Customer Support Guru


Click on the Post U logo below before beginning the course.


What is Customer Service? In this section you will learn what it is and the key factors that lead to excellent customer service.

The definition of Customer Service...

What is customer service?  Well, in your capacity as a Financial Aid advisor, customer service is an important part of maintaining positive, ongoing relationships both internally with Admissions counselors and externally with potential enrolling students. Post is working hard to increase student experience satisfaction in order to improve its brand and increase retention and graduation rates.  This translates to higher revenue for the university and improves the budget for potential raises and added benefits to employees.  For this reason, we should focus on working hard to increase student satisfaction levels. It is our interaction with both internal and external “customers” that form a perception of the Finance office individually but also Post University as a whole. 

View this video before moving on to the next section.

Self assessment 1: Which statement is true?

  • Customer support can make or break your reputation.
  • Customer service can have a big impact on your bottom line.
  • Support is an integral part of the product experience.
  • Customer service is critical to competing effectively.
  • All of the above.

What's important to think about?

"I'm Ron Burgandy?"  Many times we, as "experts" in our field, believe that we already know the answer to the students' questions.  It's like we are reading from a teleprompter and not truly paying attention to the content of the words.

How NOT to be a Ron Burgandy:

  • Don't make assumptions
  • Identify the student's needs, ask questions and really listen to the answers
  • Words, tone of voice and non-verbal indicators are great ways to determine how a student feels: frustrated, angry, patient, in a hurry? (These two short videos explain how tone and non-verbal indicators can change what is being said even using the same exact words: and
  • Adjust your behavior accordingly

Think like a student

It's not about you, some phrases to avoid:

  • "we're really busy right now"
  • "my system is down"
  • "we are short handed"

Take ownership/avoid blaming other departments and just solve the problem.

Self-assessment 2: Bin Game

In this game you will need to place the phrases in the correct bin.  Positive, or helpful phrases in one, and negative or un-helpful phrases in the other.  See if you can beat your personal best score!!

Customer Service Techniques-Meet Jane.

Jane is a new customer service agent and has been hired on for a 60-day probationary period.  She must prove her skills in order to remain in her position permanently.  Let's see how she does.


To be prepared for customer support challenges, Jane should learn the right techniques to overcome the possible problems. Here are techniques Jane needs to defuse the outraged customer.

  • Admit mistakes technique is used to calm down the customer by admitting the mistake, whether you made it personally or the company you represent made it.
  • Allow venting is used for allowing the customer to let off steam uninterrupted, the idea is that the customer will eventually calm down on his or her own.
  • Empathy statements are used as the primary response to any situation where the customer is upset or angry. The idea is to prove to the customer that you understand his or her emotional state.
  • Not taking the bait technique means not responding to insults or abusive comments made by a customer.
  • Preemptive strike means anticipating a problem a customer might face and acknowledging it before the customer brings it up.
  • Provide explanations technique means giving clear explanations to the customer.
  • Refocus technique is used to bring a conversation with an angry customer to the original issue or topic [Extracted from: Perfect Phrases for Customer Service by Robert Bacal].

Handling insulting customers

It's Jane's second day at the office, and she has a stressful call from a furious customer. She is at her wit's end and needs assistance. Keep in mind that Jane's career depends on the outcome of this conversation.

Choose the defusing techniques used by Jane

  • Allow venting
  • Empathy statements
  • Provide explanations
  • Not taking the bait
  • Admit mistakes
  • Refocus
  • Preemptive strike


Jane is exhausted but happy. With your help she managed to deal successfully with her first angry customer. A lot of new challenges are ahead but Jane is on the right track. 

Let's wrap-up and test our knowledge.  Complete the crossword puzzle below: 

Self-assessment 3: Final Quiz

Please answer the questions below and make sure to follow through and complete this session to the end.  If you have any questions please feel free to reach me at [email protected].

Which is the best response to this student initiated situation: "I have been trying to log into my Blackboard for 2 days now, but it keeps telling me my password in incorrect."

  • "Hold on sir, I'm going to transfer you to your academic success counselor"
  • "That's not my department, sir. You need to speak to your ASC, do you know who that is?"
  • "Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with that process, but I am happy to get you over to someone that can help you with that. May I please have your first and last name so that I can find out who your Academic Success Counselor is?"
  • Cold transfer to the ASC main line with no explanation to the student.

What is the best way to make the student feel important?

  • Be passionate about your job
  • Call the student by their first name
  • Use sir or ma'am whenever possible
  • A and B, but not C

TRUE or FALSE: Not taking the bait technique means not responding to insults or abusive comments made by a customer.

  • TRUE

What are three constructive solutions to address student concerns?

  • Use "favor" words rather than "command" words, make the student feel important, and listen to hear not to respond
  • Try to assume what the student needs, let them know you are the expert, and tell them what they need
  • Let the student know it was not your fault, transfer them to the department that made the mistake, and let them know someone else will take care of the problem.

On your own.....

Now that you have completed this customer service training, please take some time to develop a script that includes some of the techniques you have learned in this module.  This should include at least five positive responses to the most common situations you encounter as a Financial Aid Advisor.  This should include a plan for overcoming and defusing situations with students to avoid escalations.

As a reward for all of your hard word throughout this training session, I am including a link to a funny (and work appropriate) "Bad Customer Service" montage.  Enjoy!!



Gustaffsson, A., Johnson, M. D., & Roos, I. (2006, October). The Effects of Customer Satisfaction, Relationship Commitment Dimensions, and Triggers on Customer Retention. Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, pp. 210-218.

Jahanshahi, A. A., Gashti, M. A., Mirdamadi, S. A., Nawaser, K., & Khaksar, S. M. (2011). Study the Effects of Customer Service and Product Quality on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(7), 253-260.

Meet Jane. (2016). Retrieved from EasyGenerator:

Tarr, R. (2016). Bin Game. Retrieved from Class

PCAS Points to Ponder

PCAS Script Compliance

PCAS - The handoff

Much of the interaction between AC and FAA occurs in front of the student, so internal customer service is very important during the PCAS.

  • The script is important, of course, but not more important than your tone and manner.
  • Take control of the call and maintain a positive, upbeat setting for the student.

Call Handling Skills - Skills for placing students on hold

Quality Customer Service

FAA Checklist:

  • Use the student's name throughout the call
  • Maintain proper tone, pitch, volume and pace throughout the call (let the script guide you, but never let it rule you)
  • Use words and phrases that maintain a courteous, energetic and upbeat demeanor
  • Do NOT interrupt or talk over the student, change your approach to meet the needs of the student
  • Address the student's needs and answer questions correctly
  • Most importantly - REMAIN CONFIDENT!!  No matter what, YOU are the expert.

Assessment -

The Seven Types of Reps