Online customer service training programs are offered by public and not-for-profit postsecondary schools, as well as through businesses. Some can be completed entirely online, while others are offered in hybrid formats that require fieldwork. These programs usually result in a certificate, and students learn to communicate with customers, identify their needs and deliver satisfactory service. Candidates become familiar with companies' customer service performance expectations.
Many online courses or programs in this area of study are offered through schools' continuing education or professional studies departments, and as a result may not lead to earning college credits. Programs can typically be completed in under a year, and many take just a few months or even less time.
Customer Service Certificate
Online customer service certificate programs are typically asynchronous and available completely online, although some require fieldwork. Students complete assignments and exams online, read and discuss case studies, and participate in interactive discussions led by instructors, who are available to answer questions via e-mail. Some schools use online course management systems, such as Blackboard.
Some certificate programs require hands-on experience providing customer service in offices and call centers of businesses and other organizations. As part of the fieldwork experience, students may undergo training by a company to become familiar with its customer service procedures, computer systems, products and services.
Online training programs consist of courses that prepare students for entry-level customer service positions. The following list provides descriptions of common distance learning courses available to students in this field.
Customer Service and Sales
Students learn to sell services and products over the telephone while handling customer service calls. Time management, negotiation and account management topics are also covered.
Resolving Customer Problems
Instructors emphasize methods for handling customer requests, questions and complaints. Lessons focus on ways to transform unhappy customers into satisfied consumers.
Candidates focus on speaking tone and using certain words to establish rapport with customers to solicit and communicate information. Listening skills are also stressed.
This course teaches students to listen for words and verbal cues that communicate customer problems and feelings. Instructors stress the importance of carefully listening to angry customers.
Measuring Quality and Performance
Created for aspiring and current customer service managers, this course focuses on methods for motivating employees and improving performance. Lessons cover strategies for reinforcing good customer service skills.
Online certificate programs in customer service include courses in the essential aspects of the field, helping students build the communication skills and analytical abilities needed to understand customer needs and solve their problems effectively. Virtual classrooms make it possible for students in these programs to complete assignments on their own schedules but also collaborate with each other and ask instructors questions.