Customer Service Case Study

“Two Brown Dogs and A Cat” Customer Service Workshop

“Absolutely, I recommend you. Itʼs just so refreshing to spend fun time learning, sharing and upskilling.”

Katie Shannon – co-owner operator of Two Brown Dogs and A Cat

Workshop details

Half Day Workshop located off-site.

Initial Challenge

Katie and Dean told me of the difficulty they were having in finding a customer service workshop they could attend with their team. Their preference was for a local workshop as their business is seven days a week and travelling out of town for training is too great a time investment. However, due to the provincial nature of the West Coast, no one was offering small-scale training.

I was able to offer a locally provided, half day (3.5hour) workshop tailor-made to their goals. This guaranteed them the results they were looking for with a time-investment they could manage within their existing schedule.

Setting Goals

My business is about helping other people perform their business better. Their success is my success. We started by discussing the results they would like to see and difficulties they were already facing to ensure that I could meet their needs and provide the value they were looking for. The following list came up:

  • How to go the extra mile and create great customer service experiences
  • Strategies to approach customers instead of waiting for them to come to you
  • How to remember people’s names and faces

In communicating with my client, I reconfirmed my understanding of their objectives in writing to ensure we were on the same page. I also attached a questionnaire for further details. This included objectives that may have come up since we talked, logistical details like dietary requirements, names of participants, location, workshop duration options and preferences (eg, half day or full day).

This uncovered the following subjects they would like to learn more about:

  • Dealing with conflict effectively
  • Working off the cuff
  • How to give bad news
  • How to ask for money
  • Telephone service tips


During my planning session, I wrote these down the side of my page and brainstormed customer service to see where these issues fit together and what potential solutions could help address them. This resulted in 4 main themes: 

  • Define customer service
  • Difficult situations
  • Seeing things from other’s point of view
  • Active framework for converting ideas into practice
Initial Brainstorming Planning Session

The requested outcomes seemed to be specific subject matters or isolated experiences that were important for them to develop confidence around. I saw an opportunity to help them develop a customer service framework in alignment with their values to address all of these issues with something to refer back to as future experiences come up.

I wanted my clients and their employees to connect with the reason for delivering great customer service. Not just how we do it, but why we do it.

My mind-map allowed me to see the overview of the session quickly and ensure I was addressing all the elements that were important to them. From this, I was able to create a session outline and rough timeframes.

The outline went through a number of reviews to ensure I was maximising the effectiveness of the workshop as follows:

  1. Outline rough structure and determine order of delivery for most cohesive program
  2. Identify areas that require research and schedule this
  3. Apply facilitated actives to each subject area to ensure experiential learning
  4. Review delivery order again to ensure strong motivator at the beginning to anchor to throughout the program
  5. Roughly determine timeframe for each segment
  6. Layer in more detailed facilitation techniques for maximum engagement eg, opening visual questions, determining goals and outcomes, icebreaker
  7. Review detailed plan and identify where I am telling information and replace with this interactive activities for group. Aiming for a ratio of 70/30 group experience learning to coaching from me
  8. Review activities to ensure there were enough energy boosting activities

Below is a sample of the final agenda: 

Screenshot of agenda.

Measurable Outcomes

With the outline set, I went back to the original goals to ensure everything was included and designed to be explored as interactively as possible. I also converted their goals into measurable outcomes based on the content.

“By the end of this session, participants are able to:

  • Identify what remarkable customer service looks like, sounds like and feels like,
  • Discuss metrics to help measure remarkable customer service so they know when they’re hitting the mark,
  • Apply the BE SUAVE strategy for remembering people’s names and faces,
  • Use customer service principles within a sales cycle context so that they apply the right principle at the right time,
  • Recognise basic personality types and discuss these for a deeper understanding of their own personality and those of their customers,
  • Discuss how they can communicate with similar and contrasting personality types for stronger customer interaction,
  • Practice strategies for customer service while working off the cuff using an improvisation framework,
  • Explore dealing with conflict and delivering bad news scenarios and share options for addressing these within the group,
  • Recognise the experience in the room for continued support and learning of these principles,
  • Discuss approaches for asking for money within the service cycle, and;
  • Develop improved telephone service skills”

Overcoming Problems

The main challenge I faced was the timeframe: I needed to fit a lot of content into an interactive, experience-driven learning model.

The client had determined what they wanted to learn so I couldn’t adjust the content to make up more time. The quality of the learning model was paramount because it translates into increased comprehension and greater practical application. Ultimately, this meant better customer service experiences resulting in increased referrals and income. That was really what they were after.

Instead, I looked for ways to engage with the material more creatively. I asked myself, “How can I achieve the same result in less time?” The answer was to make it more interactive.

Let’s take a minute to write our experience on post-its and share these as a group – 4 minds working at once is much faster than one at a time.

We’ve already shared a customer service horror story and talked about what not-to-do. Instead of doing that again, let’s mind-map together what the opposite looks like, feels like and sounds like.

As I came up with these more efficient ways of engaging the group, I noted the resources I would need. I chose to create really engaging and interactive group worksheets that we could complete together. Preparing the headings and main points saved heaps of time so we could jump right in.    

Group Worksheets before the workshop. They have been prepared with headings only: "Remarkable Service" with Looks Like, Sounds Like, Feels like and We Know We're Doing It When... sub headings. "Service Cycle" with Greet, Understand, Help, Keep In Touch subheadings, "Customer Service Principals" and Dove, Peacock, Owl, Eagle Personality profile with "Strengths, Weaknesses and Communication Styles subheadings.

Once established, these worksheets could be built upon throughout the session and added to as new concepts came up later in the day. They provided an anchor and framework for the rest of the topics.

These strategies also ensured that everyone in the group had a voice and engaged different learning styles.

Here’s a picture of the completed resources after the collaboration:    

Completed worksheets and the team participating in the workshop

Handling Problems on the Day

During the delivery of the workshop, we did run out of time to discuss phone service in detail. I recognised this and gave them a few options to choose from:

  1. Choose to include that and go over-time by 10-15 minutes
  2. Cut the break a little short and have a working cuppa instead
  3. Arrange for some follow up coaching.

The group decided to have a working break so we paused, put the kettle on and picked back up sooner than expected. We also arranged a follow up 30 minute coaching session for one of the participants who has unique phone service challenges rather than utilise the time of the group.Follow up

After the workshop, I compiled the worksheets we had created as a group. I put these into a document that would serve as a future customer service manual for the business.

The document also included a detailed summary of all the exercises we worked through and suggestions to carry the learning into their every day environment.

I scheduled a time and location for the individual coaching session which was helpful to the client.

This workshop was really fun. Everyone participated which resulted in heaps of shared expertise, great worksheets to refer to and a clear, practical understanding of the concepts.

The activities and elements of the workshop were tailored to the outcomes requested prior to the workshop. Based on participant feedback, these outcomes were achieved along with their own expectations and goals for the workshop including:

  • Reduced anxiety about customer service
  • Knowing how much to talk
  • When to do what during interactions with customers
  • Fresh ideas and approaches as well as reminders of customer service principles
  • Ways to make conversations with customers more authentic and less scripted and awkward.

It was really encouraging to see the conversation develop. The bonus outcome was the shared expertise that the participants are able to draw on between themselves in the future as they approach real-world situations.

How can you access these kind of results? 

What would it mean to your business if your team was more engaged and confident?

Through my workshop and coaching programs, you receive local facilitated training tailored to your goals with measurable outcomes. They are interactive, informative and based on whole-brain  adult learning methods to increase the practical application. To invest in your team’s development is to invest in your own success.

“Why wouldnʼt you want to invest in your business this way? Itʼs enjoyable, fun, creative, inspirational, thought provoking, genuine and you come away feeling more capable.
We needed to connect as a group, and learn customer service skills together. We all have our strengths and weaknesses but couldnʼt find a vehicle to help us. I loved that you tailor made our workshop for our needs. We became a team, we learned about ourselves and each other and feel more connected and supportive. We have less anxiety, more confidence and are more relaxed. Our business performance has improved.”

Katie Shannon, co-owner operator of Two Brown Dogs and A Cat

Ready to invest in yourself and your team? Get in touch for a free consultation to review your goals, preferred outcomes and value in return for the investment.

Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation

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