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50 Activities for Achieving Excellent Customer Service

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Part of our best-selling 50 Activities series! Comes complete with learning objectives, facilitator guidance, and reproducible materials. Training Objectives: ´ Outline the process of accepting change ´ Demonstrate the need for change ´ Reduce conflict ´ Improve communication skills. Activities cover: ´ Change in the workplace ´ Accepting change ´ Developing goals for change ´ Understanding change ´ Change and self-development. Time Guidelines: ´ 35 activities take 1 to 3 hours ´ 15 activities take 3 or more hours.

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Activity 1. Attitude Check

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Part A: Service Attitude

1. Attitude Check

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 20 minutes

This activity concentrates on reinforcing, coaching, and supporting the skills and knowledge learned in a program. It promotes camaraderie, positive behavior, and an awareness that “we are in this together” and

“you aren’t alone.”

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Demonstrate that training is an ongoing, continuous process of learning that does not end abruptly when a training session is formally over.

2. Identify the critical role each person plays in the learning process via coaching, reinforcing, and mastering, to support and encourage each other.

3. Recognize the critical role attitude plays in taking one’s knowledge and skills and making them a reality.

Method of Instruction

Hand out a piece of paper (various colors) to each participant. On the paper, each participant should write the following:

Name

Contact information

Phone number

Address

E-mail or whatever is necessary in order for someone to be able to communicate with them after the program is finished.

 

Activity 2. Whose Attitude

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Part A: Service Attitude

2. Whose Attitude

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 25 minutes

This activity is designed as a case study for the trainer to read aloud and then lead a discussion as to how their organization or a person would handle it. The story is true, and in most cases, “we’ve all been there.”

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Promote group interaction in discussing how the customer should be treated.

2. Identify poor customer service and what should have happened to promote excellent service.

Method of Instruction

Read this story aloud.

About a year ago, I went to a large department store in the evening. Although I realized it was 8:45 p.m. and the stored closed at 9:00 p.m., I really needed to buy four director chairs. The chair department had only two on the floor, so I asked a member of the sales staff if they had two more of the chairs. She told me that nothing was left on the floor to match the color and style I wanted.

When she failed to offer to check the stock room, I asked if they had any in stock. With a big sigh, she told me she would have to call down to the stock room and find out. When she did call, she found out they had two more of the kind I wanted. She then asked if I really wanted them. I replied that, of course,

 

Activity 3. Both Sides of Change

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Part A: Service Attitude

3. Both Sides of Change

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 20 minutes

This activity promotes acceptance and understanding of change. So many people view change as a negative.

This activity reminds participants that change can be positive and represent growth and survival.

Learning Objectives

Besides constantly focusing on delivering excellent customer service, there’s the constant challenge of change for us to deal with: new policies, new co-worker, upsizing, downsizing, mergers, acquisition, new boss, new responsibilities, and on and on and on.

The purpose of this activity is to promote understanding, acceptance, and the realization that change is often positive and necessary.

Participants will be able to:

1. List both positive and negative aspects of change.

2. Conclude that one can have a positive mindset when it comes to change.

Method of Instruction

Pair up the participants. Give them the following directions: a. Stand face to face with your partner. b. For 30 seconds concentrate on your partner, noting clothing, hair style, glasses, etc. c. Turn your back to each other and in the next 45 seconds change three things about your appearance.

 

Activity 4. Team Task

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Part B: Customer Service Icebreakers

4. Team Task

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 15 minutes

This is to promote immediate involvement and immersion into the learning process. Participants will demonstrate teamwork, understanding, and cooperation before they even sit down. It will reflect the importance of sharing the workload and delegating tasks to all involved in the process and will allow for a creative mix at each location within your training session.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Demonstrate the necessity to work together to accomplish a task.

2. Identify a leader and demonstrate the importance of being a cooperative follower.

3. Determine that it is easier to work together rather than “go it alone” to succeed.

4. Acknowledge that the program will be educational and enjoyable.

Method of Instruction

Select an area in the training room where participants can form a single straight line. Instruct them to line themselves up according to the years of service they have within their organization, starting with the individual with the most years of service. Identify that individual and designate where they should go to position themselves. Instruct the rest of the group to communicate among themselves and to accomplish the task now.

 

Activity 5. Promoting Communications and Teamwork

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Part B: Customer Service Icebreakers

5. Promoting Communications and Teamwork

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 20 minutes

When a group of people are brought together for training in a seminar or workshop, there are varying levels of familiarity with each other among the participants. This can be true if the people are all from one company or from a mixed group such as a combination of suppliers and customers. I have found in either case that this exercise is an excellent ice breaker to have people get to know each other, to share personal information, which everyone can relate to, and to form a bond and better understanding based on this information.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Create openness and familiarity.

2. Provide a learning environment.

Method of Instruction

1. Before the group arrives, have 8½” × 11” sheets of paper on the walls in the four corners of the room. The papers will have written on them one of the following things: Oldest child, Middle child, Youngest child,

 

Activity 6. Who Are You?

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Part B: Customer Service Icebreakers

6. Who Are You?

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 30 minutes

This activity promotes group togetherness and the realization that there is strength in both their similarities and differences.

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this activity is to get the participants working together, opening up, and sharing ideas—to create an atmosphere of functioning as a team while demonstrating individual differences.

Method of Instruction

You will need four sets of 5” × 10” cards with the following words on them:

Set 1 a. Competitive b. Compromising c. Collaborative d. Accommodating

Set 3 a. Caring b. Care Giver c. Cared For d. Cared About

Set 2 a. Talkative b. Quiet c. Outgoing d. Watcher

Set 4 a. Tired b. Confused c. Happy d. Eager

Position the cards in advance. Place all the “a” cards, “b” cards, “c” cards, and “d” cards together and face down.

Example:

Room Setup

A

B

Group Standing

C

D

Have everyone stand. Tell them that their assignment is to walk over to the sign that reflects the word that is most like them. They must select one. This is a forced-choice activity.

 

Activity 7. You’ve Got the Power

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Part B: Customer Service Icebreakers

7. You’ve Got the Power

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 15 minutes

(However, it is dependent on what you are applying it to)

A wonderful way to move discussion and interactivity along by having the participants themselves select the individual who will lead a discussion, answer the next question, and be a team leader, etc.

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this activity is to have participants themselves select from their peers who will have responsibility to do any of a variety of tasks. It helps to share the workload, spread leadership responsibilities, and get everyone involved.

Method of Instruction

This is a very simple, yet powerful activity. You will need a nerf ball or soft stuffed animal or some other soft creative item. It needs to be soft because participants will be throwing this around the room to each other and you don’t want any injuries.

Hold up the item you have selected (for the purpose of this explanation, we’ll call it a ball). Say this represents the power. Whomever is holding it has not only the ability but the responsibility to lead.

 

Activity 8. Have You Ever Called You?

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Part C: Call Centers and the Telephone

8. Have You Ever Called You?

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 30 minutes

This activity is designed as a case study for the trainer to read aloud and then lead a discussion as to how their organization or a person would handle it. The stories are true, and in most cases, “we’ve all been there.”

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Promote group interaction in discussing how the customer should be treated.

2. Identify poor customer service and what should have happened to promote excellent service.

Method of Instruction

Read this story aloud.

A letter to (blank) Department Store:

I placed a call to your 800 number and tried for 25 minutes to get someone to take my order for two quilts. Never could I get any person to speak to me. I heard your telephone menu at least five times while

I tried unsuccessfully to press the button of my given choice. Over and over again the automated teller said, “press or say number such and such and a representative will assist you” along with “if address change is wanted, if refund is wanted, stolen card, billing copy, etc.” Pressing buttons got me nothing.

 

Activity 9. The Power of Repetition

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Part C: Call Centers and the Telephone

9. The Power of Repetition

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 30 minutes

This activity is about doing the right things over and over again when it comes to delivering excellent customer service.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Justify the repetition of action that reflects professionalism in customer service.

2. Identify particular behaviors and the benefits involved in their repetition.

Method of Instruction

Say,

“Most individuals relate repetition with boredom, monotony, and possibly even a lack of creativity.

But, repetition can be a powerful tool in delivering excellent customer service; and when it produces the desired results, it certainly shows its worth.”

Then place participants in teams of four to five individuals and select a team leader for each group.

(Activity 1) Ask participants to brainstorm and create a list of specific areas or actions taken within their customer service arena where repetition properly used (repetition of the right professional behavior) would be a powerful, positive, supportive force in building a customer-responsive relationship.

 

Activity 10. Calling Your Own Company

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Part C: Call Centers and the Telephone

10. Calling Your Own Company

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 30 minutes

This activity involves individuals making an actual call to their company, preferably their own work station to leave a specific message. It is a great way to listen and evaluate one’s own voice and the message.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Evaluate their own telephone techniques.

2. Identify areas of strengths.

3. Identify areas needing improvements and specific actions to take to do so.

Method of Instruction

Components: Discussion, Call to Workplace, Evaluation and Action Plan

Discussion:

Whenever you use the telephone, you are the voice of your company. You represent everything your company stands for; and in the mind of the customer, you are the company. When your voice is warm and friendly and when you are courteous and tactful, customers will enjoy dealing with you. A customerresponsive relationship can take years to develop, and it can be destroyed in seconds, totally dependent on your contact, your treatment, your interaction and professionalism or lack thereof with the customer.

 

Activity 11. Evaluating Self

PDF

Part C: Call Centers and the Telephone

11. Evaluating Self

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 15–30 minutes

Periodically it can be very beneficial to stop and take a look at where you are, what you are doing, and how you are using your telephone skills. This is a focus on self regarding one’s telephone techniques.

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this activity is to raise to a higher level of awareness as to our performance level as customer service representatives with our telephone techniques.

Method of Instruction

Handout 11.1: Self-Evaluation—Telephone Techniques

You may wish to occasionally take a moment and think about (evaluate) your own use of that vital link between you and your customer—the telephone.

Let’s review these together as a group; and then, please do this periodically on your own.

Item #1:

Do I answer calls correctly? Do I identify my company, myself, and the customer?

You should have a pat response that you give to your customers. It tells the customer you are ready to take care of their needs. It lets them know they have called the right place and exactly who they are speaking with. You’re ready for business to commence.

 

Activity 12. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

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Part D: Professionalism with No Excuses

12. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 20 minutes

This activity promotes group discussion to tap the creative professionalism of each individual. It awakens the realization that there should not be any excuses given for not providing excellent service.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Conclude that there should not be any excuses for not delivering excellent customer service.

2. Determine that creativity is a critical tool to be used in responding professionally to customers.

3. Evaluate actual situations in which excuses have been given and determine what should have happened.

Method of Instruction

Handout 12.1: Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Place participants in teams of four to six individuals. Select a team leader. Distribute Handout 12.1. Explain that they are to share and list three to five common excuses they have either heard other customer service representatives give or they themselves have used for offering indifferent or poor customer service.

 

Activity 13. Make It a Miracle

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Part D: Professionalism with No Excuses

13. Make It a Miracle

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 15 minutes

This activity involves a slight-of-hand demonstration to show how the customer’s perception of reality is what really counts.

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate the power of perception and the image we place in the mind of the customer regarding our organization and our services.

Method of Instruction

Overhead 13.1: Make it a Miracle

You will need:

One blank flip chart

One two-ply tissue

One volunteer (preferably someone who is a little shorter than you are and good natured)

Show the overhead.

Tell participants,

“I love that word MIRACLE—Make It Really A Colossal Learning Experience. And, I’d like to compare, if I may, what you do to watching a play.

“You know that when you go to watch and enjoy a play, you are the customer. You have certain expectations. You expect the actors to know their lines, be properly attired in their costumes, move about the stage properly, and give a professional performance. You expect to see a miracle.

 

Activity 14. Overcoming Obstacles

PDF

Part D: Professionalism with No Excuses

14. Overcoming Obstacles

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 40 minutes

This activity focuses on our inherent responsibilities as professionals to accept challenges, overcome those hurdles the customer places before us, and achieve success by providing services and fulfilling needs.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Recognize that problems and challenges must be faced and overcome in order to achieve success with our customers.

2. Determine specific actions one must be prepared for to provide solutions and fulfill needs.

Method of Instruction

Share the story The Greatest Hurdler with the group (Handout 14.1).

Place participants into groups and select team leaders. With your team, discuss the following items and be prepared to share your results (8 minutes).

• What items can you identify that represent obstacles to excellent customer service, internally and externally?

• For each item listed, come up with at least one action that would correct or eliminate the problem.

 

Activity 15. The Rules Have Changed Game

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Part D: Professionalism with No Excuses

15. The Rules Have Changed Game

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 45 minutes

True professionals understand the rules of the game they are playing and how results will be impacted when those rules change. This is a powerful activity that illustrates that perhaps things are not as simple as they seem to be, and that in order to get results, we need to be flexible to the needs of our customers.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Understand the need to be flexible to our customers’ needs.

2. Determine that inflexibility often produces poor results.

3. Differentiate between reacting and responding to our customers’ needs.

Method of Instruction

Items needed:

Your customer (represented by a plastic bottle)

Your customer’s needs (ping-pong ball)

Table

Strip of masking tape placed on floor, 10 feet from the table

Flip chart

Cassette with marching music

Write the rules below on the flip chart in advance.

Rules:

1. Stand on the strip of tape (on the floor).

 

Activity 16. Defining Spectacular Service: How We Impact Our Customers Everyday

PDF

Part D: Professionalism with No Excuses

16. Defining Spectacular Service:

How We Impact

Our Customers Everyday

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 45 minutes

We have a lot of ideas about what goes into spectacular service. Since we all frequently have the opportunity to be customers, we usually think we know good service (and poor service) when we see it. That really is only one perspective, however. The people in the best position to talk about all the qualities of spectacular service are those who not only receive service, but those who provide it every day as well. They really are in the best position to describe what it means to give good service. Participants fall into that category because they are actively providing service every day. This activity gives participants an opportunity to develop a shared definition of what makes up spectacular service.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Define what is meant by spectacular service.

2. Identify some key characteristics and components of spectacular service.

 

Activity 17. Active vs. Passive Communication

PDF

Part E: Communication—Listening to Your Customers

17. Active vs. Passive Communication

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 45 minutes

This activity demonstrates the difference between active (two-way) communication and passive (one-way) communication. It allows the participants to arrive at their own conclusions regarding the use and application of both forms of communication.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

1. Identify the components of passive (one-way) communication.

2. Identify the components of active (two-way) communication.

3. Determine the value of both passive and active communication and when it is best to utilize each one.

Method of Instruction

Select three individuals for this activity and have them wait outside the room where they cannot hear the introductory comments of the activity, but not until instructed to do so. Explain what is going to happen to the entire group.

Say,

“We are going to demonstrate the difference between passive (one-way) communication and active

 

Activity 18. Say What You Mean—Mean What You Say!

PDF

Part E: Communication—Listening to Your Customers

18. Say What You Mean—

Mean What You Say!

Activity Description

Time Guideline: 15 minutes

This is a fun activity to demonstrate the importance of being very clear in our communications to our customer. Is our customer understanding us in the manner we believe?

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate clarity of understanding. Not only do we need to understand what our customer is saying to us; but, in turn, our customer needs to understand us.

Method of Instruction

You will need a sportscoat or jacket.

Have the group form a circle around you. You should have your sportscoat or jacket on at this time. Ask for a volunteer or select someone to participate in the activity with you. Have the volunteer stay right where he or she is within the circle. Explain to the entire group that not only is it important for us to understand our customer, but it is absolutely critical that our customer understand us.

Focus on your participant and say:

 

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