The 9 Must-Have Customer Service Skills and Online Training

Lady improving her customer service skills online

A client-facing role is all about representing a company — the key to success in this career path is excellent customer service skills and training.   

Luckily, good customer service professionals are made and not born. Even if you don’t feel like a superstar serviceperson now, you can upskill and train until you’re up to scratch.

How? I’m glad you asked. By the end of the article, you’ll know:

    • What the top customer service skills are
    • How to choose the best online customer service training course
    • Where you can earn a professional customer service certification

There’s something for everyone in this article no matter where you are in your career, whether it’s just starting out or if you’ve been in the industry for a while and just need to work on your customer service skills. 

Of course, if you are looking for a new remote career path, you’re not limited to customer service. There are plenty of careers and online resources to help you improve your skills. 

A good place to start is The Best Online Courses for Remote Jobs and Online Business [Coming Soon!]

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.

Our 3 Best Picks for Customer Service Skills and Training Online

EdX customer service skills training
EdX Culture of Services: New Perspective on Customer Relations 

A comprehensive course that will leave you feeling like an expert. And it’s free!

GoSkills customer service skills training
GoSkills Customer Service Training

Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more about customer service and receive accreditation for your efforts.

Udemy customer service skills fundamentals
Udemy Customer Service Soft Skills Fundamentals

Provides a quick but valuable overview of customer service soft skills to bring you up to speed.

But these aren’t your only options. For a more detailed breakdown and our other top picks, keep reading!

By the way, if you’re currently looking for work-from-home opportunities, check out 15 Sites to Find the Best Remote Customer Service Jobs

The 9 Must-Have Customer Service Skills

I’m a firm believer that anyone can excel in any field with a little practice — but if you’ve already mastered some of the most relevant customer service skills needed to do well in customer service, you’ll certainly have it easier.

Gentleman using his customer service skills on a call

Here are some of the most important:

Listening

Lots of people wrongly assume that customer-facing positions require charismatic personalities. While this is sometimes true, charisma is worthless if you can’t listen to customers and provide them with value. Think of the saying “aim to be interested, not interesting.” In other words: listen first, talk second.

Persuasion

Depending on the type of customer service you go into, you might spend a lot of time negotiating with customers or convincing them not to cancel. To brush up on your persuasion skills, Influence by Robert. B Cialdini is a classic read, or this video might help if you’d prefer to watch something:

Problem-solving

Do you thrive on making quick decisions, working under pressure, and helping to resolve customers’ issues? If so, there’s a good chance you have what it takes to be a customer service representative. There’s more to this role than reading off a script — you need to use your initiative!

Positive attitude

Even if they’re generally cheerful, many people find negative phrases creeping into their vocabulary. Make sure you switch to positive language! For instance, instead of saying: “We have that in stock now, but…,” say: “If you order now, it will be available in around two weeks, or you can choose an alternative product.”

Use positive language as a customer service agent

Empathy

While empathy might not exactly be a skill, it’s certainly much-needed for customer service professionals. Don’t just stick to the script and say everything will be fine — add a human touch and tell your customer about a time you were in a similar situation.

Professionalism

Ever heard that old saying: “The customer is always right”? Unless you can get behind it, customer service probably isn’t right for you. Even if you’re yelling curse words at a customer in your head, remain polite and courteous.

A thick skin

In an ideal world, all customers you speak to would be a delight and you’d have an easy ride. Unfortunately, it’s rarely so simple — you need to be tough to succeed in customer service. Try reading Grit by Angela Duckworth to learn why developing a hard shell and being persistent is important.

Creativity

This one might come as a surprise. You’re lining up to be a customer service representative, not an artist! That’s true, but the best agents can adapt to each unique situation and give their clients tailored solutions. This might be suggesting a different service they could use or offering to refer them to another department.

Acting ability

As if being creative wasn’t enough, customer service professionals should also be talented actors. 

We’re not saying you need to be fake, but well, you kind of do. You won’t always have the perfect answer — sometimes you just have to pretend you know what you’re doing, exude confidence, channel your inner superhero, and hope for the best!

Lego Superhero

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Courses for The Best Customer Service Skills and Training Online

Were you ticking boxes in your head as you read down our list of the top qualities? It’s an excellent start! Now, it’s time to knuckle down with an online course to improve your customer service skills.

EdX Culture of Services: New Perspective on Customer Relations

EdX customer service skills training
EdX is a leading e-Learning website, and this comprehensive course will tell you everything you need to know and more about customer service.

It’s free to take part in, but you can also pay extra to get a certification. 

The time commitment is substantial — at least two hours per week for eight weeks — but it’s certainly thorough.

Pros

    • Free
    • Comprehensive
    • Option to get a certification

Cons

    • Substantial time commitment

GoSkills Customer Service Training 

GoSkills customer service skills training

GoSkills is an online learning platform specifically designed for people who want to grow their careers.

This customer service course is a great introduction to the industry and contains 22 tutorials with 11 hours of video. It’s accredited by the CPD, an independent professional services accreditation service (an organization has no links with the customer service profession).

Unfortunately, it comes at a fair cost, but you can start it using your free trial. You’ll also have access to other GoSkills courses.

Pros

    • Good for beginners
    • Thorough — 11 hours of videos

Cons

    • Not the cheapest
    • Accreditation not specific to customer service

Udemy Customer Service Soft Skills Fundamentals 

Udemy customer service skills fundamentals

Udemy is a leading platform in this space. Although its online courses aren’t equivalent to having a fancy brand name on your CV, they’re among the most helpful. The thousands of positive reviews for this course show it’s no exception!

Across 22 lessons, you’ll get a perfect introduction to customer service and the content is only 40 minutes. 

Pros

    • Affordable
    • Thousands of students and ratings

Cons

    • Only contains 40 minutes of content

LinkedIn Writing Customer Service Emails

Linked in customer service emails course

LinkedIn needs no introduction, but did you know it also offers a range of training resources for professional development? This short one-hour course explains how to write customer service emails. It’s helpful for brushing up your knowledge but could be too basic for anyone who is already well-versed in corporate speak.

All members of the social network get free Premium membership for one month a year, so take advantage of yours to complete this useful course.

Pros

    • Get it for free as part of the LinkedIn Premium trial
    • Quick to complete

Cons

    • Quite basic but a good introduction

CreativeLive Create a Culture of Great Customer Service

Creative Live create a culture of great customer service

CreativeLive is an e-Learning platform dedicated to mastering creative crafts — and, as we’ve already established, customer service is more creative than you might expect.

This affordable course focuses on creating the right culture, which is a refreshing shift of focus compared to other similar courses. It’s a great option for managers.

However, the reviews for the class are limited, and there have been fewer than 1,000 students in total. It’s also only an hour long.

Pros

    • Affordable
    • Deep dive into culture instead of a broad brush

Cons

    • Limited testimonials and students 
    • Quite short

SkillShare Customer Service English Essentials

Skill Share customer service English essentialsIf you spend a lot of time on YouTube, you probably know a thing or two about SkillShare already. If not, it’s a platform that gives you access to a wide variety of courses for an affordable monthly subscription — there’s also a two-month free trial to take advantage of.

This is an excellent course for any non-native English speakers who want to improve their language skills and learn to speak more politely, but it’s of limited use to anyone who’s already confident in their English.

Pros

    • Take part as part of the free trial
    • Great for non-native English speakers

Cons

    • Only suitable for non-native English speakers

PluralSight Understanding Customer Service Processes and Procedures 

Plural Sight customer service processesIf you’ve been thinking that the courses outlined above sound too elementary for you, PluralSight’s course should be right up your alley. Since PluralSight is focused on technology, it’s also perfect for anyone hoping to work within that industry.

Take an in-depth look at policies, processes, and procedures related to customer service, including a little data analysis. This is a course for people interested in progressing to management positions.

However, the monthly cost is steeper than other options but they do sometimes offer free weeks where you can access the courses. Seeing as this course is only 1 hr 20 minutes, if you’re on a budget, it’s worth keeping an eye open for the specials. 

Pros

    • More advanced approach
    • Focused on technology

Cons

    • Not as affordable as other courses
    • A few negative reviews

Customer Service Certification Courses

Certification is tricky. There’s no single globally-recognized certificate that will guarantee you a job in customer service. Having said that, certificates can be a great way to boost your chances of landing a position, especially if you’ve been out of employment for a while or don’t have any relevant experience. 

Although there’s no worldwide accepted qualification, The International Customer Service Standard (ICCSO) comes close. It’s set by government bodies, private corporations, and other companies to meet professional standards and you can see its members in your country. Unfortunately, not all regions are covered.

Also, many countries have a chartered institution, national association, or whatever the equivalent professional body is — so do some local research as well.

Certificates given out by official organizations will always carry more weight, but don’t discount more informal certifications. They still prove to potential employers that you’ve taken an interest in the field and been proactive by learning. 

If you’re looking for something official, here are two private certifying companies with links to the customer service profession.

National Customer Service Association CCSP Certification 

National Customer Service Association CCSP.The National Customer Service Association is a membership organization in the US dedicated to everything customer service. Most US businesses in the industry will recognize it.

The CCSP (Certified Customer Service Professional) is its flagship certification, and it could be a great string to add to your bow. But bear in mind that this course involves a considerable investment of time and money, so it’s best for people who are serious about entering the world of customer service.

Pros

    • Nationally recognized organization 
    • Gain in-depth knowledge

Cons

    • Limited reviews available 

Service Institute of America Certified Customer Service Manager

CSIA customer service institute of AmericaThe Customer Service Institute of America is part of the ICCSO mentioned earlier, meaning they’re recognized not just within the US but internationally.

Even more so than the NSA certification, it’s not for the faint-hearted. But if you’re already in the profession and want to take things to the next level, you’d struggle to find a better certification.

Pros

    • Accredited by the ICCS
    • Advanced

Cons

    • Best for professionals with some experience who want to level up
    • It is a costly qualification and requires renewal every year but worth the investment

Time to Land Your Dream Customer Service Job

Educating yourself about your field of choice is never a bad thing, but make sure you don’t take your training so seriously that you procrastinate on applying for jobs. You can apply while you’re still learning!

Whatever your background and aims are, there should be a job out there for you and a course on this list that can help you land it.

But don’t keep all this knowledge to yourself. If you saw something that could be the perfect fit for a friend, be sure to send them this article!

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