Frequently Asked Questions

The Customer Service Instuitute of America

Certification to the International Customer Service Standard:

What are some ways my organization would benefit by going through the certification process?

Organizations who take part in the ICSS assessment process can benefit in a variety of ways:

  • Facilitates the process of various departments coming together to discuss and communicate about the current customer experience vs. desired customer experience. This vital interaction is key to providing a road map to the organization of where it would like to go and the role each department plays to assist in reaching the destination
  • Assists in identifying gaps in current processes and/or process inefficiencies
  • The final report from CSIA assessors will clearly outline areas where your organization is strong and should maintain momentum, as well as, opportunity areas and which of those will provide the most "bang for your buck"
  • Earning certification to the International Customer Service Standard, a globally recognized standard, is excellent for external marketing, as well as internal morale and motivation

How much work will be required by my team to prepare for an on-site assessment?

One individual who has substantial knowledge of the business is required to assist a CSIA Sr. Licensed Assessor in creating and effective on-site assessment agenda; no formal pre-assessment is required.

Typically on-site assessments / audits are expensive. How much will this cost?

We realize that cost is often a huge factor in an organization's ability to move forward with a project like this. At CSIA, we do everything we can do ensure that we are able provide a thorough assessment of your organization in the most cost effective and efficient manner possible. A custom, formal proposal is completed and submitted for your review after a preliminary call with our Executive Director, Christine Churchill. Each cost is specifically outlined so that you understand how the costs are broken down and how long the process will take. We are willing to work with you to ensure we meet your needs and your budget.

How can the people at my organization benefit from this process?

Individuals can benefit in a variety of ways:

  • Improved communication and collaboration between departments
  • Assurance that the organization values them and what they do, ensuring team members become more engaged while at work
  • A more thorough understanding of the organization and its goals and where they fit in that equation

Certified Customer Service Manager course (CCSM):

What benefits will I / my team experience by completing the CCSM course?

Completing the Certified Customer Service Manager course is invaluable. The topic of each module is relevant to any individual leading a team, regardless if it is customer service or another area. These training modules are filled with information as well as relevant examples for implementation at the workplace. The takeaways from this course are imperative for running an exceptional team.

Activities within each of the training modules are workplace based and allow team members an easy way to organize, begin and complete projects; many of which have most likely been in the project pipeline for sometime.

How long does it typically take to complete the course?

  • Level 1: 6 - 8 months (estimate 2.5 hours a week of study time)
  • Advanced: 5-7 months (estimating 2 hours a week of study time)
  • Level 1 and Advanced (completed simultaneously): 8-12 months (estimate 3 hours a week of study time)

Are there any classroom requirements?

There is NO required classroom time in order to successfully complete the training course and become certified (for either Level 1 or Advanced). Please note that organizations that send through 5 or more people, in the combined Level 1 and Advanced, are eligible for a 2 day workshop run by one of our Senior Facilitators. (Cost for trainer is included in the cost for the course, however, travel expenses are not typically included)

How do I keep up my certification year after year?

Individuals who have completed either Level 1 or Level 1 and Advanced of certification will be able to keep their certification current simply by writing one short book review on a business book of their choice and one article on a current topic in customer service or business annually.

Do I need to complete Level 1 certification in order to complete the Advanced level?

Yes, Level 1 certification must be completed prior to, or while working through, the Advanced level certification.

International Service Excellence Awards:

How do I enter my organization, or team member, for an International Service Excellence Award?

To enter your organization or an individual for consideration of an International Service Excellence Award (ISEA), simply download the nomination / application on our website (click the awards link), complete, and submit to Please note, there is no cost to submit a nomination or application. You may email or call us with any questions on 630.448.7939.

How much does it cost to enter?

There is no cost to submit a nomination / application for the awards.

What happens if we are chosen as a finalist?

If your organization is chosen as a finalist in any of the categories, an on-site visit or web conference would be required to move forward with the Awards process. At that time, we would estimate the amount of time that would be required (typically between 3 hours and 1 full day depending on the category / industry) and would put together an estimate of the costs involved to complete the judging process. Please note, you are able to decline proceeding with the awards process after you receive the estimate.

Individual finalists will be interviewed by an Awards Judge over the phone for approximately 30 minutes.

Is there a formal awards presentation or dinner for award winners?

There is not a formal awards presentation or awards dinner. We found that our previous award winners preferred to celebrate with the team members that helped them earn the award.