Looking to bring your customer service team together and teach valuable lessons at the same time? Here are some fun, low-budget ideas to help train your employees to provide excellent customer service. Mix and match to build a key component of a customized training program for your employees.
1. Customer thank you letters
To help keep your customers top of mind, ask your team members to share their recent interactions. Name the customer, share their story, and discuss their purchase or support experience. What were the highlights of the conversation, and what were the lessons to be learned?
Next, have your employee put themselves in the customer’s shoes and write a mock thank you note to the company after the experience. The key is to go beyond just the call, email, or in-person exchange and to imagine how the customer’s day was affected. An easy, intuitive, and friendly service experience leads to a more positive mood and a stronger appreciation for your business.
Share the thank you letters with fellow team members. You might learn something new about your strengths while boosting morale. At the same time, you’ll be able to identify the main things a customer’s looking for when interacting with your business representatives. Notice any trends, discuss best practices, and take away actionable insights that you can include in your upcoming customer conversations.
2. Broken telephone
You’ve probably played this game many times, but it can teach some great lessons about direct lines of communication.
It’s simple, line up as many people as you can and whisper a top-secret message to the person at the front so that no one else can hear it. Then, watch as each participant interprets the phrase and repeats it by whispering to the next person in line. Once everyone has taken a turn and you’ve reached the other end of the line, you’ll probably hear lots of laughing because the end result will be totally different from what you passed on!
The takeaway from this exercise: It’s easier than you think to cause miscommunications between customers and team members, especially as more players get involved. Do you have a system in place for handing off information clearly and efficiently? If you see some room for improvement, brainstorm ways to tighten your internal communications strategy. You might find ways to take your business to the next level.
3. What’s your name?
For this activity, split the team in half and have the two groups face each other in lines. Give everyone a few minutes to talk to everyone on the opposite side and answer the same three trivia questions. Start with “What’s your name?” and then get creative with the remaining two: What was your first pet’s name? Where’s the furthest place you’ve travelled? What’s your favorite food?
After everyone has had a chance to chat, have each participant fill out a piece of paper where they recall the three answers they received from everyone they talked to.
This activity might prove difficult at first, especially if the participants aren’t expecting to be quizzed on their knowledge. The main purpose, though, is to highlight the importance of listening closely, staying on topic, and remembering key details about the customer. Even when you’re juggling lots of different leads, it’s crucial to keep track of the things your customers share and to remember them when they come up again.
4. Questions only
All you’ll need for this exercise is a timer. Challenge pairs of teammates to engage in a minute-long conversation that’s made up of only questions, starting with one that a customer has asked before. Going back and forth can be a bit ridiculous and challenging, but the idea is to actively remember the questions asked by customers, identify the good ones, and notice important patterns. This exercise might remind your team of the conversations that involve gathering information. To avoid overwhelming the customer, it can help to practice varying your tone, pitch, and timing.
5. What does customer service mean?
Grab some index cards and write down some words or phrases that come to mind when you think of customer service, like delight, positive, value, relationship, and experience. Then, split up your team into groups of two or three. Assign each group an index card and have them come up with a definition of top-notch customer service based off of that word or phrase. Then, ask one person from each group to share their definition with everyone. Is there a common thread? Discuss similarities and differences, and then come up with one overall mission statement as a team.
This exercise can help the team discover not only all the different things customer service can mean, but the common ground that brings various definitions together.
6. Two truths and a lie
This activity is a fun way to learn something new about everyone, especially as you bring on team members. With your group sitting in a circle, every participant states three things about themselves: two truths and one lie. Go around the circle and have the rest of the team guess which statement is the lie. Then, the lie is revealed.
The more outrageous, the better! Not only will the guessing game be more interesting, but you’ll get to know your co-workers more personally and form stronger relationships.
Though old-fashioned, charades can provide a lot of value to your teambuilding exercises. It’s simple: give each participant a word or phrase related to your industry, company, or service. Their job is to act out the term without making any sounds. The rest of the team guesses what it could be.
After everyone’s had a chance to participate, it can be interesting to compare the experience to the ones you have while talking to customers. When there’s a piece of crucial information missing, what can we do to notice it, request it, and ensure that we’re communicating clearly?
Employee training doesn’t have to be a bore. By creating a personalized, fun program, you’ll foster a sense of shared purpose and strengthen relationships between your customer service team members.
For more recommendations and tips, visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog and search for “Employee Management”.