Icebreakers are great at focusing peoples' attention into the room.
In your customer service training it can provide a good and fun focus away from dealing with customers problems and issues.
Getting people to relax
Helping people to see that everyone participating in the training is different, but that they all have things in common
Assessing how well they all know each other ( useful in internal courses ) and what the team spirit is like ( useful in any meeting ).
As long or as short as you want to make it, it's dependent on the number of people in the meeting, but for a meeting of 8 people it will usually take 15 - 20 minutes.
On the flipchart draw a central circle, then draw circles connecting into that central circle, one for each participant in the training session.
Hand out slips of paper or the ever handy post-it note to every person in the room. Ask them to introduce themselves by telling everyone three (the number is up to you depending on the time you have available ) things about themselves.
Now the good bit, give them a time limit to come up with as many things as possible that they all have in common. You may want to ban some things, if it is an internal training session, you wont want them to come up with just "we all work for.....",
Alternatively you may want to reinforce the message that they are all part of the same team, and so you can start the ball rolling with that.
Another twist is to see if they come up with that themselves, if they don't you can ask them what that says about teamwork within the company or department.
Top Tip If you do this regularly, it's worth investing in some hula hoops which you can lay on the floor, and get people to stand in their own.
They then get to fill the central circle with post it notes with all that they have in common.
It's an interesting exercise to run, and people tend to be really creative with this.