Customer service certificates, training programs, and courses can all seem very similar. However, they each have some key differences that may impact how they can benefit your career. So, which one is right for you?
Preparing and training for a job in customer service is essential. Customer service jobs are difficult and require soft skills. In these positions, you will face difficult customers, pressure to meet productivity, and competition will similar services or products. Customer service training can provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed.
However, there are different levels of training including:
- On-the-job training
- Customer service courses
- Customer service training programs
- Customer service certificate programs
- Customer service certification
- Degrees in communications and other customer service-related fields
Other than on-the-job training, each of these levels of training requires some degree of financial investment. And they get more expensive as they go. So the real question is: which types of training are really worth the money?
In this article, we will focus on customer service certificates, training programs, and courses to help you decide which one you really need.
Customer service certificate programs
Gaining a customer service certificate is the most cost-effective option for newer customer service employees or those interested in a customer service job. These programs offer not only courses and training but also a certificate of completion that can be added to your resume.
Earning a customer service certificate can help you stand out from the competition and demonstrate your commitment to providing quality customer service. They can offer you the following benefits in your career:
- Higher earning potential
- Demonstrated commitment to the profession
- Greater job satisfaction
- Increased opportunities for career advancement
- Improved ability to provide quality customer service
However, all these benefits depend on the value that your employer puts on the certificate.
If your company does not see the value in a customer service certificate, then it may not be worth your time and money to pursue. Certificates also have some disadvantages, so it’s important to know if getting one will really benefit your career and earning potential.
Here are some of the disadvantages to consider:
- Higher cost
- Time intensive
- Can become outdated
The truth is, it really depends on your company’s perspective. If they see the value in it and are willing to invest in their employees, then it could be a great asset to your career. This is especially true when you are just starting out and do not have as much hands-on experience. Gaining training through a customer service certificate program can show potential employers that you are willing to learn and grow in the customer service field.
Customer service certificate program courses
It’s important to note that many certificate programs also offer individual courses. These courses can often be taken without enrolling in the full program.
If you’re interested in customer service courses, check to see if the program offers them as well. These are typically shorter and less expensive than the full customer service certificate program.
You may also be able to purchase courses one at a time and slowly work towards a customer service certificate if money is an issue.
Customer service training programs
Much like customer service certificate programs, customer service training programs have a collection of courses that customer service representatives must complete. Customer service training programs, however, do not lead to a customer service certificate.
Instead, a customer service training program provides attendees with the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective customer service professionals without the added pressure of a final exam.
Customer service training programs help employees learn essential customer service skills, such as active listening and effective communication. They also teach employees how to handle difficult customer service scenarios in a professional manner.
Customer service training programs can be either classroom-based or web-based, and they typically range from a few hours to several weeks in duration. Many employers require their customer service employees to complete a customer service training program before starting their job, and some even offer a certificate upon completion of the program.
Customer service training programs do not have to meet any specific standards. However, that also means they are not limited by set standards. They can be updated more frequently to reflect changes in customer service trends and technologies.
Customer service training programs have similar advantages to customer service certificate programs. Some of these include:
- Improved communication skills
- Improved customer service skills
- Increased job satisfaction
- Decreased customer complaints
- Enhanced productivity
Just like with customer service certificate programs, the advantages of customer service training programs for your career advancement and earning potential will depend on your employer. If they value the extra training that you receive, they may use that as a deciding factor for your next promotion or raise.
This may also help you decide if a company is right for you. If they do not value initiative and customer service training, then they may not be as customer-centric as you would like. They also may not be willing to invest in their employees, which could limit your growth potential.
Training programs, however, also have some disadvantages compared to customer service certificate programs. These include:
- Risk of bias: Be wary of training programs provided by companies that sell or hire for customer service as they may be subject to bias toward specific products or methods owned by the company. You can reduce the chances of bias by looking for training programs not associated with a specific company, such as those at Customers First Academy.
- Narrower focus. Customer service certificate programs often have a wide focus on the industry as a whole. Training programs, on the other hand, are sometimes more narrow and cover a smaller portion of the industry. Look for one that is more broad in content if you are just starting out.
- Can be outdated. Just like customer service certificate programs, the content in training programs must be updated to stay relevant. The customer service field is changing constantly. Make sure to look for the last time the course was updated to ensure it was within the last 2-3 years. Otherwise, it may not be worth your time and money.
Consider these disadvantages when looking at customer service training programs to help you avoid paying for a lower-quality program.
Customer service courses
Unlike customer service certificates and training programs, courses are designed to give you more specific information on a single topic. Sometimes these courses are a part of a customer service certificate or training program, but can often be independent.
Customer service courses can be found online or in person, and are often less expensive than certificate programs. They can offer you the following benefits:
- Increased flexibility
- More topics to choose from
- More specific information on a topic
- Less expensive
However, these advantages will depend on your professional goals. If you’re just getting started, a more comprehensive and fundamental customer service certificate course may be more beneficial. It will save you money rather than having to purchase individual courses for each topic.
But if you are looking to get ahead in your career or improve a specific skillset, courses are the perfect option.
If you’re looking to improve your customer service skills in a specific area, then taking a customer service course is probably a good option for you. But if you want a more broad overview of the customer service field, then a customer service certificate or training program is probably a better choice.
Customer service courses don’t provide the same comprehensive overview of the customer service field that customer service certificate programs do. They also have some other disadvantages compared to customer service certificates, including:
- Less comprehensive
- Need multiple courses if new to the field
- Less recognition
When it comes to customer service courses, the goal is really to improve one skill. If you are just starting out in customer service, courses will not give you the comprehensive overview that a customer service certification or training program would. And if you want to improve multiple skills, you’ll need to take multiple courses – which can quickly become expensive.
To sum it all up
It is important to think about your personal and professional goals before deciding which route to take: customer service certificates, training programs, or courses. Use the chart below to help you decide.
Which type of customer service training is right for me?
|Customer service certificates||Higher earning potential|
Demonstrated commitment to the profession
Greater job satisfaction
Increased opportunities for career advancement
Improved ability to provide quality customer service
Can become outdated
Recognition of completion
|Customer service training programs||Improved communication skills|
Improved customer service skills
Increased job satisfaction
Decreased customer complaints
|Risk of bias|
Can be updated
|Customer service courses||Increased flexibility|
More topics to choose from
More specific information on a topic
Need multiple courses if new to the field
Get started with CustomersFirst Academy!
If you are looking to get started in customer service, CustomersFirst Academy offers a comprehensive customer service certificate program that will give you all the tools you need.
Looking for more training on handling difficult customers – one of the hardest parts of customer service?
Or check out all our programs and courses below:
Customer Service Training for Individuals:
- Customer Service Certificate Program
- Master Customer Service Essentials (Online Course)
- Learn How to Handle Difficult Customers Like a Pro (Online Course)
- Explore ALL courses here!