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Customer Service Workshops

Please click on a title to see a description of the workshop.

Note: the words 'Customer' and 'Client' are used interchangeably!


(1 day)

Customers of every organization want the same things:

  • To believe that the person helping them is on their side
  • To be heard, and then to be helped
  • Courteous treatment, and,
  • Smooth business transactions

Customers who receive this treatment become loyal to your organization.  They also become easier to work with; they relax when they deal with you because they know they can expect things to go well.  This creates a positive upward spiral for you, your organization, and your customers, and a positive reputation for your organization.

Your customers may be internal to the organization (e.g. from a different department), external to the organization, or you may serve a combination of both. As you will discover, treating both types of customers well is essential to an organization’s ability to sustain service standards over the long run.

This workshop will provide you with the concepts, tools, and skills required to ensure that each encounter with each customer is both positive and productive - even when the customer is not at his or her best!

By the end of the workshop, learners will:

  • Describe why positive relationships with both external and internal clients matter
  • Explain the four key qualities of excellent service, and specific ways to deliver them
  • Describe the difference between Hearing the customer and Helping him or her
  • Distinguish between helpful and inflammatory phrases
  • Demonstrate to customers through words and/or actions that they are important to you and your organization
    • In person
    • On the telephone
    • Through email
  • Describe the process of conflict escalation with an angry client
  • Defuse upset or angry clients
  • Say 'no' effectively, without ruining the relationship
  • Deliver positive, productive service in a series of realistic customer/service-provider simulations tailored to your organization
The workshop will be highly interactive and will include opportunities for practice and feedback tailored to your organization.


Workshop Outline

1. The Customer’s Viewpoint

  • Why do customers communicate with you?
  • How your perspective differs from the customer's
  • The challenges of providing customer service
  • What customers really want

2. Nobody is at their Best at All Times

  • When customers are stressed...
  • What customer stress looks and sounds like - even when it's subtle
  • Typical responses to customer stress
  • Conflict escalation
  • The 'Hear then Help' approach to customer service

3. Show the Customer S/he Matters

  • The 4 key messages that must reach the customer
  • How to use them to minimize customer stress
  • How to deliver them using helpful (vs. inflammatory) phrases, tones of voice, and visual cues
  • How to ask useful questions
  • Provide the customer with appropriate information and options

4. Integration #1: Provide positive, productive service to a pleasant customer

  • Provide customer service to a pleasant customer:
    • Build "same side" messages, helpful phrases, and positive tonal and visual cues into the conversation
    • Offer the customer information in a manner likely to be well received
    • Provide the right amount of information
    • Provide positive options

5. Defuse a Customer's Stress

  • Don't ignore the customer, but don't get caught up in the customer's stress either!
  • What to do instead
  • Four defusing skills, and the situations to which each is best suited
  • How to use them in concert with the skills previously learned

6. Integration # 2: Provide positive, productive service to a stressed customer

  • Manage a challenging conversation with an upset customer
    • Demonstrate the skills used in Integration #1
    • Defuse the customer's Stress throughout the conversation

7. Action Planning for Workplace Application




(1 day) 

(The 'Positive, Productive Customer Conversation' workshop, above, is a prerequisite.  The two workshops can be held on two consecutive days to form a 2-day workshop, or may be offered separately)

Clients of every organization want the same things:

  • To believe that the person helping them is on their side
  • To be heard, and then to be helped
  • Courteous treatment, and,
  • Smooth business transactions
Occasionally, due to a single very negative experience or a series of smaller negative experiences, a client may lose faith in your organization.  S/he believes that it is unlikely that s/he will get what s/he needs in a reasonable manner.  The tension this causes is heightened in situations where your organization is the only provider of that service.

It is important to be able to effectively “recover” the lost-faith client, and to restore their belief in your organization.  Without effective recovery, you will find it very difficult to satisfy the client in the future despite your best efforts.

Workshop Outline

In this workshop, we will explore best practices in client recovery.  You will customize them to your organization's environment, and will demonstrate them during simulation exercises.  You will practice techniques for regaining positive control of a client conversation, and for negotiating solutions that meet both clients’ and your organization's needs.  You will also be introduced to a tool that you can use to better understand your own reactions to challenging client situations.  By recognizing your response patterns over time, you can choose strategies that will help you to remain centered, relaxed, and focused on repairing the customer relationship. 

This workshop will feature several opportunities for partner-based practice and personal feedback tailored to your organization.




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