What makes a good customer service team? Some contenders include positive CX, quick response times, teamwork, a shared vision for the future, achieving the organization's goals and targets, and the right mix of consistency and agility. Yet, perhaps a good customer service team combines all the above.

What are the 7 steps of customer service? ›

7 Steps to Developing a Customer Service Strategy
  • Create a Customer Service Vision. ...
  • Assess Customer Needs. ...
  • Hire the Right Employees. ...
  • Set Goals for Customer Service. ...
  • Train on Service Skills. ...
  • Hold People Accountable. ...
  • Reward and Recognize Good Service.
5 May 2020

What is importance of training? ›

Training is important because it represents a good opportunity for employees to grow their knowledge base and improve their job skills to become more effective in the workplace. Despite the cost of training for employees, the return on investment is immense if it is consistent.

What are the golden rules of customer service? ›

5 Golden Rules of Customer Service
  • Here are the Golden Rules of Customer Service.
  • Customer service is everyone's job. Every contact with your clients is important. ...
  • Ask questions and listen to the answers. ...
  • Promise only what you can deliver, and then over deliver. ...
  • Know how to apologize. ...
  • Treat employees well.
11 May 2015

What are the 4 tips for making your customer happy? ›

How to keep your customers happy
  • Listen to them. ...
  • Know your industry better than anyone. ...
  • Reward loyal customers. ...
  • Create ongoing, engaging content. ...
  • Be transparent. ...
  • Respond promptly to feedback. ...
  • Commit to innovation. ...
  • Anticipate their needs.

What is the 10 5 rule in customer service? ›

The 10 and 5 rule is a simple guideline that is widely used in the hospitality industry. The rule dictates that when a staff member is 10 feet from a guest, the staff smiles and makes direct eye contact, and when they are within five feet, the staff verbally greets the guest.

What is quality customer service? ›

Quality customer service involves providing efficient, quick, and friendly service to customers as well as building strong relationships with them. It also entails responding to customers' issues in time and handling any complaints swiftly.

How do I describe my customer service skills? ›

You want to describe your customer service skills in terms of your ability to do four things: analyze the situation, listen effectively, communicate clearly, and problem-solve. Customer service skills can mean different things depending on the context.

What are the 3 R's in customer service? ›

The Three Rs of customer service marketing are Relatable, Relevant, and Respectful and they are vital to the success of your ability to grow and scale your business.

What does excellent customer service mean best answer? ›

Excellent customer service involves going the extra mile to make a customer happy and satisfied with the company's products or service. It also means providing service to a customer in a timely, pleasant manner. Superb communication and problem resolution skills are equally important.

What are the 4 C's of great customer service? ›

To set yourself apart, you need to incorporate the 4C's, which stand for customer experience, conversation, content, and collaboration. Look at them as pillars that hold your client service together. Working on these components in unison and actively managing them will transform your business.

What are the 4 A's in customer service? ›

This approach is organized around the values that matter most to customers: Acceptability, Affordability, Accessibility and Awareness.


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