Page 1

language and techniques for excellence in customer service

Sample pages

3c. What sort of training programme do you think would be most suitable for your company / organisation?

Successful companies are those that have understood that in today’s competitive market place, being good is just not good enough. It is important to remember that customer care policies apply internally as well as

externally and staff should be trained to regard each other as customers that require the highest standard of service. Who is your most important internal customer? Make a list of 3 ways you could improve the service that you offer this internal customer.

4. Listening to the customer The most customer-oriented managers make an effort and make time to listen to their customers. Market research may be used to learn more about your customers and understand their view point. What information about your customers could increase the value of what your organisation provides them ? (consider both internal and paying customers) Look at the following list of research methods and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. (example on next page)



Focus Group


In-depth interview




Postal survey


Phone survey


Face-to-face survey


Internet Survey


6a. The SWOT analysis The more you understand about your customers’ needs the more likely you are to be able to satisfy them. For a company to become customer oriented it must follow three stages – put the three stages listed below into the correct order.  Encouraging a company culture of sharing information about customers.  Responding to the information, avoiding repetition of customer complaints and generally making and implementing suggestions which will improve customer satisfaction.  Obtaining information about customers, understanding the way that they think and knowing what they like and dislike about the company’s services or products. A useful tool to accelerate the incorporation of customer-oriented thinking in your organisation is the SWOT analysis. Look carefully at the analysis of a finance department (internal customer). The manager is trying to reduce the number of complaints about financial reports that are produced monthly for department managers throughout the organisation.



New computer system Highly qualified staff Good relationships with users of the reports.

No research into what the customers want from the reports. Staff overworked Some new staff with little experience Department does not usually inform users what is potentially available



New finance director who is more customer focussed At the last board meeting, different departments asked for different types of financial information

Lack of knowledge about what the department can do New organisational structure, imposed by new Managing Director

Carry out a short SWOT analysis for your own department or company.

7. More vocabulary - Take a word from each column to form a noun combination – answers on Slide 5.

product marketing word-of-mouth customer service customer

satisfaction delivery tool referral loyalty retention

8. Let’s review exactly what customer service means: You will be given 24 cards – each with a word or phrase. Using these cards make 7 definitions of good customer service.

9. Certain skills are essential to the customer service role. This exercise helps you to assess your competence in each skill and develop an action plan for improvement where necessary. Customer service representatives who stand out are:




 creatively helpful



 eager to please





 honest and fair



 able to understand customer’s requests

11. Effective Communication Alphabet

C – Common Courtesy This refers to a number of behaviours that are based on Consideration and polite behaviour standards in your own country. They are basic, but it is important not to lose sight of using “please” and “thank you” creating a pleasant environment for the customer. When you are under stress or rushed it is easy to forget how you interact with the customer. It is equally difficult if the customer is rude – but if a problem escalates, it is even more important to be courteous.

12. TELEPHONE STRATEGIES 12a. Below you will find some telephone tips. Try to predict the missing information. Student A (Student B should look at the next page)

1. Always give your name and use the other person’s name. It helps to establish __________ 2. Quote any relevant account/customer/invoice numbers and have __________ to hand. 3. Listen actively and show that that you are listening. Connect with the person by apologising, or empathising as appropriate. 4. Restate the details you are given to _________ 5. Confirm the follow up action that you and / or the other person have agreed to. 6. Make sure you agree dates or set __________

4. Thinking about quality. Which of the following words best express your idea of quality?

Reliable value for money long-lasting traditional well-known expensive hand-made modern genuine made in (country) well-designed mass-produced

5. What do the following sayings mean?    

They don’t make them like they used to. Quality not quantity. You get what you pay for. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

6. Complete the sentences below with words and phrases from the box.

Consumer satisfaction questionnaire compensation Monitoring routine checks guarantee inspection minimum standards after-sales service faults

Quality Control 1. Quality control involves checking for __________ before selling goods. 2. We always __________ the quality of our products. 3. The quality control department found several faults during one of their __________ 4. We use a number of __________ to measure quality. 5. During the __________ a number of serious production flaws were found. Customer Service 6. We measure how happy our customers are with an annual __________ 7. We ensure that the machines are well-maintained by offering __________ 8. We provide our customers with a __________ lasting 10 years. 9. If there is a faulty product we usually offer customers __________

9b. To listen versus to hear – the grammar issues.

Some verbs (known as Stative verbs) are rarely used in the continuous tenses – the verb “to hear” is one of these. e.g. He was listening to the customer’s complaint when he was cut off. I am really sorry, but I can’t hear you. Could you repeat what you just said, please? Note: To hear is often used together with can/could/can’t/couldn’t. The stative verbs relate to beliefs, being, knowledge, liking, perception and appearance. e.g. Yes, of course, I understand what you mean. I appreciate your help. Note: Some verbs can be used in both ways: e.g. I think their standard of customer service is excellent. (to express an opinion) He wasn’t concentrating on the customer – he was thinking of something else. (to express what a person is doing).

 9c. Listen to 3 conversations about customer service. Tick (√√ ) the phrases that you hear in the Language Box below.

Language Box Showing interest Really? That’s interesting. Right/ OK / Mmm / Yes / No

Clarifying Are you saying …..? What (exactly) do you mean by ….? Could you be more specific, please?

Showing Empathy I know what you mean. How awful!

Summarising (So) you think …… (So) what you’re saying is …….

Asking for details So what happened? What did you do? Repetition / question tags A: We have reduced customer complaints by 30% B: 30% / Have you?

King's Training  

Sample material: Customer Service skills course