Customer service training tips roleplays can really add learning, energy and fun to your sessions, here's how.
Just about everyone dreads roleplay.
They worry about making a fool of themselves, of getting it wrong, of being judged.
As a trainer, remember people learn by doing. Good well run roleplays can help people make sense of the theory. Exploring, repeating and discussing the roleplay can build skill and confidence.
Set the role play up well.
Even if you call roleplays practice opportunities people will still feel it's a roleplay, and worry about being judged. So, make sure you time the first one well. People should have settled down, and have found their feet in the group before you introduce a role play exercise. But if you are using equipment, or people are expecting a role play then, leaving it too long can mean that the thought hangs over some of your participants and distracts them.
Work to ensure people trust and feel safe with you.
Bear in mind that people may have had terrible experiences with other trainers on other courses.
Explain that we learn by doing, not by listening to someone else.
Did famous football or soccer players learn to take amazing dead ball free kicks from listening to someone talk? No they put in the practice. They work with a coach to get feedback, and then they practice, and practice some more.
Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who had been to lots of lectures, or one who had put in the practice?
Humiliating or embarrassing people will not help them learn, and may alienate the whole group.
Explain thoroughly what is going to happen.
Turning your instructions into a listening exercise can really help, because participants focus on listening rather than the exercise.
The more people understand what is going to happen, in what order, with whom, the more they will be able to concentrate on putting their skills into practice.
Start gently, especially if you are using telephone coaching equipment, audio or video recording equipment during the session.
Get people used to the equipment, how everything works with an easy scenario.
Build the difficulty levels through the session.
While people may be nervous about being recorded, listening back to their approach to a situation is really beneficial in helping them develop the skills they need to help customers.
Make the roleplay as realistic as it can be. This will focus people on their learning, and you will have to deal with fewer "this isn't very real" objections.
Give very clear instructions about the feedback session afterwards.
People tend to go straight to what they did wrong.
Get them to see what they did right so that they get their performance into balance and perspective.
Make sure the people giving feedback know how to do it well.
It is always useful when there has been a practice session that the person playing the part of the employee speaks first about how they felt the interaction with the customer went. If they know they got something wrong, get them to acknowledge it before other people, so that they do not feel overly criticized and close down for the rest of the training session