How people are treated by organisations when they first make contact can be crucial. As the saying goes, if you don't look after your customers, someone else will. Developed by highly respected author, educator and expert in communication skills, Professor Bernard Moss, this important e-learning module offers the equivalent of a full day’s continuous professional development. This is ideal training for receptionists or anyone whose role brings them into face-to-face contact with the public in private, voluntary or public sector organisations. This course provides an excellent foundation for high-quality customer care.
The course is built around a set of acted-out scenes in which you get to see examples of how to provide high-quality customer care and - importantly - telling examples of how not to do it. This approach enables you to get a clear picture of what is involved in effective customer care.
Participants are provided with a Module Companion E-book which can be printed out to act as a focal point for taking notes about the important insights the course provides and for completing the exercises that are an integral part of the learning.
Although the course is the equivalent of a full-day's training, it does not have to be taken in one sitting. It can be followed flexibly to fit in with your busy schedule and at a pace to suit you.
If your work involves you in welcoming people to your organisation - whether in a commercial or a public service setting - this course will help you to make sure you do this to the best of your ability.
This lesson sets the scene for good customer care, and raises some of the important questions and issues you will need to consider.
Please now watch Video 1.1 (below) (duration 5m 13s) and then complete Exercise 1.1 in your Module Companion E-book.
Please now watch Video 2.1 and then complete Exercise 2.1 in your Module Companion E-Book.
Please now watch Video 2.2 and then complete Exercise 2.2 in your Module Companion E-Book.
‘Hands-on’ skills such as we explored in the previous lesson are only part of what constitutes good customer care. The values we hold, and how they impact upon our behaviour and how we treat people, are equally important. If, for example, we regard certain groups within the community as being in some way second -class citizens, then this attitude will inevitably affect how we treat them.
The huge topic of equality and diversity is an excellent example of how our values are so important to what we do. This lesson provides you with an opportunity to listen to a leading expert in this field, Dr Neil Thompson, who will explore with you some of the key themes you need to consider.
lease now watch Video 4.1 and then complete Exercise 4.1 in your Module Companion E-book.
In this lesson we return to some of the core basic skills you need to get right in your role. We are going to focus on the important theme of telephone skills which are so necessary for good customer care. As you look at the video scenarios, think all the time about your own skills and ways in which you might need to sharpen and improve them.
Please now watch Video 5.1 and then complete Exercise 5.1 in your Module Companion E–book.
Please now watch Video 5.2. See how the team’s reactions compare with yours, and then watch the video to the end. After this please complete Exercise 5.2 in your Module Companion E–book.
We now move on to a series of video scenarios that illustrate some of the difficult situations you may have to deal with in your job.The scenarios you are about to see show a receptionist having to deal with a series of tricky, and at times really difficult, phone calls. The focus of this session is to look at the skills needed to deliver good customer care, and to transfer these to your own organisation. The scenarios are all very brief and are designed to be triggers to stimulate your thoughts and reactions.
This section in particular asks you to be honest and reflective about how you respond, and to note these in your Module Companion E-book. Please bear in mind that it is important to relate each scenario to your own setting which might well differ from the one being portrayed in the video.
Watch each scenario in turn. There will be a slide after each scenario asking you to pause and reflect on what you have seen.Exercsie 5.3 in your Module Companion E–book will aks you to identify what you think are theissues being raised; how you would respond; and what best practice in customer care would be like in the particular situation portrayed.
When you have completed all six scenarios, look at the Telephone Skills Scenario Comments in your Module Companion E-book. This will enable you to check your responses to the brief notes we have provided. There may be further issues you need to raise, or questions you feel have not been fully answered. Make a note of these, and decide who is the best person in your organisation that you can explore these issues further with.
Please now watch Video 5.4. After this you should then read the brief conclusion to this lesson.
This lesson explores a number of issues about best practice in customer care. As before with the telephone skills, we ask you think about your own practice in an honest and reflective way, so that you can discover ways of improving the quality of customer care you deliver.
Please note that we have broken this lesson down into four sections, each one of which needs to be studied in turn before moving on to the next.
As with Lesson 5, you may find that some of the scenarios do not obviously apply to your own setting. Rather than just skipping these, however, we invite you to think about what some of the underlying issues are that these scenarios illustrate, and then to think about what might happen in your organisation with a similar scenario and how you would deal with it.
VIDEO 6.1 (overall duration 17m 5s broken down into several sections)
Please now watch video 6.1 and then begin Exercise 6.1 in your Module Companion E-book.
Please now watch Video 6.2 which brings back Dr Neil Thompson to talk to you about the importance of the language we use and its impact on our customer care. Once you have watched the video go to your Module Companion E-book to complete Exercise 6.2.
Please now watch Video 6.3
NBThis is an important issue around the duty of care you have towards yourself and the duty of care your organisation has towards you as an employee. It is important to look after yourself and to seek help and support and TLC when you are stressed. It is equally important that your organisation responds effectively.
When you are ready, complete Exercise 6.3 in your Module Companion E–book. Please note that these can be challenging and sensitive issues to explore, so it is important that you take your time with this worksheet in order to engage fully with the issues we raise. You may well have a lot of comments you need to make around these issues, some of which may need to be raised with your manager and/or supervisor at work.
Please now watch Video 6.4 and then complete Exercise 6.4 in your Module Companion E-book.
Please now watch Video 6.5 and then complete Exercise 6.5 in your Module Companion E-book.
This is an important area of customer care that impacts upon the whole organisation, even if in your particular role you do not have the principal responsibility for taking a complaint through the formal complaints process. Nevertheless, you may be the first point of contact for a complaint, and it is important for the complainant and your organisation that you handle it as well as possible.
Furthermore, the way an organisation thinks about complaints is very revealing and says a lot about its values and ethos. So your attitude as the first point of contact, will speak volumes about how your organisation feels about complaints.
This lesson explains that best practice will always welcome complaints as an opportunity to improve the organisation’s performance. It will also give you some useful tips about how best to handle complaints.
VIDEO 7.1 ( overall duration 10m 33s)
Please now watch video 7.1 and then complete Exercise 7.1 in your Module Companion E-book.
In your Module Companion E-Book you will find Exercise 7.2 which has been designed to reinforce your learning about complaints, the importance of your role, and how you regard, and respond to, people who wish to make a complaint.
If this is new to your organisation, how might you introduce this approach in your own workplace? To whom would you need to speak to raise these issues?
To round off the module we now invite you to complete this short quiz to help you check and consolidate your learning.
Professor Bernard Moss leads the presenting team for his Customer Care course, all of whom have considerable experience as trained simulated patients working in the NHS, helping medical students, doctors at various stages of their training, registrars, and consultants to develop their communication skills. The team also works with social work students, and a range of health professionals, to help them understand the importance of good communication skills when dealing with their clients, service users or patients, all of whom are, after all, members of the public.
Bernard’s book, Communication Skills in Health and Social Care,published in a second edition in 2012 by Sage, has been widely acclaimed.
Dr Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser based in Wales. He has held full or honorary professorships at four UK universities. He is a well-published author with over 200 publications to his name, including 33 books, several of which are bestsellers. He has been a speaker at conferences in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Greece, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Hong Kong, India, the United States, Canada and Australia.
He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Society of Arts, and a board member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement. He was formerly the editor of the US-based international journal, Illness, Crisis & Loss and now edits the free e-zine, THE humansolutions BULLETIN. His main interests are in the field of well-being: equality and diversity; conflict management; stress; loss, grief and trauma; and reflective practice. He is a sought-after conference speaker, consultant and facilitator.