Customer Service Skills Training: Certification for Higher Education Professionals

Customer Service Skills Training: Certification for Higher Education Professionals

March 23 - 25, 2021 | Eastern Time

Gain the knowledge and skills you need to provide high-quality customer service.


As competition in higher education intensifies, so do prospective students’ appetites to shop for institutions that provide the best education and experience for their tuition dollars. Instilling a culture of service excellence at all levels of an institution can directly enhance enrollment and improve student retention. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniable impact on student perception and experience, making this conversation more important than ever before.

Join us for this virtual learning experience that is unique to the higher education training space and specifically developed for both frontline customer service professionals and those who supervise them. Through interactive and small-group activities, you will dive into:

  • Critical competencies of good customer service in higher education
  • Key considerations for providing excellent service amid the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Maintaining consistency across service channels
  • The conversation cycle and scripting
  • Assisting difficult customers
  • Understanding the full spectrum of customer relationships—from students and their parents to internal stakeholders
  • Measuring and assessing your customer service culture

You will leave this training with increased confidence in your customer service skills and a greater ability to handle a wide variety of service scenarios.

Watch our expert faculty talk about why getting customer service right is key in higher education:

Get Your Team Certified

Attendees of this virtual event will have the opportunity to complete an online final exam. Upon demonstrating your mastery of the subject matter discussed throughout the program, you will receive a certificate of completion for your time spent and knowledge gained at this event. Show that your institution is a leader in customer service by getting your entire frontline staff certified!


Who Should Attend

This virtual conference has been specifically designed for both managers and frontline staff across enrollment and student services in higher education. The program will especially benefit you if you are a:

  1. Frontline service provider looking to enhance your customer service skills
  2. Manager or director supervising frontline service providers and looking to bring training ideas back to your institution
  3. Campus leader looking to lead culture change and implement a service excellence program on your campus.

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions

See What Our Attendees are Saying

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


Day One (all times Eastern)


Welcome and Introductions
11:30 - 11:45 a.m.



Defining Service: How Does Customer Service Impact Higher Education?
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
What defines good vs. bad customer service? We’ll dive into customer service models and research that will enhance your understanding of the role customer service plays within higher education. This interactive session will set the stage for the rest of this event and provide strategies to educate, lead, and empower others to shift towards a culture of service excellence at your institution.



12:30 – 12:45 p.m.



Service Excellence in the Midst of COVID-19
12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
This is a fall unlike any other. Whether you have students on campus with a host of safety guidelines and new processes to allow for social distancing or you are servicing students virtually, one thing is for certain: there are heightened stress levels all around. We will discuss and ideate ways to integrate service excellence strategies into this current context.



1:45 – 2:15 p.m.



Competencies for Service Excellence
2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
This session will provide an in-depth, example-based overview of the various competencies you need to provide high-quality customer service to students in today’s higher education environment. We will discuss different types of competencies, including physical, emotional, knowledge-based, environmental, and cross-cultural. You will leave with a self-assessment you can use to measure your own customer service skills and help identify areas of strengths and opportunities for growth.



3:15 – 3:30 p.m.



Enhancing Communications through Scripting
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
This session will focus on the art of scripting as a means of ensuring consistency across service channels. You will be given time at the end of the session to write your own scripts for phone conversations including greetings, closings, and apologies.



Optional: Virtual Networking
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
This informal virtual networking time is your chance to decompress, share resources, and expand your network of connections with other attendees and our conference facilitators.

Day Two (all times Eastern)


Day Two Welcome
11:30 – 11:45 a.m.



The Conversation Cycle
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
You will build upon your knowledge of scripting to look more holistically at the four key phases of the conversation cycle. You’ll learn how to help navigate through unclear student requests and questions, as well as how to avoid using jargon in your interactions with students.



12:45 – 1:00 p.m.



Practice: Role Playing
1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
During this role-playing activity, you will break into groups and work together to practice and apply the scripting and conversation cycle techniques you learned in the previous sessions.



1:45 – 2:15 p.m.



Policies and Practices that Impact Service
2:15 – 3:00 p.m.
Higher education is a place where policies—both formal and informal—proliferate. This session will provide examples of formal policies you need to be aware of that have implications for the way you provide service. It will also challenge you to think about informal policies or practices that may be creating service barriers.



3:00 – 3:15 p.m.



Measuring and Assessing Your Customer Service Culture
3:15 - 4:15 p.m.
We will explore a variety of measurement and assessment tools and techniques that can be used to gauge the quality of customer service your department, unit, or campus currently provides. You’ll be given time to begin formulating and adapting some of these tools to your own context.



Day Two Close and Exam Study Guide Distribution
4:15 – 4:30 p.m.


Day Three (all times Eastern)


Optional Networking Time
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.



Day Three Welcome
11:30 – 11:45 a.m.



Delivering No and Other Bad News
11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
As much as we might like to always deliver good news to our students, sometimes the answer is just not what they want to hear. We will teach you how to properly say no and deliver bad news by managing emotions, moderating expectations, and maintaining control over the situation. You will be given time at the end to role-play in small groups and practice the techniques you learned.



1:15 – 1:30 p.m.



Assisting with Difficult Customers
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
From students to colleagues to parents and alumni, you are likely to come across a variety of stakeholders that can be challenging to assist. Our final instructional session will focus on how to manage the occasional difficult and/or potentially volatile situations you may find yourself in. We will discuss best practices for ensuring safety, escalating the situation and asking for help, and adhering to your service standards.



2:30 – 3:00 p.m.



Service Excellence Visioning and Action Planning
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
It is critical to build out a vision and an action plan to move your service excellence work forward. This interactive working session will provide space for you to identify barriers you will likely encounter, champions to get buy-in from, and next steps to take to enhance service excellence in your role. You will also work through a visioning exercise that will help you begin the conversation about strengthening service with teammates in your unit moving forward.



Conference Close: Final Q&A and Next Steps for Certification
4:00 - 4:30 p.m.
We will use our final half hour to answer any outstanding questions and provide you with more information about the online certification test. To receive your Service Excellence Certification, you must successfully complete an online exam that will help you solidify and demonstrate everything you have learned. Attendees will receive a link to the exam after the conference close and will have one week to complete the test.


portrait of Heath Boice Pardee

Heath Boice-Pardee

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Rochester Institute of Technology

Dr. Heath Boice-Pardee has worked as an administrator in higher education for twenty-five years in a variety of administrative and teaching roles. Heath is currently the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and has served as Interim Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology. Additionally, he is a Lecturer in the College of Engineering Technology at RIT and has developed a higher education administration master's concentration focusing on pedagogy, service leadership, customer service, and the student experience.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

portrait of Eileen Soisson

Eileen Soisson

Independent Consultant

Between 2011 and 2020, Eileen established and led Coastal Carolina University’s service excellence initiative, Feel the Teal®, created to enhance the university’s culture and become more service-oriented and focused on student success. She designed the service excellence program into eight training modules and oversaw all operations within the initiative.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.



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through March 16, 2021

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Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Kate Poisson

Kate Poisson
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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