Go Back to All Courses

Category Customer Service

  • ABC’s of Effective Customer Communication
  • At the course’s conclusion, attendees should be able to:

    • Determine what customers want
    • Create dramatically positive experiences which exceed customer expectations
    • Analyze the Communication Cycle
    • Use skills to successfully complete the cycle
  • Attitudes Make or Break an Organization
  • When you think of workplace attitudes you must ask yourself the simple question: would you want an employee who is extremely good at his or her job but has a bad attitude or an average employee who has a positive attitude? I believe the overwhelming response would be for the later because we all have learned the hard way that bad attitudes can reduce the effectiveness of ones organization. The fact is that skills can be taught but an attitude is often difficult to change. The question often asked is what is an attitude? To some it’s a mindset, a way of thinking but that’s only partly right. The bigger picture is that an attitude is a habit of thought. It defines how one looks at their world and workplace. What employers want are people with attitudes that think “I can,” not “I can’t.” This one day seminar is devoted to the building blocks that lead to positive attitudes. Our trainer will show participants how to find, keep and maintain an approach that leads to a positive outlook. This highly interactive course includes interactive session as well as self evaluations to help individuals create an open mind and heart to developing a more productive, meaningful work life. This session will look at:

    • How does one understand the importance of having a positive attitude
    • How to develop and maintain positive feelings and thoughts in the workplace
    • How a positive attitude leads to more productivity and a commitment to doing things right
    • How attitudes impact and influence those around us
    • The relationship between positive attitudes and internal and external customer satisfaction
    • Identifying personality and attitudes – our true “colors”
    • Creating personality matrix-the value of it
    • Emotions and attitudes
    • Anger-when, why, how, who
    • Attitude “revamp”, a process and project
  • Collecting Outstanding Debts by Tracking Debtors
  • Utilities in the U.S. lose more than $1 billion per year in uncollected funds. If this is an issue facing your utility then this course will be of benefit. The course is designed specifically for utility employees and supervisors with responsibility for collections and particularly those who pursue, or are interested in pursuing, former customers who have moved away while owing a debt to the utility. Participants will gain valuable insight into the process of “skip tracing” which is the process of gathering information on the location of debtors. This course covers the four major topics involved with this process: segmenting debtors for efficient tracing, legal guidelines and restrictions, current resources, and statistics regarding tracing performance. Employing an effective skip tracing procedure will help in reducing losses, particularly those that result from customers who do not pay their final bills after discontinuing service or being disconnected. Additional topics to be covered include:

    • An overview of efficient options for conducting traces
    • An understanding of the most effective skip tracing tools for specific situations, based on the debtor information available, and
    • The information they need to immediately begin finding debtors who were previously considered “lost”
  • Controlling Stress and Emotions to Make Better Decisions
  • Few would ague that life and work are hard enough without the complications surrounding self-defeating emotions, behaviors, and habits. The multiple forces that bear down on us every day can eventually take their toll. No wonder people often feel anxious, resentful, taken advantage of and even trapped. This one-day seminar is intended to help participants understand how to stay focused on their goals, whether work or personal, while ups and downs occur around them. Participants will gain insight into developing ‘personal’ flexibility to deal with uncertainty and to find meaning in what they are doing. This seminar will focus on the important personal skill of emotional self-control. Participants will learn about what role emotions play in their life, the ways they are expressed, how to manage emotional ups and downs, to deal with stress and how to handle crisis situations. Over the course of the day, the class will learn how to make ‘better’ choices at work and elsewhere, how to practice self-discipline, and control emotionally difficult situations. In addition, others issues to be covered include:

    • Build confidence by learning to respond correctly to difficult situations and people
    • Explore ones attitudes and how to use anger constructively
    • Control how one reacts to emotional situations presented by other people
    • Embrace how to ‘let go’ of the old and accept change
    • Learn to eliminate habits that tend to pull you down and work against you.
  • Customer Communication Skills: Principles and Practices
  • This two-day course is designed as a comprehensive introduction to the principles of effective customer service and the role communication plays in how customers evaluate service quality and delivery. The course will cover areas such as knowing what customers expect, assessing the ‘personality types’ of customers, how to control problem situations, creating a ‘positive image’ for customers, effective phone and e-mail communications. This program offers ample opportunity for participants to practice verbal skills in successfully handling a variety of recurring issues such as bill inquiries, requests for service and/or information, and the occasional upset/irate customer. Learning outcomes in this program include:

    • The ABC’s of effective customer communication
    • The four universal customer expectations
    • How customers “keep score” on your performance
    • The “communication cycle” and how to use it
    • Nine “scripts” to avoid and what to say instead
    • Five critical steps for handling stressful customer situations
  • Customer Focused Selling Skills
  • This course is designed to provide employees the basic skills for assisting customers in making purchase or participation choices. Unlike the typical “sales” training program, the emphasis here is customer-focused rather than being “commission” focused. Topics covered include the customer purchase choice process, the features/benefits relationship, and an introduction to using persuasive communication skills. Participants in this one-day training session will:

    • Learn to distinguish the ‘two’ categories of buyers
    • Understand the PDM (Purchase Decision Making) process and how to use it effectively with your customers
    • Learn to use the 5-Step customer focused selling model
    • Understand how to create and use a ‘features-benefits’ checklist for selling products
  • Customer Service and the Hispanic Consumer
  • This one-day seminar is designed to provide an introduction to the Spanish language as a means of helping develop the skills necessary to provide enhanced service for Hispanic customers. This highly interactive course will focus on specific scenarios encountered, basic conversation, and proper pronunciation. Each participant will receive a Spanish/English manual and quick reference guide for use on the job. Previous experience with the Spanish language is not necessary. Some of the course highlights include:

    • Learning basic pronouns and greetings, days, time, and currency
    • Learn how to question the customer for troubleshooting and take general information regarding service
    • Practice pronunciation with a partner
    • Learn how to communicate billing problems and ask for deposits
    • Learn how to give scheduled outage information and deal with disconnection problems

  • Customer Service from the Customer’s Point of View
  • The intent of this training program is to promote change which will result in a long-lasting improvement in employee treatment of customers and employee creation of positive customer experiences. During the two-day session, participants will learn to view things through the eyes of the customer. The program emphasizes customer experience management, customer loyalty creation and personal touch treatment of customers. Participants will gain knowledge into how to use customer experience mapping tools to improve contact with their customers, effective communication skills, listening skills, anger defusing skills, request handling skills, and mistake handling skills. Course highlights include:

    • Learn to evaluate the difference between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty/li>
    • How one goes about creating customer loyalty/li>
    • Seeing customers ‘through their eyes’ as a way to improving service/li>
    • Steps to enhance customer service experiences/li>
    • Establishing strategies for become a customer focused utility
  • Customer Service Phone Skills
  • In this course, participants will gain a perspective of service excellence from the customer’s point of view when conducting business transactions via telephone. Using class discussion and interactive exercises, they develop skills for dealing with customers in various recurring scenarios including service connects, disconnects, technical supports, and billing concerns. The skills learned in this program serve to enhance the performance of all employees who interact with customers via phone, resulting in reduced stress, more efficient utilization of transaction time, and improved customer satisfaction.

  • Developing Effective Listening Skills
  • This seminar is designed to help individuals understand the strengths and weaknesses of their current listening style(s), and to develop plans for developing other listening styles more appropriate to the situation.
    Participants will gain insight into how they can improve their listening skills by discovering current listening habits. The session will demonstrate that by using ones listening strengths effectively, and exploring other listening styles and their appropriate use in different situations, they can strengthen their listening skills and become a more active and positive listener. Topics to be covered include:

    • Learn the four types of listening skills
    • Demonstrate the ‘three barriers’ in communication
    • Understand the subtle of non-verbal communication
    • Apply the five listening approaches to daily communications
  • Effective Customer Service E-Mail Skills
  • Are you finding that more and more of your customer contacts are via emails? If this is the case for your staff, then understanding how email communications can be handled more effectively is essential to delivering outstanding customer service. Participants in this webinar will learn the keys to effectively using email as another form to connect with the customer and enhance the service experience.
    Objectives:

    • Learn how important it is to provide a great email experience
    • Enhance your customer service through improved email
    • Make emails more personable & less scripted
  • First Rate Customer Service: How to Win and Keep Your Customers
  • The success of a business is based to a large extent on the people skills of its employees. The purpose of this one-day seminar is to improve the company’s business relationships through the skills of customer service professionalism. The course will cover topics such as: knowing what customers expect, assessing the ‘personality types’ of customers, how to control problem situations, creating a ‘positive image’ for customers, effective phone and e-mail communications, learning to effectively manage problem situations when they occur. The course will benefit participants by:

    • Delivering improved customer service
    • Increasing customer satisfaction
    • Improving ones customer ‘credibility’
    • Managing stressful situations
  • How Outside Plant Employees Can Build Stronger Customer Relations
  • This course is designed specifically for those with administrative responsibility to help increase cooperation and productivity. Topics covered include the bases of organizational power and how to effectively use each to accomplish challenging tasks and meet critical deadlines. Each person will take a personal leadership assessment inventory. Topics to be covered include:

    • Understanding the bases of power and influence
    • Levels of professional independence
    • Principles of “followership”
  • Is Your Utility Focused on its Customers?
  • Increasingly, organizations are finding that customers are much more vocal about the standards of performance for those with whom they spend their money. This is especially true for utilities due to the importance of the product to quality of life and to the individual customer’s and overall community’s social and economic well-being. This course will help you examine how your organization can take the steps to becoming a more customer-focused organization through examining customer expectations regarding routine transactions, dissemination of information, and performance results. Participants will gain an understanding of the importance of establishing service standards by which the organization evaluates itself. The course will provide insight into how standards of service provide a framework within which an organization can better track customer expectations and outcomes. Topics to be covered include:

    • The meaning of being “customer-focused”
    • How front-line customer service employees’ actions are key
    • Knowledge of fundamental customer expectations and how to establish performance standards to meet those expectations
    • Tools for tracking customer expectations and how to implement programs to meet them
    • Strategies for identifying which technologies or services your customers are looking for and will support
    • Specific actions which tend to exceed customer expectations
  • It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
  • Does the world seems as if it has turned up-side down, and the daily grind has found you joyless, weary, tired and burned out? Does it feel like everyone around you is whining, moaning and complaining about ….well, everything? Think their attitude is catching? But wait, there’s hope! You can be a catalyst for change by adjusting your attitude and your influence. How can YOU be up in a Down world? The answer is simple: Control your Attitude. In this session participants will review and learn abut the four components for having a positive attitude. The key issues to be covered include:

    • Optimism – Understanding that you have a choice in seeing whether a glass as half full, or half empty.
    • Objectivity – Being honest with ourselves is sometimes very painful; however, it will help your self esteem and lower your anxiety.
    • Deliberation – It takes a conscious effort to change the habits and expectations you have developed over time. You must deliberately focus on creating good habits intentionally.
    • Determination – Never stop moving forward! If you find that you are becoming discouraged or frustrated, then dealing with those feelings becomes part of the challenge. Spend some time deliberately strategizing for getting a better outlook.
  • Managing Crisis Communications
  • Regardless of the size or type of organization, all are faced with the eventuality of some form of emergency or crisis at some point. Whether by nature, man-made, or accident, crisis means problems and unwanted public scrutiny. All organizations must contend with managing these unforeseen emergencies, and, learning to effectively deal with them through a clear and comprehensive communication plan of action. This plan, when tied to ones emergency response plan will assist the organization and its employees in communicating effectively with its customers and the public at large. The purpose of this one-day class is to provide participants with the tools they need to help Management respond to a crisis. Participants will explore universal crisis communication problems and strategies that will help them learn how to deal with these intricate problems purposefully and immediately. Participants will learn how to offer useful, pragmatic advice to management to help protect the integrity of the company.

    Using industry-relevant case studies and small groups, class participants will learn how to:

    • Look at a crisis from management’s perspective
    • Establish priorities in the crisis communication process
    • Create a Crisis Communications Plan
    • Communicate with the press and the public during a crisis
  • Marketing, Advertising & Promoting your Cooperative
  • Very few businesses can survive without communicating to its clientele about its products, services, and purpose. The same needs hold true for today’s diversified electric cooperatives. This one-day class has been designed with the electric cooperative in mind and takes participants from the ground floor of “what is marketing” through understanding the process and effects of “integrated marketing and advertising”. Participants in this course will through, lecture, class projects, and real life examples learn how marketing, advertising, and promotions impact ones business and customers. Through out the course, participants will be exposed to such important key elements as: the role of marketing, member’s decision making, using media mix, advertising strategy and planning, and the sales process. In addition to the above, the following will be covered:

    • The Marketing Management and Research Process
    • Influences on Member Behavior
    • How Marketing Influences Member Behavior
    • Using Different Advertising Budgets
    • Understanding Market Segmentation
    • Determining Members Needs & Wants
    • Developing Product/Servicing Positioning
    • Integrated Marketing Communications
    • Managing the Sales & Relationship Building Process
    • Overcoming the obstacles in Service Marketing
    • The Service Challenge

  • Personal Leadership Skills for Customer Service Personnel
  • This course is designed specifically for those with administrative responsibility to help increase cooperation and productivity. Topics covered include the bases of organizational power and how to effectively use each to accomplish challenging tasks and meet critical deadlines. Each person will take a personal leadership assessment inventory. What you will learn:

    • Understanding the bases of power and influence
    • Levels of professional independence
    • Principles of “followership”
  • Responding to High Bill Complaints
  • In spite of attempts to promote competition, complaints over the cost of residential utility bills continue to increase. This one-day course is designed to look into the phenomenon of “high bill” complaints and the reasons behind them. Participants will learn the general weather related and other common energy issues that can increase energy consumption and the potential tools for resolving them with the customer. Particular emphasis is given to the communication skills most effective in resolving emotional complaints over the increased cost of a utility bill. Topics covered include:

    • Varieties of Complaints: technical, weather-related, errors, hardship
    • Resolutions: energy audits, payment plans
    • Dealing with Irate/Irrational Customers: types and scripts
  • Safety & Security Basics for Office Personnel
  • Employees that work with customers in a ‘front desk’ setting must be able to handle a range of situations that may arise. One key aspect is the challenge of dealing with a security threat to yourself or others, including irate individuals, bomb threats, a suspicious packages, theft or violence. Know what to do and what not to do can be the difference between a successful conclusion and one that ends badly. If you are unsure how to respond in these situations then you can’t afford to not attend ‘Safety & Security Basics for Front Desk Operations’. Participants will gain valuable do’s and don’t on how to handle a range of threatening, strategies for spotting weaknesses in front desk procedures, how to deal with emotionally charged situations, and much more.

    • Learn how to evaluate visitor access to your organization and increase security in your lobby and front desk area
    • Learn the very best responses to a variety of emergency situations — from bomb threats to fire to medical emergencies
    • Discover how you should react when weapons are involved — and things get frightening
    • Explore ways to empower yourself and bolster your confidence
    • Learn how to effectively defuse angry, out-of-control employees or visitors, and regain command of sensitive situations
  • Serving a More Diverse Customer Base
  • For many years, the customer base or member base of the local electric cooperative was “local.” They grew up in the co-op’s service territory, worked in mostly agricultural-based jobs or for local companies and were almost homogenous in their demographic make-up. This is certainly no longer the case as cooperatives in every part of the country now serve a much more diverse population.

    Diversity is about more than an individual’s ethnicity, gender, or age. Diversity puts us in touch with our customers and with the many communities with whom we conduct business every day. The realization that times and society as a whole are changing and with it, the membership, can help keep cooperatives true to their core values of being responsive to ALL their members. It can also keep the cooperative out of the court of public opinion and legal opinion in matters of discrimination in service.

    This interactive, lively course examines trends of diversity in the co-op’s membership and employees and helps attendees sort through their own feelings about diversity on many levels. The result is improved service to people from all walks of life, from diverse cultures and different lifestyles. Attendees leave more skilled and more aware!

  • The Nine Most Misunderstood Things We Say To Our Customers
  • Communicating effectively with customers can sometimes be like walking on eggshells because of the sensitive nature of some business transactions such as overdue payments or perceived billing errors. This one-day program focuses on the most frequent communication gaffs committed by utility personnel, and how to alter a customer’s negative interpretation. Emphasis for this program is on proper message construction when dealing with potentially emotional situations.

  • The Seven Principles of Cooperative Organizations
  • Cooperative organizations, such as electric cooperatives, are unique in that the customers they serve own them. To that purpose, cooperatives are guided by a set of seven principles that are designed to reflect the best interests of those customer/owners. This course, offered in either one or one-half day segment, covers each of these seven principles, outlining specific programs, policies, and activities that are consistent with member/customer ownership.

  • Understanding How Your Utility Works: The Basics from Generation Through the Distribution of Electricity
  • This course is designed to acquaint non-technical utility employees with the basics of their industry from the generation to the distribution of electricity. The course places emphasis on understanding various words, terms, and phrases unique to the electric power industry. Participants will gain a clear insight into how electricity works for the end-use customer. Some of the topics covered in this course are:

    • The basic science of electricity and why it exists
    • The three fundamental methods of electrical generation and how an electrical generator works
    • How electricity is transmitted and distributed to homes and businesses
    • Understanding various electrical terms and devices: i.e. transformers, capacitors, relays, etc
    • The function of electrical metering devices
    • Understanding the computation of power usage and electric bills
  • Understanding Service Account Collections and Disconnects
  • This class provides an overview of business issues related to service disconnects and collection processes in the utility industry. It highlights skills to position your utility in a positive manner during negative customer interactions. It also includes case studies of actual and potential customer situations that could have significant negative impact on your utility, including legal action. This class will encourage you to review current procedures and past performance to prevent or reduce the number of potentially negative factors in your processes.