Return to Homepage

ACS 100 — Foundations of Customer Service

Course Type: Traditional Designation Course
Topics: Customer Service
Designations: ACS, LCIC, PFLP, PFSL
Language: Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish


ACS 100 provides a comprehensive introduction to customer service in a financial services environment. The course explores the knowledge and skills employees need to understand and deliver exceptional customer service.


  • Introduction to Customer Service
  • Exceptional Customer Service
  • The Customer-Centric Organization
  • Organization and Teamwork in Customer Service
  • Customer Service Processes and Measurement
  • Better Customer Service Through Technology
  • The People Who Drive Customer Service: Selection and Training
  • The People Who Drive Customer Service: Evaluation and Motivation
  • Understanding Customer Expectations and Perceptions
  • Customer Service and Communication
  • Effective Communication
  • Listening to and Understanding Customers
  • Interacting with Customers
  • Succeeding in Customer Service

Chapter 1: Introduction to Customer Service

Who is the Customer?

Individual Customers and Organizational Customers

External Customers and Internal Customers

Intermediaries and Business Partners

What is Customer Service?

Value-Added Customer Service

Moment of Truth

Customer Service in the Financial Services Industry

Who Provides Customer Service?

Direct Customer Service Providers

Indirect Customer Service Providers

Chapter 2: Exceptional Customer Service

Characteristics of Exceptional Customer Service

Organizational Components

Individual Service Providers

Why Provide Exceptional Customer Service?

Customer Retention and Loyalty

Benefits of Exceptional Customer Service

Challenges of Customer Service

Challenge No. 1: The Customer Service Experience

Challenge No. 2: The Nature of Financial Products

Challenge No. 3: The Changing Financial Services Landscape

Challenge No. 4: Present Cost of Service vs. Possibility of Future Profit

Challenge No. 5: Knowing Who the Customer Is

Chapter 3: The Customer-Centric Organization

Customer Service and Corporate Culture

Types of Corporate Culture

Factors That Affect Corporate Culture

Changing to a Customer-Centric Culture

Customer Service Strategic Planning

Developing a Corporate Strategic Plan

Developing and Implementing a Customer Service Strategic Plan

Customer Access Strategy

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Service: An Enterprise-Wide Function

How Customer Service Affects and Supports Other Activities

How Other Activities Affect and Support Customer Service

Chapter 4: Organization and Teamwork in Customer Service

Organizational Structure

Tall Organizational Structure

Flat Organizational Structure

Types of Management Systems

Organization and Operation of Work Groups

Traditional Teams

Semiautonomous Teams

Self-Directed Teams

What Work Groups Do

Functional Work Teams and How They Are Organized

Customer Service Work Teams

Quality Circles, Problem-Solving Teams, and Cross-Functional Teams

Special Organizational Arrangements

Outsourcing Customer Service Functions

Virtual Work Teams

Making Work Teams Work

Team Mission Statement

Team Compact, Roles and Responsibilities, and Code of Conduct

Stages of Team Development

Effective Customer Service Team Leaders

Effective Customer Service Team Members

Chapter 5: Customer Service Processes and Measurement

Customer Service Processes

Receiving and Routing Requests

Fulfilling Requests

Handling Complaints

Documenting and Sharing Information

Compliance and Liability Issues

Successful Customer Service Processes

Process Management

Who Is Involved in Process Managment?

Resource Analysis

Workflow Analysis

Performance Measurement

Attributes of Effective Performance Measurement

Qualitative and Quantitative Performance Measurement

Communicating and Using Performance Measurement Results

Internal Standards, Industry Standards, and Universal Standards

Performance Measurement Techniques

Chapter 6: Better Customer Service Through Technology

Using Technology to Manage Customer Service


Routing Customer Communications

Monitoring and Measuring

Usinge Technology to Share Customer Service Information

Computer Networks

Knowledge Managment Systems


Document Management Systems and Automated Workflow Systems

Using Technology to Deliver Customer Service

Telephone-Related Technology

Internet-Based Technology

Challenges of Techology

Privacy and Security

Impact on Service Providers

Need for Information Technology Support

The Rapid Pace of Change

Chapter 7: The People Who Drive Customer Service: Selection and Training

Qualifications of Customer Service Professionals

Selecting Customer Service Professionals

Preemployment Screening Tests

Personal Interviews

Background Checks

Customer Service Training, Education, and Career Development

Types of Training Programs

Training Methods


Career Development

Chapter 8: The People Who Drive Customer Service: Evaluation and Motivation

Customer Service Evaluations

Performance Evaluation Methods

Guidelines for Performance Evaluations


Motivating Customer Service Professionals

Financial Rewards

Nonfinancial Rewards

Chapter 9: Understanding Customer Expectations and Perceptions

Customer Expectations

Customer Perceptions





Tangible Factors

The Service Gap: When Expectations and Perceptions Differ

Customer Service Research

Qualitative Research

Quantitative Research

Chapter 10: Customer Service and Communication

The Communication Process

Elements of the Communication Process

What Can Go Wrong in the Communication Process?

Verbal Communication

Setting a Positive Tone

Achieving Clarity

Nonverbal Communication

Problems Associated with Nonverbal Communication





Body Language

Cross-Cultural Communication

Chapter 11: Effective Communication

Face-to-Face Communication


Professional Appeareance

Business Etiquette

Telephone Communication


Staying Focused

Making a Positive Impression

Handling Inbound Telephone Calls

Making Outbound Telephone Calls

Other Telephone Activities

Written Communication




Choosing a Format for Written Communication

Chapter 12: Listening to and Understanding Customers

What Causes Misunderstandings?

Selective Perception

Fundamental Attribution Error



Improving Your Active Listening Skills

Focus on the Speaker

Be a Listener, Not a Speaker

Avoid Interrupting without a Good Reason

Don’t Take Negative Comments Personally

Listen to the Whole Message

Listen Critically

Techniques to Improve Understanding



Chapter 13: Interacting with Customers

Customer Behavior

Transactional Analysis

General Patterns of Behavior

Responding to Customers




Working with Upset Customers

Recognize the Customer’s Feelings

Empathize and Apologize

Determine the Facts

Find an Appropriate Solution

Managing Conflict

Interacting with Difficult Customers

General Guidelines for Interacting with Customers

Chapter 14: Succeeding in Customer Service

Planning for Success

Managing Your Time

Time-Management Styles

Using a Priority List

Understanding and Coping with Stress

What Is Stress?

Coping with Stress

Taking the Initiative



Course Format

Course Portals include the following elements:

  • PDFs of the assigned course materials that can be printed or read online
  • The same interactive Practice Questions and Sample Exams currently found in LOMA Test Preparation Guides (TPGs)
  • Recommended study plans to help learners set goals and manage their study schedule
  • A variety of additional media-oriented features designed to enhance the study and review process

Exam Format

The ACS 100 exam has 60 questions and a time limit of 2 hours. The exam is available in I*STAR, Prometric and Paper Exam formats.

Enrolling for Exams and Bundled Courses

LOMA requires proctored examinations for many of its professional designation courses. Exams are administered in LOMA member organizations and in independent testing locations. This section provides information about exam formats, enrollment procedures for both exams and bundled courses, and exam fees.

LOMA exams vary in length from two–three hours. Consult your Test Preparation Guide (TPG) or see the Designation Study Materials Roadmap for specific information about the length of your exam. As new or revised LOMA courses are released, the number of examination questions for some course examinations may change. If you enroll for a bundled course delivered through a LOMA Course Portal, the assigned study materials are included in your enrollment and are accessible via the Course Portal. Your enrollment process will depend on the type of examination you choose to take:

LOMA offers two options for exam enrollment:

  • Online enrollment via LOMANET, our Internet-based education administration system
  • Enrollment forms for paper exams, for use by independent students only, can be found here.

I*STAR and Paper Exam Center Directories for testing at third-party locations


Students who fail exams must pay full dates to retake the exams, in most cases. However, bundled courses (those courses that include exam fees and study materials) have a reduced rate to retake the exam. See LOMA’s Education & Training Catalog for fees.

Study Materials

Foundations of Customer Service (LOMA, 2015)
ISBN 978-1-57974-448-9

Test Preparation Guide for ACS 100 (LOMA, 2015)
ISBN 978-1-57974-449-4

Optional printed textbook (not included in bundled fee).

Foundations of Customer Service, Third Edition (LOMA, 2015)
ISBN 978-1-57974-448-9
PBD Order # 100-10-15

About Bundled Study Materials

Some courses ("bundled courses") include study materials with your enrollment. A growing list of English-language courses include access to bundled study materials.

For some of these courses, once you enroll, you gain access to the study materials through your My Learning page in LOMANET. These include the Course Portal courses and the Need 2 Know courses.

How to Enroll

Enrolling in Course Portal Courses

Enrolling for courses delivered through Course Portals is easy.

  1. Login to LOMANET. (If you're not already registered in LOMANET, find out about the system and get started here.)
  2. Select the course and your exam type (I*STAR, Prometric, or paper) and desired exam period.
  3. Complete any additional steps concerning payment, etc.
  4. Once your enrollment is completed, click on “My Learning” in the selection menu. “My Learning” displays the course for which you’ve enrolled if your course provides access to online resources and study materials.
  5. Click on the course title, which launches your Course Portal in a new window.

You will have access to the Course Portal through the exam period selected during the enrollment process. If you do not sit for your exam by the end of the exam period, you will need to purchase a fee transfer to change your exam period to a future period. If you are taking your exam at a Prometric Center, please see the Prometric Exams section of the Help Center for full instructions on selecting an exam date and the process for purchasing fee transfers.

Course Comparison Chart

Trying to decide between the traditional-access and highly interactive online versions of the ACS courses?

    Customer Service Events