Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MSD 161
Course Title:
Customer Relations
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

This 10-hour workshop discusses the principles of effective customer relations. Topics include identifying and responding to customer needs, dealing with difficult customers, developing a positive customer climate, building effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

  • Discuss the paradigm shifts in customer service over the last decade.
  • Identify who the customers are and how to build a positive customer climate.
  • Define customer service and explain the importance of responding to customer needs.
  • Identify steps for dealing with difficult customers.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Analyze a situation and apply the most effective technique for addressing it.
  • Describe techniques for effectively listening, selecting appropriate questions and anticipating customer needs.
  • List the steps for identifying potential problems, then select questions to ask to solve or resolve the problem.
  • Apply learned skills through an outside project.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Explain the importance of and how to create an effective customer service climate.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the rationale for treating the difficult customer as a potential returning customer.
  • Describe effective listening, asking appropriate questions, and how to anticipate customer needs.
  • Identify clues the customer gives that indicate potential problems, then develop a plan to get to the root of those problems.
  • Describe techniques for building the business relationship

General Concepts
Customer relationships need constant evaluation and nurturing. Retaining the most challenging customers is important for business development. 

Creating a positive climate will enhance customer retention and loyalty. It is possible and appropriate to turn unhappy customers into lifelong customers.

Skills can be learned for turning customer service problems into business opportunities.  A challenge is to anticipating problems rather than reacting to them.