Coaching Brilliant Customer Service

Coaching for ‘Brilliant Customer Service!’


Coaching is sometimes seen as a luxury done by managers who have time on their hands. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Coaching for customer service is about getting things done and improving effectiveness. It’s a vital skill for contact centre managers, help desk managers, customer service team leaders and all those managing customer-facing staff.

When done correctly, coaching benefits the individual, the team and the organisation. Customer service coaching involves specific activities designed to help customer-facing staff improve and maximise their potential by learning from day-to-day tasks.

Brilliant customer service training
Brilliant customer service training

A successful manager or supervisor in a customer-facing environment needs to combine three core competencies:

1      Above-average customer skills and knowledge

2      Personal drive and ambition; motivation and positive attitude

3      ‘Customer intelligence’, ie, specialist product, customer and application knowledge

This unique course addresses how a coach or mentor can improve performance in these three areas – specifically as they are reflected in their staff’s behaviour in, and preceding, a customer call, request or contact.

Training objectives

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify customer contact coaching and mentoring opportunities in day-to-day situations
  • Understand the customer contact coaching process and model
  • Identify the skills needed to coach effectively
  • Develop the appropriate skills to coach successfully
  • Recognise the obstacles to successful coaching and mentoring
  • Monitor and improve poor performance without damaging the relationship or the person’s self-esteem and confidence
  • Show how to make every customer feel SPECIAL through understanding customer expectations and delivering service excellence

A unique feature of the course is that it addresses both the standards and the skills people use over and above their technical knowledge. The course features the SPECIAL model:

Speed and Time

Personal and personalised

Expectations – manage and exceed

Competence and courtesy



Long-term relationship and follow-through

Each of these points is related explicitly to the jobs the course participants do and their interaction with customers on the telephone, via email or face-to-face.


All managers and team leaders who are managing staff who support or work with either internal or external customers.

The course is suitable for all sectors – large and small organisations, private and public sector, not for profit, UK and international.


The course is highly participative, drawing on the learning needs and experience of participants to highlight principles. Very clear and specific skills, models and techniques are covered.

It includes a Coaching Tool-kit for participants to use following the course.

The course covers all the key elements required for effective customer service coaching:

  • Expertise, skills and knowledge
    • Understanding of key concepts and models for main training modules
    • How to prepare for a coaching session
    • How best to give feedback and information leading to improvements in customer contact approaches
    • Able to analyse performance issues by behaviours, attitude/motivation, skills, and knowledge (BASK)
  • Behavioural change
    • Conduct regular (monthly) and more effective customer contact coaching and performance reviews
    • Use more persuasive and influential methods in correcting and improving customer contact performance
    • Use coaching as a motivational tool as well as for performance improvement
  • Strategies, models and tools
    • Coaching planning toolkit
    • Performance diagnosis tool
    • Customer contact and service standards analysis
    • BASK customer contact performance model
  • Learning exercise highlights
    • Pre-course assignment
    • Planning sessions
    • Case studies
    • Coaching role-plays
    • Post-course follow-up

The course includes regular discussion, planning and other practical exercises to develop and practice the skills and methods presented. Presentation and exercises can be tailored to specific situations from participants’ work. The style is up-beat and motivational.

Special features

The course can be tailored to include any specialist topics such as advanced telephone skills, dealing with complaints, internal planning, etc, according to organisational need or the skill level of the participants.

The expert trainer

The train-the-trainer course is delivered only by Graham Roberts-Phelps, the designer of the core ‘Brilliant customer service!’ course and the author of all the materials.

Graham specialises in providing high-quality consultancy, coaching and training in customer service, sales and personal productivity. He has a vast range of experience and expertise in all aspects of customer service – from skills, through to standards and ‘systems’.

Over the last fifteen years, he has trained more than 5,000 people in customer service skills alone. His work has taken him all over the world and involved him in working closely with hundreds of different organisations from all business sectors, including Nortel, SaudiAramco, BT, FT Online, Apple Computers, Thomson Financial, Seico Insurance, British Film Institution, GPS UK, Cosmos Travel, Intel, Gateway Computers, Ambius (Rentokil-Initial), Ping Europe, GoNative, De Lage Landen, Wincanton, Strutt & Parker, My Family Care, OpenText, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Skin Health Spa, North Herts Homes and many, many others.

Graham’s client list in other areas includes such organisations as Vodafone, AT&T, Orange, Pfizer, GSK, Boots, Unilever, American Express, Thomas Cook, Sony, ASOS, Motorola, Cisco, MFI, Barclays Bank, LIFFE, Abbey National, Prison Service, Home Office, Law Society, BBC, Black & Decker, Daimler-Chrysler, Citroen, Weetabix, Nikon, Shell and many, many others. In addition he has written over a dozen books published in several different countries, including Companies don’t succeed – people do!, 90 Brain Teasers for Trainers, Customer Service Games for Training, Sales Training Games, Telephone Tactics and Working Smarter.

Known internationally as both a trainer and a popular motivational speaker, Graham believes that effective learning has to be interactive and challenging. All his learning events are built around practical exercises, role play and case studies. His training style focuses not on just explaining new ideas or developing new skills, but also on motivating people to use them and to develop themselves as individuals. This approach gets results, as the following comments from course participants show:

‘Brilliant course, really interesting and very focused to my job role and day to day work.’

‘Took away some very good ideas that I can use every day… good examples too.’

‘Very confident in the subject, and amusing too. Made the course very interesting. A very clear sales model to use going forward.’

‘Full of useful hints and tips which I will apply to my job.’

‘Extremely well presented and structured’

‘A very intensive course and a lot of concrete tools provided.’

‘Useful data, tools and insights; engaging and interesting as always.’

‘Very good… contained everything we do on a regular basis and problems we have come across… the exercises made it very interesting too.’

Course outline

1  Introduction

  • Course outline and introductions
  • Personal objectives – and introducing the ‘Learning diary’
  • Review of pre-course assignment (if appropriate)

2  Definition of customer service performance coaching

  • What is performance coaching? What do good coaches do?
  • What is mentoring?
  • Why coach your managers and employees? What are the benefits?
  • The BASK performance coaching model

3  Performance coaching

  • Benefits for the manager, the individual and the organisation
  • Recognising and creating the opportunity to coach
  • When to coach – and when not to

4  Preparing for your performance coaching session

  • The keys to conducting a performance coaching session effectively
  • Planning in advance – a practical checklist
  • Setting standards and performance measures
  • Making the time to coach and mentor

5  The performance coaching process

  • Characteristics of a good performance coaching session
  • Performance coaching styles
  • Using the ABC performance coaching planner
  • The 10 most common errors when performance coaching

6  Developing effective performance coaching skills

  • Attending and rapport building
  • Active listening
  • Questioning and suggesting
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Blocks to performance coaching

7  Case studies and role plays

  • A discussion and examination of a number of different situations and how performance coaching can be used to change and improve customer service performance, drawn from participants’ own situations (prepared as part of the pre-course personalisation of the course)
  • Performance coaching skills summary and best practice

8  The Customer Service Excellence model

  • The SPECIAL model
    • Speed and time
    • Personal / personalise
    • Expectations – manage and exceed
    • Competence / courtesy
    • Information
    • Attitude
    • Long-term relationship and follow-through
  • Defining customer service excellence – knowing what your customers really want and expect from your business
  • Thought leaders and market shapers in customer service – a useful summary

9  The people factor

  • Qualities of customer service superstars
  • Setting standards of performance and developing best practice
  • The magic ingredient – ‘attitude’ – and staying positive
  • Managing individual customer expectations and needs

10  Putting brilliant customer service to work in your business

  • Creating standards, systems and procedures to support brilliant customer service
  • The Ten Commandments of customer excellence every day, for every customer
  • Pro-active follow-up systems

11  Pulling it all together

  • Summary of key learning points
  • Action plan