Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
Page Course Terms of Use
1.1: Work Environment URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "The Customer Service Workplace"

Read this article on the customer service workplace. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to investigate those.

Page Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Marketing Fundamentals"

Watch this video, which summarizes the fundamentals of marketing terminology and practices. Many of the terms and concepts are deeply rooted in the foundations and traditions of customer service. Please pay extra attention to the key concepts of "The Four Ps" of the marketing mix: product, price, place, and promotion. These topics are critical when defining customer demographics and the methods to connect with them. You may read along with the transcript linked here.

1.2: Creating Favorable Impressions URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Creating Favorable Impressions"

Read this article on how to create favorable impressions with the customers you serve. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to investigate those.

Page Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Communication Appeals & Tactics"

Watch this video, which presents basic appeals and tactics for effective communications. This video answers a few important questions: "How do you win someone's attention, and what do you do if you manage to catch it?" You may read along with the transcript linked here.

1.3: Understanding Customers' Needs and Wants URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Understanding the Customer"

Read this article on how to understand a customer's needs and wants. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to investigate those.

URL Principles of Marketing: "Chapter 3: Consumer Behavior: How People Make Buying Decisions"

Read this chapter, which discusses consumers' decision-making process and examines the situational, personal, psychological, and societal factors that influence their buying decisions.

Page Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Who Are Your Publics?"

Watch this video on publics and demographics. Among the most important aspects of communication is forming a clear picture of just whom the targeted audience is. This video describes key publics, demographics, and segments we should identify early in our communication planning.You may read along with the transcript linked here.

1.4: Communication: Verbal and Nonverbal URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Verbal and Nonverbal Communication"

Read this article on communicating with the customer both verbally and nonverbally. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to investigate those.

Page Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Effective Writing Skills"

Watch this video for suggestions on how to improve your written communication skills immediately. Customer service professionals may spend lots of time writing reports and memos. This video discusses six tips on how to do it much better. You may also read along with the transcript linked here.

URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "The Sixty-Second Elevator Pitch"

Review this short slide show for tips on how to prepare a 60-second elevator pitch. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam.

URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Professional Personal Presentation Skills"

Review this short slide show for tips on effective personal presentations. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam.

Unit 1 Activities URL Unit 1 Discussion

After you have reviewed this unit, please post and respond to the following topics on the community Discourse forum. Feel free to start your own posts and respond to those of other students.

  1. What sort of customer service job might you like to find? Would you prefer working in a face-to-face situation, or through a remote customer service center? What industry would you like to work in?
  2. Describe an interaction you've been involved with - either personal or professional. What steps did you take to make a favorable impression? How might you use the lessons from this unit to make even better impressions?
  3. As a customer, what needs and wants do you hope to have fulfilled by customer service providers? Do they match those covered in this unit?

URL Short Writing Exercise: The Customer Service Worker

Prepare a 300-500 word document as if you were the manager of a customer service department hiring new workers for your staff. Based on this unit's readings, what are the key traits and skills you would want to see in applicants as you choose whom to interview? Once you are done with the document, feel free to share it with other students in the discussion forum.

2.1: Professionalism in Difficult Situations URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Extraordinary Customer-Service Situations"

Read this article on dealing with extraordinary customer-service situations. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to investigate those.

2.2: Dealing with Challenging Customers URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Handling Challenging Customers"

Read this article on how to handle challenging customers. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to take time to investigate.

Page Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Dealing with Disruptive People"

Please click on the link above and watch this video for suggestions on how to deal with difficult people.

2.3: Dealing with Diverse Customers URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Working with Customer Diversity"

Read this article on methods to work with customer diversity. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to take time to investigate.

Page Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Cross-Cultural Communications"

Watch this video on international communication tactics, using themes and images that transcend cultural differences. English may connect us in the business place with a common language, but we still need to be sensitive to cultural differences. You may read along with the transcript linked here.

Unit 2 Activities URL Unit 2 Discussion

After you have reviewed this unit, please post and respond to the following topics on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own posts and respond to those of other students.

  1. What are some examples of problems you or someone you know may have had with a company based on a faulty product or service? How did it get resolved?
  2. Consider a situation where you had to deal with an angry person. How did you handle it? What might you have done differently using some of the methods described in this unit?
  3. What sorts of diversity do you find in your immediate environment of family, friends, work, school, groups, and so on? How do you best interact with the differences in cultural backgrounds and behaviors?

URL Short Writing Exercise: The Customer Service Workplace

Prepare a 300-500 word document as if you were the manager of a customer service department orienting newly hired employees on aspects of dealing with challenging problems and difficult customers. Based on this unit's readings, what are some possible situations and tactics you would want the new employees to be prepared for as they start their job? Once you are done with the document, please post it to the linked discussion thread to share with and receive feedback from your classmates.

3.1: Customer Service and Telephone Skills URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Customer Service Telephone Skills"

Read this article on customer service and telephone skills. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to take time to investigate.

3.2: Customer Service via E-mail and the Internet URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Customer Service through E-mail and the Internet"

Read this article on customer service through e-mail and the internet. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to take time to investigate.

3.3: Teamwork Page Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Customer Service Teamwork"

Read this article on effective customer service teamwork. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to investigate those.

3.4: Time, Stress, and Work Health Management URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Customer Service Worker Self-Care"

Read this article on self-care for the customer service worker. Be sure to take careful notes to help study for the unit quiz and final exam. Spend 30 minutes visiting the featured customer workplace for examples of effective customer service tactics. If you can find employment listings of interest to you on that website, you may want to investigate those.

Unit 3 Activities URL Unit 3 Discussion

After reviewing the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well.

  1. When talking on the telephone, what techniques have you found useful? What might you do differently based on this unit's readings?
  2. When communicating over the computer, what tactics have you found useful? What might you add to those based on this unit's readings?
  3. What are your own most effective ways of managing your time? What tips from this unit might help you do it better?
  4. Have you ever worked on a team project, either at work, on the job, or just a family task? How did it go? What might you suggest?

URL Short Writing Exercise: Customer Service Skillsets

Prepare a 300-500 word document as if you were the manager of a customer service department orienting new employees on the best practices in telephone and computer communications, as well as team work effectiveness and personal development. Based on this unit's readings, what are the key suggestions you would offer to help your new employees be effective in their positions? Once you are done with the document, post it to the discussion thread and leave comments on your classmates' work.

4.1: The Customer Service Profession URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Careers in Customer Service"

Read this article for information on employment trends in the 21st century, requisite skills to compete in the customer service job market, and tips from the world's top CEOs on how to fit in. Also explore the embedded links to other resources that you may find useful.

4.2: Developing Your Career in Customer Service URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Customer Service Career Development"

Read this article for information on employment resources, the benefits of internships, and tips to find a position in customer service. Also, explore the links to resources embedded in this text.

4.3: Resources for Career Development URL Dr. Steven R. Van Hook's "Professional Social Networks"

Read this article, which explores resources for career connections and professional development. Visit, sign-up, and search the websites linked here for employment and networking opportunities.

Unit 4 Activities URL Unit 4 Discussion

After reviewing the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the community Discourse forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well.

  1. What resources have you used for finding past employment, or might you use for finding future positions? Why did/would you choose those particular resources?
  2. What steps would be most beneficial in preparing for a job interview?
  3. In what social networks have you participated? How might you use those networks for advancing your employment and professional growth opportunities?

URL Short Writing Exercise: The Customer Service Career

Prepare a 300-500 word document as if you were advising a student on how to find a job in customer service and advance in career development. Based on this unit's readings, what are the key suggestions you would offer the student? Once you are done with the document, please post it to the discussion forum for classmate comments.

5.1: Course Project URL Project: Customer Service Training Manual

Please prepare a 1,500-word training manual as if you were the manager of a customer service department orienting a new employee on the needs of your department. Based on what you learned in this course, what are the key points you would want the new employees to understand as they begin their new position? You may include and expand upon your writings from earlier units. Once you have completed the document, please post it to the discussion forum for classmate comments, and for access by potential employers.

URL Course Project Discussion

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well.

  1. What tips would you offer to other students taking this certificate program to best focus their efforts and maximize their success?
  2. After you have completed your final project activity for this course, what are three or four of the most important lessons you would suggest for a customer service worker just starting out?
  3. Please share what you found most useful and least useful about this course.

Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey