To become a customer service professional or train your support team, you may want to look into these customer service certifications.
90% of customers agree that customer service plays an important role in deciding whether they do business with a company, according to a Microsoft survey. Research from Salesforce, meanwhile, shows that 78% of customers will forgive companies for mistakes — if they receive excellent customer service.
Insights like these highlight the immense role that customer service representatives and managers play within a business — they resolve issues quickly, drive purchases with pre-sales conversations, and create a wonderful customer experience.
But how do customer service professionals go about acquiring these skills? While there are a number of approaches to training, customer service courses and certification programs are great options to consider.
Whether you're a junior support agent trying to land a promotion or a team lead looking for the best certifications for your crew, this guide is for your. On top of suggesting many courses and certifications, we’ll also cover best practices when vetting and choosing certifications.
The 20 best customer service certifications by category
Customer service certification courses can be broken down into seven main types:
- Basic customer service agent certification: The most broad-ranging type of certification courses, these courses focus on the fundamentals and provide training on the hard and soft skills that reps need to navigate various customer interactions.
- Customer service leadership certification: Meant for customer service managers, directors, and other team leaders, these courses are designed to improve strategic and managerial skills.
- Helpdesk certification: These courses are intended to provide reps with training on how to utilize helpdesk software effectively.
- Call center certification: These courses teach reps the fundamentals of phone-based customer support and the skills required for real-time conversations with customers.
- Customer service business management certification: These courses provide support leaders with the business knowledge to align customer service initiatives with the business's overall goals, such as budgeting and data management.
- Customer experience certification: These courses are designed to help reps form a better understanding of customer needs across the entire customer experience and provide top-notch support across all their customer touchpoints.
- Client service certification: These courses are geared towards any customer-facing employee (not just customer service reps) and are designed to teach the skills necessary for positive customer interactions.
While there are in-person customer service programs available locally, we’ll spend th. Most of the courses are self-paced, meaning you can make progress between shifts rather than waiting for an instructor. Of course, if you prefer on-site instructions, you can look into local options.
Now that we've got the definitions down, we’ll explore each one in more detail and recommend some of the top customer service certifications available in each category.
1) Getting certified as a customer service agent
Basic customer service agent certification courses are the most common type of courses for support reps to attend and are designed to provide a basic yet thorough understanding of the various skills required for excellent customer service. This includes hard skills — such as learning how to use various support tools or software, data entry and analysis, and customer management — as well as soft skills like communication skills, problem-solving, and collaboration.
This is a great place to start if you don’t have any frontline customer service experience, you want to demonstrate your skill set for an employer, or you’re a newer rep looking for a structured learning experience.
Explore the available courses for this certification below.
Gorgias Academy Basic Agent Training
Agents who take the Gorgias Academy Basic Agent Training course will learn how to answer support tickets on the Gorgias platform for Shopify stores and get an introduction to automation. The course takes about 40 minutes to complete.
Service Strategies Customer Service Representative Training
The Customer Service Representative Training by Service Strategies provides agents with an introduction to the customer support principles that will help them provide great service and experiences to customers. This course is best for people who have been recently hired as new support agents or students looking to earn a support certification.
Motlow State Customer Service Certificate
The Customer Service Certificate from Motlow State is great for students looking to learn about support roles in different industries like retail or healthcare.
Alison Customer Service Skills
Agents who take the Customer Service Skills course from Alison will learn foundational customer service skills, like how to handle complaints, manage their stress level, and create better customer experiences.
2) Getting certified as a customer service leader or manager
Most of the time, customer service managers benefit from support certification courses by using those courses to train their team and boost performance. However, there are also courses designed specifically for managers and leaders themselves.
Topics commonly covered in these courses include things such as communication skills from a leader’s perspective, how to motivate and inspire others, how to delegate and direct, and other key skills that a manager needs to hone.
By improving your own skills and knowledge as a support manager, you can improve your team's performance from the top down. You can also use these courses to acquire the skills and certifications you need to advance your own career.
Explore the available courses for this certification below.
Gorgias Academy Lead Agent Training
Gorgias Academy Admin Training
Service Strategies Advanced Service Leadership Training Course
Service Leadership Training Course by Service Strategies teaches agents how to become a customer service leader in a four day intensive. Attendees will learn things like how to set a strategy for a customer service team and how to lead a successful CS team.
Get a head start on leveling up your team: Read the 15 ecommerce customer service best practices every customer service leader should know.
3) Getting certified for a specific helpdesk
According to HubSpot, over 85% of customer service teams that utilize helpdesk software say that it makes them more productive. Before we tell you why helpdesk software is so beneficial that it's worth taking an entire course on it, we should first define what a helpdesk actually is.
A helpdesk is a platform that allows customer service teams to manage and respond to customers, whether through incoming messages or support tickets, all in a single, user-friendly dashboard.
At a time when more and more companies are offering omnichannel support — enabling customers to contact them via phone, live chat, social media, email, and so on — it’s more beneficial than ever to organize and prioritize the flow of requests with helpdesk software.
There may be a bit of a learning curve depending on the helpdesk and how it integrates with your team’s other business tools. By attending a helpdesk certification course, support reps are able to learn the ins and outs of this valuable software so that they can leverage it to its maximum potential.
Available courses for this certification
- Gorgias Academy Admin Power User
- HDI Customer Service Representative (HDI-CSR)
- Check whether your helpdesk software offers a training course or certification
4) Getting certified to enhance call center skills
A call center is an organizational structure for customer support that’s widely used. In a call center, your team takes calls from customers who have questions or concerns and works to address those issues over the phone. In fact, it’s where many customer service representatives begin their careers. Working at a call center requires great communication skills, technical abilities, and customer service skills.
These certification courses will help you learn how to improve your customer competency, get through more calls, and help your customers get a better experience with your brand while making you a better customer service specialist.
Available online courses for this certification
- EdApp Call Center Customer Service
- The Call Center School Navigating a Customer Call
- Bonfire Training Customer Service Essentials
5) Get certified in customer service business management
Customer service business management courses are typically for managers and teach fundamentals like budgeting, data analysis, and strategic decision-making. courses.) By sharpening these skills and gaining that deeper context, managers can guide their team toward broader business goals more effectively, including revenue generation.
Note: This type of course isn’t focused on goals like clearing tickets, helping customers, advancing leadership careers, or upskilling teams. That’s the aim of a customer service leadership certification.
Available courses for this certification
- Durham Tech Business Administration Management Certificate
- CSU Global Undergraduate Certificate in Business Administration
6) Get certified to provide better customer experiences
When reps have a deep understanding of the customer journey and the needs, desires, and pain points of the customers they’re serving, the quality of their service and outcomes is bound to go up. A customer experience certification teaches reps how to go beyond simple ticket handling to improving customer experience across all touchpoints — not just when they reach out with a problem or question.
This type of course usually provides training on building and supporting a positive in-product experience, creating a full-fledged help center, designing a smooth and informative buying process, and delivering a thorough customer onboarding program. With that in mind, it can be helpful for support team members at all experience levels.
Available courses for this certification
- Udemy Customer Experience Certification Workshop
- LinkedIn Customer Experience Leadership
- Business Training Works Customer Service Refresher Training
7) Get certified in client services
A client service certification course covers the fundamentals of customer care and how to use customer support skills in everyday roles and tasks. Client service certification courses aren’t just for customer service reps. They can be taken by anyone who wants to improve their ability to communicate with customers.
Sales reps, customer support reps, customer success reps, product team members, and other customer-facing employees who want to learn the soft skills required to effectively interact with customers (and, when appropriate, upsell them) can benefit from it.
Available courses for this certification
- Customer Service Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Customer Experience Professional
- CCPC Global Certified Client Service Specialist (CCSS) Program
- CCPC Global Certified Client Service Professional (CCSP) Program
The benefits of earning customer service certifications
Assuming that you choose a high-quality online course (something we can definitely help with), earning professional certifications as a customer service rep can boost your career and performance.
These training programs offer substantial benefits to customer service managers as well, enabling them to lead and support their team on a higher level and unlock customer service excellence.
Here are some of the top benefits of customer service certification courses for both reps and team managers:
Opens up career advancement opportunities
Simply put, a certified customer service rep is often going to be more attractive to employers than someone who’s not certified. They’re likely better equipped to navigate customer expectations, pick up service industry tools, handle difficult customers, and improve customer relations with certifications.
Earning certification from an accredited program can help a rep distinguish themselves in the eyes of their employer, making it easier to secure new positions and promotions. Similarly, customer service managers can improve their career prospects by completing programs geared toward leadership and skill development.
Helps hiring managers choose the right hire
Hiring customer service reps can be a difficult process since it can be challenging to gauge and verify a rep's skills and knowledge from a job interview alone. Customer service certifications make it easier for managers to make the right hire by serving as proof of the knowledge and training that a candidate has earned.
Adds to your company’s support training
Providing the training and instruction reps need to ensure customer satisfaction is a time-consuming part of a customer service manager's job. The good news is that online customer support training programs can deliver high-quality lessons, practice, insights, and tests — without requiring direct involvement from a manager.
This frees up time in a support manager's schedule and allows them to focus on improving their own skills, exploring new service strategies (like proactive customer service and customer self-service), and initiatives for boosting team performance.
Improves individual and team performance
Speaking of boosting team performance, let's wrap up with the most obvious benefit of customer service certifications: improving support skills. From communication skills to problem-solving, the top customer service courses teach reps a wide range of skills that they can use to execute their daily tasks better.
Of course, improving the performance of your customer service team can drive serious results, from improving conversion rate with new customers to promoting greater customer loyalty and retention. When it comes to the business-boosting benefits of great customer support, the possibilities are endless.
Where customer service certifications fall short
All of the high-quality customer service certifications that we've covered so far can offer a lot of value to customer service reps and team leaders. However, these online certifications are not the end all, be all solution. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re weighing courses/certifications as a learning tool:
Online certifications aren’t a replacement for training
Regardless of the certifications that a support leader or rep has earned, thorough onboarding, continuous education, and ongoing training is still a must-have.
Training courses are wonderful for their convenience and relative affordability, but they can't quite match tailored, one-on-one training. If you’re a support manager, it’s still your job to give each rep the hands-on coaching they need to perform at their highest possible level. And if you’re a customer service rep, it's your job to ask for or take advantage of skill development opportunities.
Team members will still need tailored training for their specific role. For example, product knowledge is one piece of customer service training that no online course can provide. Even helpdesk certification courses will be limited in value unless they cover the specific helpdesk your team uses.
Online support certifications require extra investment from team members
Online certification programs in particular can require a large degree of self-motivation. Support managers counting on these programs to upskill their team may find that some team members struggle to stay engaged. Similarly, job candidates or agents looking to advance their careers need to plan for the time investment and have tactics to stay accountable and get the course done.
Some certifications are better than others
There isn’t one single organization vetting and accrediting every customer service certification program, and some aren’t reviewed by anyone but the course creator(s). When every course isn’t held to the same standard or worth your time or money, you’ll want to do some due diligence before hitting “Sign up.” We’ll give you some tips in the section below.
None of this is meant to discourage you from online customer service certification programs. Used well, these programs can offer valuable skill- and confidence-building, which in turns leads to better customer service. However, understanding the pitfalls is the first step to using these programs properly and within the scope of what they’re built to do.
How to make sure your certification is worth your time
To improve the odds that the certification you or your reps receive is comprehensive, accurate, and will actually hold weight with future employers, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1) Look for accredited programs
Some online customer service certification programs have earned accreditations from recognized bodies like higher education institutions or professional associations.
As an example, the Customer Service Institute of America (CSIA) is an arm of the International Council of Customer Service Organizations (ICCSO), which promotes excellent CS practices through standards, awards, and development programs. The institution and the program itself must meet a rigorous set of standards, which helps you rest assured it’s a quality training opportunity.
Once certified through one of their programs, you can include their logo on your LinkedIn or resume to make your application (or request for a promotion) stand out:
2) Check out reviews from students and graduates
If a customer service certification program is well-known and respectable enough to be worth considering then you should have no problem finding online reviews from reps who have already completed the program. These reviews serve as an unbiased source of feedback that you can use to gauge a program's quality and value.
For example, the Customer Experience Certification Workshop on Udemy includes ratings and reviews, the number of students who have taken it, and even companies who have offered the course to their employees before.
4.1 is a pretty solid score, especially considering the course has over 2,000 reviews.
3) Research the organization or individual offering the program
The reputation of a certification program is deeply tied to the reputation of whoever is offering it. A potential employer is going to value a certification much more if they recognize and respect the individual, school, company, or organization that offers it, even if they are not familiar with the program itself. With this in mind, research the “who” behind the certification course.
Even if they’re not accredited by a major certification body, they may be an organization that’s known for excellent customer service or a thought leader in the industry.
More ways to level up your skills or your team now
Whether you’re an agent looking to develop your skills and boost your career prospects or a manager looking for ways to train your team, online customer service certification programs can offer plenty of value. As long as these programs are used within their proper role and chosen carefully, they can be a convenient way to learn a range of customer service skills.
Gorgias users can check out the Gorgias Academy for high-quality courses and certifications that help you become a certified helpdesk expert and practice beginner and advanced skills along the way.
For more ways to learn and upskill today, explore these 20 practical customer support tips.