Agent Experience

3 Role-Playing Scenarios to Help Service Agents Manage Tough Customers

Training makes all the difference in delivering stellar customer service. Here are three role-playing exercises that can get your agents through tough customer scenarios.

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Investing in training for your customer service team is essential. Strong training helps anchor your team’s abilities and expectations to the needs of your company and customers. One part of standard customer service training is role-playing. But how do you move beyond static and unhelpful role-playing encounters into ones that can really build the skills needed to foster change? Here are three ideas to take your customer service training to the next level.

Diffusing the angry customer: It’s every customer service agent’s nightmare. He or she answers a call, and an angry customer is on the end of the line. Maybe he or she has been transferred a dozen times already, or the expensive product he or she ordered arrived broken or didn’t arrive at all. What’s the rep supposed to do? During this role-play, it’s helpful to focus on how to de-escalate tension, how to stay respectful when the tone of a call gets difficult, and how to pull on all available tools to resolve the most challenging customer calls.

Making a strong first impression: Use customer service role-play exercises to break down individual parts of the support call process. One area that’s important is the greeting. How does the agent greet and engage the customer? Focus on personalization standards. Is his or her energy positive and engaging? Does he or she take the time to build a rapport while also moving the conversation toward a reasonable resolution? From opening a call to wrapping up—and every step in between—role-play exercises can help managers hone in on feedback and provide custom coaching to get agents to refine their techniques.

Using technology to deal with unknowns: As businesses grow, it’s almost impossible to train customer service reps for every concern or question they’ll face. As a result, companies are relying on technology to backfill knowledge gaps. From helping find product information to navigating payment issues on the website, customer service agents need to know how to work your knowledge base and customer information system under pressure. Develop scripts that test their ability to do this, and teach them how to efficiently find the information they need while navigating the customer experience.

Don’t leave customer service to chance. Take the lead on training, and focus on developing role-playing-based service experiences to let your team practice. It’ll build their confidence and ensure that when they’re faced with the real thing, the team is able to perform flawlessly under pressure.