Categories, Items and Competencies Listing 2004

Customer Service Specialist


CUSTOMER SERVICE SPECIALIST  -  2004h (Adopted by NCEE Oct 21, 2003)



1.1       Explain why CSS skills should be incorporated in technical training programs

1.2       Describe how formal company customer relations initiatives can be conveyed to customers            

1.3       Present an example of poor communications of CSS principles to employees and customers

1.4       Present an example of good communications of CSS principles to employees and customers

1.5       Describe an example of poor customer service during product or service delivery                

1.6       Describe an example of an excellent delivery event of product or service

1.7       Explain the benefits when the service personnel actively support product sales efforts

1.8       Contrast the results of workers not keeping up-to-date on their company's products or services with results when the workforce is 

            maximally informed

1.9       Explain the differences between knowing customer views of your company's products services and actually utilizing those views to 

            enhance the company's image

1.10     Describe the detrimental results of worker absenteeism

1.11     Contrast absenteeism with maximum on-the-job time

1.12     List several reasons better customer service can cause customers to choose a business over other similar businesses 

1.13     List several reasons better customer service can cause customers to choose your business

1.14     List several reasons customers are 'turned off' from doing business with a company

1.15     List several ways to keep up-to-date on your company's products and services



2.1       Explain the relationships & differences between marketing & sales effort

2.2       Explain the relationships & differences between the sales department (or effort) and service

2.3       Explain the relationships & differences between marketing & the service department

2.4       List five methods of marketing products or services

2.5       List five methods of producing sales of products & services

2.6       Describe how the company's staff members can be trained & their sales abilities improved



3.1       Explain why sales, service & marketing personnel must keep up-to-date on products, accessories & service

3.2       Explain why sales, service & marketing personnel must be able to describe the usage of products

3.3       Present several examples of acronyms used at your business & explain how these should be explained or defined for co-workers & 


3.4       Present good & bad examples of speaking above, and at, the customer level of comprehension

3.5       Describe an example of communication with a co-worker or non-technical employee, using words which they may not understand



4.1       Describe face to face communications and an example of how telephone communications on the same topic may differ

4.2       Present several examples of bad timing of customer phone calls

4.3       Contrast a pleasant tone of voice with too low, too hard, too fast, or too impersonal tone 

4.4       Explain how a customer may resent your talking at length on the customer's paid long distance service & how you should show 

            respect for those costs

4.5       List several examples of conversations in which security should be a consideration

4.6       Describe proper etiquette in taking & relaying other people's phone calls to  your company, school, department, etc.

4.7       List 5 important considerations when sending or receiving fax communications

4.8       Describe an example of cell phone abuse and its potential health hazard



5.1       List five examples where direct letterhead mail should be used rather than e-mail

5.2       Describe the benefits of an e-mail attachment over all-text e-mail

5.3       List five examples of customer e-mails that are inappropriate,

5.4       Present five examples of poor spelling, grammar, or form and explain the negative results of each   

5.5       Contrast the difference in effectiveness between a service worker who has modern computers, internet, word processing, data 

            base, graphic abilities and one who has no keyboard skills

5.6       List 5 computer application abilities that would make an employee more valuable



6.1      Present an example of explaining a highly technical subject to a customer, showing how to use comparisons with well known 

           human topics

6.2      Describe a case where a service/sales person can reduce customer tensions caused by lack of knowledge, price or extent of a 

           service function

6.3      List 5 ways to aggravate or enlarge a customer problem rather than reducing it

6.4      List 10 examples of personal hygiene or appearance qualities that may turn off employers or fellow workers

6.5      Explain the differences or liberties one can take when dealing with known acquaintances as compared with those you are 

           meeting for the first time

6.6      List 5 ways to attempt to gain a customer's confidence.



7.1      Describe how a worker may not really understand the mission of his employer & if so, how this could be detrimental

7.2      Contrast full knowledge of the employer's products & service with only an overview of them

7.3      Present two reasons for knowing your company's history that could be advantageous in your work as a service person

7.4      List 5 factors you consider good about your company, office or products

7.5      List 5 aspects you consider good about your job at the company

7.6      List 5 features that give you pride in your company

7.7      Explain the negatives associated with a worker having no loyalty to his company or its products


8.0      TEAMWORK

8.1       List 5 benefits of teamwork over the 'every man for himself' employee attitude

8.2              List 5 detrimental results of poor teamwork

8.3              List 5 ways that you believe can improve teamwork      



9.1       Explain the difference between customer service personnel who resent the sales/marketing department and employee who 

            enthusiastically support them

9.2       Present a sample situation where an employee actually seeks sales of accessories during sales or service incidents & 

            estimate the increase in profits it might produce

9.3       List 10 ways a person wastes minutes out of a work-day & estimate a cost for the company

9.4       List 10 ways to waste company resources & estimate a cost to the company

9.5       List 10 ways to improve efficiency

9.6       List 5 simple ways to improve knowledge which could be valuable to your company



10.1     Explain what is meant by a customer service person doing more than expected

10.2     List 5 'details' that could be impressive to customers

10.3     Present an example of double checking which could save a recall service event or head off a customer problem

10.4     Explain how suggestions for upgrading products or systems can benefit a customer

10.5     Present 5 examples that demonstrate how your company understands and cares for the customer or his products

10.6     List 5 examples of completed service products appearance details that can show quality



11.1     Define human emotion

11.2     Explain why customer service people need to recognize emotion problems in customers and co-workers

11.3     Explain ways to respond to highly emotional people to help reduce any negative reactions

11.4     Contrast the response of an unsympathetic service person to that of  sympathetic treatment of an emotional person

11.5     List 10 reasons a customer or co-worker may become highly emotional.

11.6     Explain why people are inclined to generate negative emotions when change is presented to them

11.7     Explain how once reluctance to change is perceived, it might be overcome



12.1     Describe respect for customer (appearance, attitude, fears, choices, style, etc)

12.2     Describe respect for customer property

12.3     Describe respect for co-workers

12.4     Contrast an ethical customer service decision with an unethical one

12.5     Contrast the difficulty with undependable people and those you can count on

12.6     Explain situations in which patience can resolve or prevent problems

12.7     Explain how a worker taking a leadership position in an (association, union, company, social club) can make him/her  

            more valuable to the company

12.8     Describe a basic dress-code company policy



13.1     Explain the detriment effect sales & service personnel present by doing 'all of the talking' to a customer

13.2     Explain why customers should be encouraged to express themselves fully

13.3     Present 5 examples of questions that can motivate customers to express themselves



14.1     List 5 methods of obtaining feedback from customers regarding satisfaction with products or services

14.2     Name 5 clues that might help in ascertaining a customer's real feelings about your company or products/service

14.3     Present a priority list showing the best ways to respond to customer feedback

14.4     Present a good & a bad way to respond to a negative customer feedback remark



15.1      Contrast a response to a customer complaint in which you are quick to set the customer straight as to why he/she is  

             wrong, with first getting the customer to fully expand on all of his/her reasons for complaining

15.2      Describe the reasoning behind collecting all the facts of the incident, then presenting them to the customer prior to 

             debating an issue

15.3      List 5 ways to put a complaining customer at ease

15.4      Describe the benefits of clearly outlining the facts in the complaint

15.5      Describe solutions that might minimize the unhappiness of the customer

15.6      List actions that may be initiated when a customer is totally in the wrong & responds to no suggestions for resolution  

             of the complaint 



16.1      Explain differences between people with valid or presumed complaints, and people who are intentionally attempting to  

             cheat you or your company

16.2           List 5 ways that potential complaints can be avoided by actions which meant to prevent disputes

16.3      Describe methods of resolving problems with customers or co-workers

16.4      Present a scenario where you should call the police to handle an irate customer

16.5      Explain conditions in which a lawyer should be involved to handle a dispute



17.1           List 10 normal safety rules for employees

17.2      Describe reasons for 5 safety rules that may not at first seem reasonable

17.2           Explain proper safety advice, versus personal advice that could be used against you or your company

17.4      Explain situations where you, or co-workers, need to raise the safety level to prevent future accidents

17.5      Describe environmental conditions that under certain circumstances might present safety hazards

17.6      Describe vehicle, company or in-home situations in which special care must be exercised by service personnel

17.7      List 10 hazards associated with operating a company service vehicle

17.8      List OSHA rules for operating at heights

17.9      List local, state, or federal rules meant to prevent accidents

17.10    List improper habits such as posture, eating/drinking at work, lack of exercise, smoking, etc.



18.1      Explain how a worker can involve the company legally

18.2      Describe how a product installation or defect might involve your company in a lawsuit

18.3      Explain the types of premises danger or omissions that could lead to legal problems

18.4      Explain the reasons why customer service personnel must provide detailed documentation for their work in order to  

             defend against legal actions

18.5      Explain how frivolous customer claims can degenerate into legal problems



19.1      Explain the purpose of Business League Associations for businesses, and professional associations of individuals

19.2      List 10 benefits of each type association

19.3      Describe technical certifications & their benefits to the public & the industry

19.4      Explain the function & thus benefits of recognized (local, national, professional or trade) associations participation to 

             your business or work

19.5      Explain the benefits of your own personal association membership to your company



20.1      List 5 policies of your company that protect the business or its workers

20.2      Explain an instance where 1 or more rules can be avoided with no harm to the company, employees or you

20.3      Explain why it is desirable to leave an employer if the rules cannot be followed

20.4      Describe business rules, common to many companies, which should automatically be adhered to 



21.1      Explain Independent Contractor status vs. employee status

21.2      List reasons to contract as an Independent Contractor

21.3      Describe some legal implications related to being an Independent Contractor

21.4      Describe some financial implications when operating as an Independent Contractor

21.5      List the emotional effects that Independent Contractor violations cause for the contractor and the employer



22.1      Describe ways to grow technically with your job

22.2      List ways to demonstrate your eagerness to learn

22.3      List ways to demonstrate your eagerness to advance

22.4      Explain ways to benefit from company advancement

22.5      Explain ways to advance within your profession

22.6      Describe the importance of training

22.7      Describe the disadvantages of a dead-end job and the effect it has on your attitude towards customers



23.1      List reasons a job description can benefit a CSS

23.2      State ways a job description can enhance performance

23.3      Explain ways a job description can promote advancement



24.1      List examples of good & bad records

24.2      Explain why it is important to keep records

24.3      Demonstrate the advantages of having records available

24.4      List how a company can benefit legally from proper documentation

24.5      Describe the benefits of database record keeping



   (end of NCEE competencies listing for CSS 2004H)


The above 24 CATEGORIES of knowledge, skills and training, with their 144 subcategory topics, 

or ITEMS, contain the ingredients for training courses or for individual study towards attaining the 

CSS certification from ETA or the CCS from PSA. The CSS COMPETENCIES listing provides the last 

step in reaching industry acceptance.