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On-the-job customer service skills development


Hi! I am developing a programme to help public sector staff develop their customer service skills. As time for training is very limited, I am looking for innovative ideas for on-the-job learning activities. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Best Wishes Ann Stuart Learning & Development Specialist

5 Responses

  1. Skills practice
    Hi Ann

    I would suggest allowing the trainees skills practice during quieter times. I do a lot of work around telephone service skills and face to face service skills and I find this a great method. As you will know this can make the trainees nervous but I always find that once they try it they start to enjoy it. It will allow you assess what knowledge they have and what coaching/support they will need. By splitting them into groups of three you can have one as customer, one as employee and one as an observer. By rotating this they experience it from all sides and this is a really powerful way to learn. It is important that you have clear briefs for them to follow so that it has a structure otherwise it could go off in a tangent.

    Not so sure this is innovative but it does work!


  2. Customer Service interventions
    One thing I have done in the past is ‘shared’ a customer service experience and then discussed as a group. It takes a team who know each other well though. Example:

    Two people sit in with other one and ‘listen in’ and then, after whatever activity was undergone, discuss positive ways in which to improve (do not pick up mistakes, or criticise but look at the positives that can be added). You then switch the group around, with one of the others taking the lead, until all three have sat in on each other.

    There’s a website you may find useful too:

    Good luck


  3. Customer service ideas
    An adaption of something I’ve done in other situations. Set up a scenario where one or more of the participants is briefed to do everything they can to make a bad situation worse. Encourage them to find as many ways as possible of upsetting the customer and losing the sale. You could have one or two others coaching them to find ever more creative ways of doing this – depending on time and numbers. Other participants play the upset customer/s.
    Part 2 is then getting them to identify ways they can work on correcting these areas. Most of what they need to do to serve customers is common sense, but being on the receiving end of the poor service is usually a powerful learning message.


  4. Learn from others
    Hi Anne,

    A good methods that I’ve written into programmes in the past is to ask the advisers to draw up what they think is best practice, and then go an evaluate other service providers (the ones that they are customers of). They then discuss their experiences as a customer, and how things could have been made better for them. Then, they can start to evaluate themselves (e.g. in pairs) by reviewing previous (taped) calls, or coaching each other and highlighting two things that they thought were good, and one thing that they could have done more of/differently (it is easier for people to suggest alternatives, as colleagues don’t like to criticise each other in my experience).

    Hope this is helpful,

    Sheridan Webb

  5. Customer Service Training Materials
    The best way to teach customer service is with case studies. It is good to know what you should do in principle, but let’s face it, when it comes to it, we all tend to forget in the heat of the action and simply fall back to bad habits. Someone shouts at us when they call and we may immediately get upset while all we should do is to assume the guy is having a bad day and move forward to calm him or her down.

    Case studies practiced repeatedly in a course are a fantastic way to teach delegates how to react in these kinds of highly emotional situations. The retention rate for remembering examples is also much higher than remembering the principle and when to apply it. You can use Customer Service Training Materials which contains many practicals to enhance or extend your training as you like.

    Hope this helps

    Ehsan Honary

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