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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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