In an effort to improve customer support, John, Customer Service Manager for Mythco Technologies, sets up a team role-playing session. Acting as the leader/trainer, John brings together a group of software developers and customer support representatives.He divides the 12 people into two groups: Group A represents the customer support representatives; Group B represents the customer.John tells Group A that the customer in this situation is one of Mythco’s longest-standing customers. This customer accounts for nearly 15 percent of the company’s overall annual revenue. In short, the company cannot afford to lose her business!John tells Group B that the customer has recently received a software product that did not live up to expectations.
While the customer has a long-standing relationship with Mythco, this time she’s growing weary because Mythco has previously sold her faulty software on two separate occasions. Clearly, her relationship with Mythco is in jeopardy.John now allows the groups to brainstorm for a few minutes.Next – with this particular approach to role-play – each group sends forth an “actor” to take part in the role-play. The actor receives support and coaching from members of the team throughout the role-playing process.
Each team is able to take time-outs and regroup quickly as needed.John runs through the scenario several times, starting with the “customer” behaving gently and ending with the customer behaving aggressively. Each time, a best solution is found. Of course, John can always ask for additional role-playing and suggestions if he feels that the process needs to continue, or that the team has yet to uncover the very best solutions.Once it’s clear that they cannot identify any more solutions, John brings the two groups together and discusses the session. During this, they discuss the strategies and the solutions that the actors implemented, and how they could apply them to a real-life situation.
John also asks each team to write a short summary of what they learned from the exercise. He then combines the summaries and provides a copy of everything learned to all participants.