30 In-Depth Resources to Use for Customer Service Training

Jessica GreeneJessica Greene

Customer service can be a key driver of company growth and customer retention. But to succeed with support-driven growth, you need a team of support pros who are creative, methodical, emotionally intelligent, excellent communicators, exceptional writers, and resourceful problem solvers.

Of course, finding people who have all of these qualities — and are pursuing a career in support — can be difficult. But the good news is that you don’t have to limit your search to the veritable support unicorn. Almost all of the skills an exceptional support professional needs are things that can be learned and developed.

Below, we’ve compiled 30 of the best customer service training resources we’ve published over the last 10 years. Share them with your team, use them as part of your new employee onboarding materials, and take the first step in building a world-class support team.

How to talk to customers

1. 47 tips for talking to customers

The way you talk to customers has a big impact on your brand, and nothing delivers customer satisfaction quite like consistently delightful communication. From using the right tone to avoiding cliches, these 47 tips will help your team communicate better with customers in every interaction.

How to Talk to Your Customers

2. Phrases to use and to avoid in customer conversations

There are things you can say that make customers feel welcomed, supported, and delighted, and there are things you can say that make them feel like you really couldn’t care less about their problems.

This post walks through the phrases that boost customer satisfaction — and those that degrade it — to help you improve your customer conversations one line at a time.

12 Customer Service Phrases to Use, and 8 You Should Avoid

3. The right way to apologize to customers

Apologizing as a support professional is an art. If you go with the cliched “We’re sorry that you are having this problem,” it will come across as insincere and do more harm than good. Start by being genuinely sorry, then follow these tips for crafting the perfect apology.

How to Apologize: 5 Elements of a Successful ‘I’m Sorry’

4. What you say vs. how you say it

Thinking about how a customer might interpret a message you send is especially important in email support where your words — not facial expressions or vocal intonation — are the only mode of communication.

This post covers some ways to adjust the words you use when talking/writing to customers in order to make the conversation more pleasant and add some personality to your messages.

Using the Customer Service Tone

5. Digging in to determine what customers need

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, a customer pops into the queue with a use case you wouldn’t have thought of in a thousand years.

Before you default to “We don’t offer that feature,” use these tips to dig deeper, figure out what the customer actually needs, and recommend a better solution.

4 Ways to Determine What Your Customer Really Needs

6. Why every single support conversation is important

One bad support interaction can ruin years of positive interactions, which is why delivering amazing support is crucial in every single support conversation. This post takes a more philosophical approach to customer service training, explaining the science behind the role of memory in customer service.

The Customer Always Remembers

Building useful support skills

7. Finding the source of problems

If you’ve been supporting customers for a while at your company, you probably know how to fix 99% of the issues customers write in about without even looking at your product. But there’s always that 1% that leaves you thinking, “I have absolutely no idea.”

Instead of starting up a week-long, back-and-forth conversation with a customer where you ask an ongoing series of questions about the problem, use this guide to improve your troubleshooting skills and start finding solutions on your own.

The Art of Troubleshooting for Customer Support Professionals

8. Understanding the question that’s being asked

Customer requests aren’t always clear. Sometimes a customer is frustrated, burying a request within a long list of complaints. Sometimes they ask multiple questions that all require lengthy answers. Sometimes, they just don’t know what they need.

Delivering great support requires first understanding exactly what support is being requested, which makes analytical reading a must-have skill for any successful support professional.

Why Analytical Reading Is a Must-Have Skill

9. Fixing problems that aren’t your problem

It’s easy to blame an issue on a third-party integration, a cached browser, or an outdated operating system, but it creates more work for the customer to get that issue resolved. This post walks through some tips for solving problems — that aren’t technically your problems — to create a great experience for customers.

Solving Problems Outside Your Domain

Managing the support queue

10. Working through the support queue efficiently

How to work through a long list of customer requests — and which requests should be addressed first — are processes every support team needs to define for itself. To get started, consider these tips from Zapier’s support team on how they manage their queue.

7 Smart Ideas for Managing the Customer Support Queue

11. Writing great notes for your coworkers

An excellent internal note is very similar to an excellent reply to a customer. Both should be clear, concise, accurate, and focused on the reader’s needs. Follow these best practices to make sure your colleagues have all of the information they need to pick up a conversation where you left off.

How To Write a Good Internal Note

12. Moving customers to a different channel

Some conversations start on social media but really need to move to email. Others start as emails but can be solved more quickly and efficiently over the phone. While it’s never ideal to have to ask customers to talk to you somewhere other than where the conversation originated, it’s much easier if you follow this process.

Migrating a Customer Query Between Support Channels

13. Achieving inbox zero without sacrificing quality

Sacrificing quality for the sake of speed should not be an ethos of customer support, but the balance of good work and speed is difficult to find. Still, it is possible to move quickly through the queue without sacrificing quality by following the tips in this post.

Inbox Zero: The Fast, Empathetic Way to Get Your Team There

14. Choosing the right method of delivering information

Sometimes, a few words of instruction and a screenshot or two is perfect for conveying the steps a customer needs to take. Other times, a GIF or video is far better for clarity and far faster for you. Here’s how to determine which communication medium is best in every situation.

Giving Great GIFs for Better Support

Handling difficult scenarios

15. Responding to tricky requests

While great support is grounded in the day-to-day interactions, there’s always a surprising situation or two headed toward the queue. In these cases, a little preparation goes a long way. Here are a few troublesome scenarios you may come across and guidance on how to handle them.

Go-To Scripts for Handling 12 Tricky Customer Service Scenarios

16. The best way to tell customers no

Sometimes you have to tell customers that you just can’t fulfill their requests. It’s an uncomfortable but necessary part of working in support. But instead of going with the cliched and dismissive “We’re sorry for the inconvenience,” use these tips to say no in a way that lets customers down gently and keeps them happy.

7 Tips on How to Say No to Customers

17. Handling customer complaints

According to the service recovery paradox, customer complaints are actually an opportunity to create advocates for your business — if you handle those complaints in the right way. This post walks through a process for handling complaints that will turn once-unhappy customers into advocates for your business.

Step-By-Step Guide: How to Handle Customer Complaints

18. Dealing with difficult customers

Difficult customers don’t have to make your job miserable; you just need a plan for dealing with them in a way that turns a negative situation into a positive one. We spoke to support professionals from a variety of industries to compile this list of expert tips for managing some of your more troubling support requests.

How to Deal with Difficult Customers

19. Delivering high-quality and fast support

There’s much more to providing excellent support than the speed at which you get back to customers, but there are definitely times when quick response times are key.

In this post, Kate Andrews shares the best practices they use at Rail Europe to deliver support that’s both fast and high-quality in an industry where it’s critical to do so.

9 Tips for Delivering Time-Sensitive Customer Service Fast

20. Dealing with abusive customers

Dealing with difficult customers is hard enough, but what should you do when an unhappy customer crosses the line and becomes abusive? Lance Conzett from Raven Tools walks through their process for handling abusive customers in this post.

How to Break Up With Abusive Customers

21. Parting ways with problematic customers

Hopefully, you’ll be able to go your whole career without having an incident with a customer that forces you and your leadership team to decide not to do business with that customer anymore. But if you’re not so lucky, follow these suggestions for parting ways with problematic customers.

How to Fire a Customer (The Right Way) in 5 Steps

Writing support emails

22. Examples of great and not-so-great support emails

We can learn a lot by observing what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the past. In this guide, Chase Clemons from Support Ops uses real emails to highlight the best (and worst) ways to respond to inquiries like cancelling an account, feature requests, and more.

A Brief Guide to a Better Email

23. Email templates to use for inspiration

Not sure where to start when replying to customer requests you can’t fulfill? Maybe someone’s asking for a refund you can’t provide, support on a channel you don’t operate in, or help with a third-party plugin you can’t fix.

Instead of starting your email from scratch, use these 10 templates and examples as inspiration to craft a perfect reply quickly and easily.

10 Customer Service Response Templates and Examples

24. Showing off your sense of style

How you format a support email can be just as important as the content you write for it. Here’s a guide to the dos and don’ts of style in customer support writing, including the importance of listing things chronologically, avoiding underlined text, and including a P.S.

Writing Support Emails: A Style Guide

25. Writing emails that wow your customers

If you want to know what an exceptional support email looks like, check out these seven examples from support pros who went above and beyond when replying to customer requests.

7 Times Excellent Customer Service Was Delivered Over Email

Providing international support

26. Best practices for cross-cultural communication

Adapted from our Customers team’s internal guide to approaching support in cross-cultural contexts, Help Scout alum Amanda Fong provides some tips for communicating clearly and conscientiously when helping customers from different cultures.

8 Tips for How to Approach Cross-Cultural Customer Support

27. Providing foreign language support

Even if your website and product are only available in one language, customers who speak other languages may still purchase your product and need help with it. Use these tips and tools to provide helpful support to customers in every language.

Supporting Customers in a Foreign Language

Improving support quality

28. Implementing a quality assurance process

If you ever feel like your support quality is suffering — but you’re not sure why that is or who on your team needs additional training — consider implementing a quality assurance process. In this post, Martin Kõiva of Klaus walks through the setup steps and best practices of interaction reviews for support teams.

Interaction Reviews: Quality Assurance for Support Teams

29. Measuring the quality of your support

In this hour-long webinar, experienced support leaders from Help Scout, Google Hire, and PartnerHero provide actionable tips for measuring the quality of support that your team is providing in ways that extend beyond metrics like CSAT and NPS.

Measuring Support Quality: Beyond CSAT & NPS

30. Establishing a peer review process

You may be the leader of your support team, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the sole arbiter of quality and provider of feedback. Implementing a peer review process is a great way to get everyone invested in improving support quality — and to share the responsibility of training as a team. Here’s how to set it up.

Deliver Consistently High-Quality Service With Peer Feedback

Creating an environment where customer service training works

While we hope that these resources will help you build a team of support rockstars, it’s important to remember that successful customer service training starts with the environment you’ve created at your company.

Support pros who are used to working in an environment that fails to reward individuals who put in the extra effort to provide exceptional support may not take the time to employ these best practices, even if they’re well aware of how to expertly handle customer requests.

The environment you create is just as important as the training you provide. So in addition to taking the time to train your team, make sure you’re also considering whether or not your company’s culture, as well as your team’s culture, inspire people to go above and beyond for customers.

Jessica Greene
Jessica Greene

Jessica is an SEO Strategist at Help Scout, where we make excellent customer service achievable for companies of all sizes. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.