Customer Service

"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better."

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
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This Business English ESL lesson plan on customer service has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

When a customer buys a product or uses the services of a company, how they feel afterwards determines whether or not they will return to that company. Customer service plays a huge role in fostering customer loyalty. If the customer receives a poor service, either during or after the sale, they simply will not return. On the other hand, many customers are prepared to pay a higher price should they receive a first-class service. While larger companies who know they have the best prices can appear to be disinterested in customer service, new or small businesses cannot afford this luxury. In this Business English lesson plan on customer service, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as their experiences with customer service and why it’s so important for businesses to get right.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Qualtrics | Why Amazon is a leader in customer experience

The article uses Amazon as a case study in how to provide great customer service, including delivery and returns, the digital services experience, and product experience. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they can add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk called “The Customer Revolution in Customer Service” which looks at customer service in Armenia compared to the United States.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including irritating customer service situations, businesses with good and bad reputations for customer service, and how to deal with difficult customers.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with customer service such as customer satisfaction, the customer is always rights and service with a smile. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about customer service. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the personal qualities and skills necessary to work in customer service, the best ways a business can provide customer service, and how technology can assist customer service.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write a letter to a customer or client to follow up on one of their recent purchases. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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