Customer Service Character

Customer Service

High-impact lessons for front-line teams.

World Media Festival Award 2016 Award

My partner’s going to hit you with a rhetorical question now. Do it.


Improve your customer satisfaction levels and increase customer loyalty with Video Arts Customer Service Essentials. This collection delivers  funny, memorable, short films and e-learning courses that change the way employees behave when they’re with customers. Starring Mark Heap, Lucy Liemann, Tom Bennett, Laura Aikman and Javone Prince and written by leading experts like Dr Peter Honey. Must-have resources for customer-facing employees.

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Available as video or e-learning courses

Finding out what they want

Finding Out What They Want:

It's not the age it's the mileage right?!

Customers don’t always know what they want. Whatever service you provide, encourage your customers to open up. Listen to their needs, desires and concerns.

Getting into their head

Getting Into Their Head:

He just wants the tie

The customer may need something more than what they’re asking for. Try to get to the truth of the matter by asking questions.

Knowing your stuff

Knowing Your Stuff:

Why are you curled up in a ball?

Knowing your stuff gets the customer onside. You should have a detailed knowledge of what you’ve got – your product range and its features. You should also know your policies, as well as having a wider knowledge of the business and the market landscape.

Showing them the benefits

Showing Them The Benefits:

But is it comfy?

Features like ‘it’s got auto-tension’ are factual statements but they won’t entice customers to buy. A benefit (like ‘it’s incredibly comfortable’) answers the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ People buy benefits – so explain them to them.

Team and customer loyalty

Team And Customer Loyalty:

Who sold you this then?

You are part of a team, so be loyal to your colleagues – support them and what they do. Be loyal to your customers too, you are not there to judge them and it will help you get the best for them.

Questioning techniques Part 1

Questioning Techniques (Part 1):

Do you recall what I said about recall questions?

To get to know your customers and their needs, use closed questions to get facts, open questions to learn more, and recall questions to build a history.

Questioning techniques Part 2

Questioning Techniques (Part 2):

Could you be any more guilty?

To help guide and control your customer’s interest, use rhetorical questions to confirm understanding, assumptive questions to create decisions, and leading questions to direct them towards a sale or solution.

Using your voice effectively

Using Your Voice Effectively:

That's your customer service voice is it?

Think about your pitch, pace and tone and use your natural voice when engaging customers. Be warm, and medium paced, without being smarmy or twittery. Try engaging customers by following their voice patterns a little, but don’t mimic them.


Five classic complaint scenarios in both the service and retail sectors. Each time a staff member encounters a member of the public, each with a different complaint. Introduced by Richard Wilson.


Let customers express their anger. Be willing to help. Positive body language.


Acknowledge that there is a problem. Show concern. Be understanding.

Ask The Right Questions

Check the details. Remain positive. Be polite. Use open and closed questions appropriately.

Agree A Course Of Action

Identify the problem. Propose solutions. Involve the customer. Be positive.

Check It’s Carried Out

Own the situation. Do it yourself if necessary.


The AGREE model:
A Act quickly
G Get details
R Review the options
E Execute the plan
E Evaluate the outcome

Mr Chatty

Mr Chatty:

My cousin Beryl bought one like this

If you have a chatty customer, use closed questions to keep them on subject, and don’t give up – even if they do drive you up the wall.

Mr Rude

Mr Rude:

A fight before breakfast

Never go into battle with a rude customer, that’s just what they want you to do. Don’t surrender either. Stand your ground, be polite and neutral.

Mrs Arrogant

Mrs Arrogant:

Bonjorno, Cheese Man

Don’t get cheesed off with arrogant customers. Be respectful. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they want to be seen. Avoid confrontation and awkwardness by being tactful.

Mrs Picky

Mrs Picky:

Whatever it is, it has my full support

Never rush a picky customer. Understand the reason behind their need for extra detail. Use your product knowledge to give them a clear picture and if you don’t know, offer to find out. Try and remain friendly.

Agreeing actions

Agreeing Actions:

Thanks for calling the coastguard - goodbye!

When closing the call, don’t leave your customer ‘lost at sea’. Agree actions and how they’ll be followed up. Volunteer useful information and agree the next steps.

First impressions

First Impressions On The Phone:


When you’re on the phone, answer right away and use a verbal handshake. Smile as you talk, and introduce yourself.


C is for Cheerful. You’re a representative of the organisation, so don’t take it personally.


E is for Efficient. As Hugh says, “Never confuse someone knowing exactly what they want, asking for it and hurrying on their way, with rudeness. Quick doesn’t have to be rude”.


E is for Enthusiastic. Think about your body language like facial expression (no yawning!), posture, gestures, eye-contact and so on.


F is for Friendly. The Mr Yappys of this world can wear the friendliest people down. Using friendly body language and politely interrupting with helpful open questions (“How can I help?”) is the best way to get him back on track.


Hugh Laurie explains how to be PERFECT: Polite, Efficient, Respectful, Friendly, Enthusiastic, Cheerful and Tactful.


P is for Polite. When the woman asks the young shop assistant “Is this tuna friendly?” our protagonist has to make sure that his response, both what he says and how he says it, is polite.


R is for Respectful. It is all too easy to answer Mr Snappy in kind (“Couldn’t you think to put it somewhere else? Yes I could, as a matter of fact!”). You need to appear respectful, even if you don’t feel it.


T is for Tactful. It is very easy for those with expert knowledge to make those who don’t have it feel like fools. However overbearing Ms Flash may be, telling her “It’s a bit like asking me for a French wine without being more specific” is not going to sell her any cheese.

A human touch

A Human Touch:

He's literally a customer processing machine!

Remember your customers are also your guests, so acknowledge them straight away, especially if you aren’t able to serve them immediately. Keep your approach fresh – you may have done this a thousand times but this is their first impression. Use the human touch to give them an excellent first impression.

Dropping your emotional baggage

Dropping Your Emotional Baggage:

Oh, no, not you.

You can choose who you want to be at work. Leave your baggage at the door and give yourself a fresh start every day. Don’t let your problems become your customer’s problems or you’ll end up in a negative spiral. Think about enjoying the positivity of helping people.

How not to approach people

How Not To Approach People:

The five monsters of customer service

Be aware of your body language and don’t become one of the five monsters of customer service. Be available and open, don’t put barriers of any kind between you and visitors. Have a genuine smile, be natural and stay alert.



Oh you're legendary all right...

Make a great first impression, remember your STANCE. Smile, have a friendly Tone, your Appearance is important, as is using the customer’s Name. Always be Customer Focused and maintain Eye-Contact so they are engaged and feel valued.


– Smile
– Tone
– Appearance
– Name
– Customer focussed
– Eye contact

The Body In The Lake

How behaviour can be used to improve customers’ attitudes, and create new sales opportunities. This spoof detective film stars Dawn French and was written by behavioural expert Dr Peter Honey.

Using Your Behaviour To Help Or Hinder A Transaction

Take the professional approach and make sure you: understand your customer, manage your customer, manage the situation.

Behaviour Breeds Behaviour

Remember that behaviour counts because:
You are your behaviour
You can choose your behaviour
Behaviour breeds behaviour

Using Your Behaviour Verbally And Visually

Express yourself positively through everything you say and everything you do.


Whatever happens make sure you stay cool, stay in control and don’t crack.

Email and web chat

Email And Web Chat:

Whaddup Custie?

When emailing and in webchat, you can be more informal that you might in a letter, but don’t take it too far. Check your emails, and respond promptly to those requesting action. Above all, be polite and don’t email when angry!

Social media and the customer

Social Media And The Customer:

*unamused face*

When using social media, empathise with customers publically, but take one-to-one discussions away from the public eye. Remember you represent the company, and don’t over promise.

Social media and you

Social Media And You:


On social media you’re never fully off duty. Make sure you maintain high personal standards. Don’t be critical of the company, colleagues or customers.

Dealing with objections

Dealing With Objections:

I thought this was a slam dunk?

When dealing with customer’s objections, don’t panic – play it cool. Don’t focus on the objection – instead, put it in perspective, or outweigh it with compensating factors.

Discovering their needs

Discovering Their Needs:

I wonder why he didn't buy any undercoat?

Discover the customer’s need. Even they might not be sure what it is. Explore with open questions and discover more about them. Listen and check the facts, you may discover more… and watch out for clues – there might be more services or products you can offer them.



I remember a couple buying the very same bed

Share positive stories from your customers to bring your products or services to life.

Choosing Your Behaviour:

I should put you in the crime section!

Behaviour is variable. Choosing the right kind at the moment of truth is critical. It isn’t difficult, it’s about awareness and discipline.

Behaviour Can Help Or Hinder:

Ooh that stings!

Your behaviour can help or hinder a transaction. Think about your verbal behaviour: don’t dominate conversation, or bully, and listen actively. Think about your visual.

Behaviour Breeds Behaviour:

I think I’m getting dizzy

People mirror the behaviour of others. Your behaviour will affect how others behave, for good or bad, so be aware of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it

Getting to a solution

Getting To A Solution:

Milan? Why is it in Milan?

Involve the customer in the solution. Ask them what their preferred solution would be, and offer them options.

Listening to the customer

Listening To The Customer:

Don't blame me, mate. You bought it.

When dealing with a complaint, listen and empathise, don’t sympathise. Allow the customer to talk – don’t get defensive, and summarise your understanding before offering solutions.

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