Free EFL/ESL Lesson Plan For Business English: Teaching Good Customer Service Skills


EFL/ESL corporate students often struggle when it comes to providing good customer service skills in English. Speaking English is already difficult for them, then, when it comes to an irate customer yelling at them, they get even more confused. This quick, free corporate English lesson plan I put together though will help your EFL/ESL students learn what to say in English to help a customer that may have a problem.

Expected Learning Outcome – EFL/ESL students will understand how to provide good customer service in English and be able to produce a quick role play on the subject.

Materials and Resources – Whiteboard markers, whiteboard, customer service skills handout

Time Frame – 90 minutes to 2 hours

Teaching Procedures

Step One

Play a short listening file dealing with customer service. There are many short MP3 files all over the internet and on text book CDs that give a typical scenario involving customer service and problems with customers. Ask students questions about the listening file to test comprehension, not only English language comprehension, but also understanding of what constitutes good customer service skills and why.

Step Two

Talk about typical problems you have had with buying products or services and tell your students how the customer service reps at the companies involved dealt with your problem. Then have each student give you an example of any problems they’ve had with things they’ve purchased, and whether the problem was dealt with to their satisfaction.

Step Three

Give students the handout “How To Deal With Customer Complaints Effectively” (see below), and go over it, answering any questions and explaining vocabulary and concepts your students might not know.

How To Deal With Customer Complaints Effectively

1, Always Listen – Don’t do something else while your customer is telling you what the problem is. Make sure you give them your attention.

2. Don’t Interrupt Them – While they’re making their complaint, don’t stop them, just let them talk. Usually, if you let someone talk, their anger dissipates and they feel better. Then you can start to help them.

3. Get All The Information You Need – Make sure you get all the information you’re going to need from your customer, so you can solve his/her problem quickly.

4. Let Them Know You’ll Fix The Problem, Then Do It – A lot of customer service representatives promise to fix things then don’t. Make sure if you tell them you can fix the problem, you fix the problem. And quickly.

5. Offer More Than They Want – If they want a free meal, offer them two free meals. If they want 10% savings on a service, give them 20% savings. Don’t forget, a happy customer comes back and he tells all his friends too!

6. Thank The Customer For Calling – Even though they called while they were angry, make sure you thank them for calling. You learn things from every customer that calls and, if one customer makes a complaint, it’s likely you or your company won’t make the same mistake again.

Step Four

Once you’ve gone over the handouts, put your students into pairs. Give one student the role of customer service rep and the other student the role of angry customer, then assign them a short customer service scenario.Give them 10 to 15 minutes to create a quick role play using the concepts you’ve just discussed in class.

Step Five

Ask each pair of students to come to the front of the class and perform their role plays. Ask the other students to critique each pair and then do a short critique yourself. Make sure you mention what they’re saying correctly as well as what things they need to improve on.

Evaluation/Assessment: 1. Understanding of the material discussed, 2. Student’s ability to participate in the discussion in class and to give examples of their own experiences with bad customer service, 3. ability to work in pairs and to perform an adequate role play following instructions given.

This free EFL/ESL lesson plan for corporate/business English will give your students a brief understanding about effective customer service skills, as well as give them practice speaking English. You can expand the lesson plan to two classes, if you like, and make the customer service problems in the next class more difficult so your students have even more