Without good customer service it is nearly impossible to ensure a good customer experience.
Customer service is a set of services and support that businesses offer customers before and after a sale. This can include help choosing a product before purchase, troubleshooting issues after the sale and making a payment on the product or service.
Good customer service is key to building customer loyalty and improving customer retention. According to a report by Oracle, 73% of customers remain loyal to a business due to friendly employees and customer service agents.
While these positive interactions are essential, they're not always inherent skills. There are several customer service certifications and courses that employees can take to up their games.
What are customer service certifications and courses?
Companies train their customer service specialists on company specifics -- particularly if there is a technical angle. But for truly broad training, it is necessary to send customer service employees to outside training.
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Customer service training is coaching for employees to improve customer satisfaction and support. Training can be complex -- depending on industry -- and range from one to several days of instruction. Classes are both in person and online.
Certifications may not be a one-time commitment. They sometimes require ongoing training for professionals to stay up to date with the latest best practices in their field. Certifications show teammates and leaders that a service rep is committed to their work and can be considered among the top talent in the field.
Upon completion of the course, attendees receive a digital badge that they can show their boss. It may also meet a corporate requirement for certification.
Why is a customer service certification important?
Customer service certification helps on all levels. For employers, it's assurance that customer service employees have the best training. While every company is different and has its own method of service, deep knowledge of customer service is not necessarily a core competency. Third-party certification can fill in the gaps of training. This ultimately leads to a better customer experience.
For the employees, it means they are better prepared to support customers. It also shows their companies are willing to invest in them to be better at their jobs.
In addition, it makes hiring easier for both employers and job candidates. Certifications show training and experience to prospective employers and raises the value of would-be employees.
Types of customer service training
Most customer service training is completed in a day or two. There are many universities that offer bachelor's degrees in customer service management, but that is in the management field. It is not geared to frontline employees who interact with customers.
Read more here about what customer service managers do.
There are many aspects of customer service, and they vary from one industry to the next. Training sites such as Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning provide additional courses in customer service. Here are some of the general, non-industry specific forms of training.
Learn more here about the difference between certifications and degrees.
Customer Service Fundamentals
Issuing organization: Coursera
Course description: This course is an entry point to starting a career as a customer service specialist. It provides instruction on communication skills, appropriate empathetic behavior, problem solving and process adherence to ensure the proper flow and service levels are met.
Website: Customer Service Fundamentals
Creating Positive Conversations with Challenging Customers
Issuing organization: LinkedIn Learning
Course description: This course addresses what to do when faced with an angry customer due a delay, cancellation, billing issue or policy objection. A veteran trainer will share approaches that can help agents reframe such conversations -- putting a positive slant on an otherwise negative situation. Customer service reps will learn words to use and avoid, which will leave customers feeling heard and satisfied.
Customer Service Skills
Issuing organization: Alison
Course description: This course is designed for employees at any stage of their customer service career. It introduces the basic concepts of customer service through a one- to three-hour online course. The goal of the training is to teach agents how to handle difficult customer interactions and understand why they occur in the first place. The course covers topics such as handling inquiries and complaints from customers, as well as reading stressful situations to determine the best outcome.
Website: Customer Service Skills
Attitudes for Service
Issuing organization: Dale Carnegie
Course description: Most customer service training programs focus on technical skills and high-level communication concepts, but they don't address how to put it into practice. This course focuses on attitude over aptitude. The idea is that it's more important for agents to be personable and friendly than it is to be technically savvy. This is a three-hour course designed to teach representatives how to increase their self-awareness and ask questions that will return meaningful responses.
Website: Attitudes for Service
Brand Management: Aligning Business, Brand and Behaviour
Issuing organization: Coursera
Course description: This course is focused on brand recognition. It will address building brands in multi-brand companies across cultures and geographies, and how to measure brand health in new ways. This course will also help agents develop an understanding of brand management.
Customer Service Refresher Training
Issuing organization: Business Training Works
Course description: This course aims to reenergize depleted customer service and support workers by explaining how customer service changes over time and how customer expectations evolve. It is a half-day course -- on-site or virtual -- covering topics such as best practices for routine interactions and the problem-solving process.
Website: Customer Service Refresher Training