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How to Create an Effective Customer Service Training Manual [Customer Service Training Manual Template]

Nick PerryAuthor

Incredible dining and service experiences are what continue bringing customers back through the door. Accordingly, Toast’s research found that 49% of restaurants pointed to staff training as the most important area for improvement to focus on. So, what can restaurateurs do to ensure that employees have the best training possible?

A comprehensive customer service training manual can tell staff all they need to know. This document allows management to compile all important information in one place. It then works as a reference document that staff can return to again and again. When combined with extensive training, the manual becomes an integral part of any staff training program.

In this article, you will see:

  • what a great customer service training manual should include,

  • how to create and structure your manual, and 

  • an example manual to model your own on.

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Training Manual Template

Use this restaurant training manual template, a customizable Word Doc, to provide your staff with the rules, guidelines, and clarity they need to do their jobs efficiently.

Toast

The Importance of a Customer Service Training Manual

Author and management professor Michael LeBoeuf explains that “Every company’s greatest assets are its customers because, without customers, there is no company.” This is why service is so important. A great customer service experience can create a lasting, positive perception of your business. However, one bad service experience can also damage that perception forever.

Customer service can be considered any direct interaction between customers and your front-of-house staff, which normally includes hosts, servers, bartenders, cashiers, managers, and even bussers and cleaning staff. Their services can include greeting, seating, taking orders, serving food and drink, handling bills, and addressing customer concerns. It’s fundamental for all of your staff to know what their service duties are and how to deliver them politely, respectfully, efficiently, and to the satisfaction of your customers. 

This is why a detailed, comprehensive customer service training manual is an essential tool managers use for teaching staff the best way to interact with clientele. Providing excellent service is a keystone in building a customer experience that makes people want to come back again and recommend your restaurant to others. Well-trained staff provide better service, helping to retain more customers, feel more confident in their roles, have less turnover, and make more tips. In short, better training is better for everyone.

How to Create a Customer Service Training Manual

Define Your Objectives

Consider the specific skills, knowledge, and behaviors you want your team to acquire from the training. They will get out of it what you put in. Clearly defining your objectives sets the direction and scope for your training manual

Structure Your Training Manual

Begin by creating an outline that organizes the content into logical sections and subtopics. A typical structure may include an introduction to customer service, communication skills, product knowledge, problem-solving, handling difficult customers, and continuous improvement. Organize the information in a way that is easy to follow and look up for future reference.

Write Engaging and Clear Content

Strive for clarity, conciseness, and engagement – use plain language to ensure that the information is accessible to all trainees. When dealing with more complex concepts, break them down into smaller, digestible units and provide practical examples and case studies to illustrate key points.

Include Interactive Elements

Interactive elements help make the training process more engaging and help staff retain what they learn better. You can work in elements that may include quizzes, role-playing scenarios, group activities, discussion questions, links to videos and other online content, and more. 

Improve and Update Periodically

A customer service training manual is not a static document; it should evolve with your organization's needs. You should regularly review and update the manual to reflect changing customer expectations, industry trends, and company policies. Encourage feedback from your team to gain valuable first-hand input and help them feel greater ownership of and responsibility for the training of their coworkers.

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Customer Service Training Manual Example 

If you need a place to get started, check out this example customer service training manual. 


Anderson & Baker Creamery’s Customer Service Training Manual

Teaching you the ABC’s of our great customer service tradition

Section 1: Customer Service Fundamentals

A. Introduction to customer service and its importance

While Anderson and Baker Creamery produces high-quality, delicious frozen treats, we also keep our customers satisfied with superior service. ABC can also stand for “All Because of our Customers.” That’s why we’re still in business after over 70 years. A delectable ice cream cone served with a smile on a hot day should be a happy experience to remember for customers, young and old alike, and it’s your job to maintain the magic.

B. Understanding customer expectations and satisfaction

Our customers keep coming back to ABC because our service is friendly, fun, and generous. That’s why we let them taste samples before choosing their flavor and why we’ll replace a dropped scoop before a child’s eyes even begin to well up with tears.

Our clients expect the experience to be fun and family-friendly, but they also want to get in and out of the shop efficiently so they can continue on their day. Staff need to be attentive to the customer’s needs at all times, so they walk away, savoring the experience as much as the flavor.

C. Building strong customer relationships and brand loyalty

The famous “ABC #12 Free” loyalty program is one of the main things they love about us. The others are great ice cream, of course, and friendly staff who make them feel at home in all our locations. It’s a big part of your job to continue that happy tradition.

Section 2: Communication Skills

A. Active listening and effective questioning techniques

It’s crucially important that customers get the flavors, servings, and counts that they want. Sometimes, people mutter or call a product by a non-standard name (for example, confusing a sugar cone and a waffle cone). 

Scoopers need to listen attentively and confirm all choices by repeating the order back and pointing to the correct products before they serve. If you didn’t hear what they said, say, “I’m sorry, could you repeat that for me?”

Cashiers should ask, “How’s that ice cream?” before they ring up to make sure people have got what they want.

B. Verbal and written communication best practices

ABC can also stand for “Always Be Communicating”. Customers need to hear what you say, so speak in a loud but friendly voice. You may need to repeat yourself for the hard of hearing. Remember “SPEC”:

  • Speak clearly

  • Point

  • Eye contact

  • Confirm

C. Demonstrating empathy and understanding customer emotions

“Always Be Conscientious” is another great ABC to live by. We need our customers to walk away happy from every experience with us. We put all our products and prices out on display, but we don’t try to upsell. Our delicious offerings sell themselves, and always confirm kids’ orders with their parents so nobody feels pushed into buying something they don’t want.

Section 3: Problem-Solving Techniques

A. Identifying customer issues and needs

The ABC here is to Always Believe the Customer. No matter how well you think you’ve served them, if the customer has a problem, that’s a problem that needs to be solved. If a customer tells you they’re unhappy, then they are, and it’s our job to find a solution.

B. Analyzing problems and finding effective solutions

ABC finds solutions that are fair and satisfy our customers. When problems arise, like a bad taste or a miscalculated bill, it’s important that we make it right. Tell the customer, “We’re going to take care of this issue for you.” Then, take action and let them know what you’re doing to make things right.

C. Dealing with challenging situations and resolving conflicts

In service, some situations are challenging, but in the ice cream business, we have to keep our cool. If you’re struggling to resolve an issue, remember we’re all right behind you. You can ask your manager to help at any time rather than getting flustered. But always be clear in letting the customer know you’re working to solve the issue.

Customer Service Training Manuals are a Must

To make onboarding new staff easier and teach trainees your service standards easily, you need to create a customer service training manual. This document should be comprehensive, informative, and an effective supplement to your training program. A manual helps your staff learn more easily and gives them a reference they can come back to any time, and that will help ensure your quality of service for years to come.

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Employee Handbook Template

Outline your restaurant’s staff policies in this customizable Word doc to help restaurant management and staff get on the same page.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.