According to HubSpot, growing companies are nearly twice as likely as stagnating companies to prioritize customer service training as “very important.” To retain your customers and keep them happy so you can grow, you need to prioritize your employees by implementing effective customer service training ideas so they’re equipped to be as helpful as possible.
But how can you do this in a way that is both engaging and enjoyable for your reps?
Fun and games, of course!
“Games? But my reps should be working –“
We get it: On the surface, customer service training games and activities may seem frivolous. However, they can teach service concepts in a way that actually keeps reps engaged and interested in their training. Additionally, getting your reps to learn through experience can help improve crucial customer service soft skills like teamwork, empathy, patience, and communication.
Let’s take a look at a few customer service training ideas you can use to build a strong foundation of knowledge and sense of collaboration among your reps!
Customer Service Training Games and Activities
Customer Role Play
This is an improvisational activity in which your team is divided between groups A and B, then paired off. Group A plays upset customers and Group B plays the service representatives. Group A is handed a certain complaint, or can think of one themselves (it just has to be fun and ridiculous!). They are also provided a central goal – for example, get a free month of service, a full refund, etc. The players in Group B must resolve the situation with minimal damage.
The pairs will perform their role play for the rest of the team. Encourage them to be creative and to have fun, but remind them that all good improvisation is about building on what your partner says – not trying to “out funny” them. After the role play is over, allow the broader team to give the players feedback – what could they have done differently? What did they do well? What stood out about the performance?
At the end of this game, each player will get important takeaways: Group A will have practiced empathy and communication by putting themselves in their customer’s shoes, and Group B applied patience to achieve a resolution. (Read on in Forbes to discover why Improv is great business training!)
Customer Service Jeopardy
Here at Unboxed, to train our new employees on our security best practices, we developed a Jeopardy-style game that provides fun, focused, and continuous engagement with the subject-matter.
A game like Jeopardy can be modified to fit any subject matter – including customer service! Consider creating questions about your best practices, mission statement, difficult customer situations, or the most useful skills of a service representative.
In gamifying the training, employees can better retain the information you want to teach them and bypass any potential boredom that sometimes accompanies standard training programs. Jeopardy games can be easily created within Microsoft PowerPoint or through an online service like Jeopardy Labs.
Say ‘No’ to No
There’s only one rule to this game: You can’t say ‘no.’ (This includes all ‘no’-oriented words and phrases like “I don’t know.”) According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator – that’s why it’s vital to practice ways to improve the experience for your customers. That includes finding ways to say no… without actually saying no.
There are times in which ‘no’ is the correct answer, but your reps should be encouraged to reframe the conversation and give it a positive spin. Saying ‘no’ will stop the conversation and potentially upset the customer even more than they already are (and if there’s anything we learned from our improv game, we should find ways to constructively build on what others say – not deny their request).
The goal of this customer service training activity is to help your reps come up with different ways to say “no”. Here’s how to play:
- Start by pairing off team members and have them take turns playing the customer and the service reps. Customers will make requests that reps can’t say ‘no’ to — but instead, have to figure out a response that steers the conversation toward a solution.
- Allow team members to converse for up to five minutes, then have them switch roles.
- Once the timer is up, bring the team back together and discuss their answers. After everyone has shared, eliminate those answers that, even without directly saying ‘no’, may still have a negative impact on the customer. Those with the most effective answers win!
(This game has been adapted from Hubspot.)
Start Implementing Fun, Engaging Customer Service Training Ideas
Gamified, engaging training has become vital to the modern workplace. Use these customer service training ideas in your own programs, or explore our custom-built customer service training programs. We use short bursts of on-demand content, like game-based reinforcement, so your reps spend less time training and more time helping customers.