There are many ways to bond with your customer support team that don't have to involve listing a fun fact.

Team-building activities may get a bad reputation, but they're actually a great way to get to know your coworkers on a more personal level. In addition, they give you the opportunity to strengthen your team's collaboration and communication skills which will naturally improve your work ethic and customer conversations.

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The best part is that team-building activities don't need to be reserved for expensive, three-day office retreats. Rather, you can incorporate them into normal workdays without breaking the clock or the bank.

Here are some of our best team-building activities for customer support teams that don't ever require you to leave the comfort of your four walls.

1. Rose, Thorn, Bud

Materials: None

This is a great, low-energy activity that requires nothing but your team's presence. Rose, Thorn, Bud is meant to be a check-in activity that allows everyone in the group to spread their positive energy and dismiss their negative energy.

In this activity, you will have all members sit in a circle. One-by-one, team members list a "rose" -- a positive work experience that happened to them that week -- a "thorn" -- a negative work experience that happened to them that week -- and a "bud" -- a work experience to which they're looking forward next.

The point of this activity is to help your team grow closer and respect that everyone has good days and bad days. Additionally, this exercise reminds customer support reps to be empathetic towards customers. Rather than being personally offended by rude comments, your reps can learn to treat them as that customer's "thorn" of the day.

2. Me Too!

Materials: A ball of yarn

Me Too! is another fun game that helps your team bond and get to know each other. This game will also get everyone up on their feet and moving.

This game is played by having everyone circle up with one person holding the ball of yarn. This person will start listing fun facts about themself, such as "I'm from Chicago," or "I like to snowboard." When someone in the group hears something to which they can relate, they must say, "me too." Whoever the yarn-holder sees first gets handed the ball of yarn. However, the first person must continue to hold onto the end of the string and simply pass on the ball. This game continues until everyone has been passed the ball of yarn and is holding onto a part of the string.

The point of this game is to show your team that everyone is connected. It might sound cheesy, but each member of your customer support team is an integral asset in helping your company run. Every customer support rep should be there to support their coworkers, just as much as they're there to support their customers.

3. Writing Letters from Customer Perspectives

Materials: Paper and writing utensils

This is an easy activity you can assign to your team to do on their own time. However, it's important that your team meet to discuss the final letters.

In this activity, you will have each rep consider a positive customer interaction they had that week. Keeping that interaction in mind, the rep should craft a thank you letter from the perspective of the customer. Make sure they keep it realistic -- while customers are usually thoughtful in thank you letters, they probably won't go overboard with the compliments.

When everyone has completed their letters, have them read them aloud for the group to hear. At the end, hold an open discussion on some things people noticed in the letters and some ways that the letters could have been improved.

The point of this activity is to help your customer support reps put themselves in their customers' shoes. By analyzing what factors of a customer support interaction might be considered satisfactory to a customer, your reps can remind themselves to include those factors in every single support session.

4. Telephone

Materials: None

Telephone is a popular game that usually ends in hysterical laughs. And while it typically functions as a game for small parties, it doubles as a great team-building activity.

This game is played by having players sit in a circle. One person is elected to think of a message that they'd like to pass on, such as "The customer is always right." They then whisper that message into the ear of the person to their left. The message is repeated around and around the circle, and it's okay if it sounds a little muffled as the point is for it to get lost in translation. When it finally reaches the final person, that person must say aloud what they believe the message to be -- which is typically far off from the original message.

The point of this game is to teach your team the importance of clear communication. You never want your customers to feel like the last person in a game of Telephone -- confused. Your team should learn that it's essential to repeat messages several times to ensure a customer understands what's being said and to use language that is easily comprehensible to an amateur on the subject.

5. Difficult Customer Scenarios

Materials: None

This is a great activity to get your team thinking. While this game will definitely produce some good laughs, it will also teach a good lesson on dealing with difficult customers.

In this activity, you will split up your reps into partners. It's preferable to select partners that don't know each other too well so that this activity gives them a chance to connect. Then, have each pairing select one person as the customer and one as the customer support rep. Assign each pairing a ridiculously difficult customer scenario to act out. For example, a scenario may include a customer who complains that their product arrived too early.

Give the pairings about ten minutes to prepare a loose script based off their scenario. Allow the reps playing the customers to be as ridiculous as they want, but to a reasonable point. After the time is up, have each pairing act out their scene for the whole team.

The point of this activity is to prepare your support reps for the most absurd of customer interactions. There will be times when customers complain about things that seem ridiculous, but it's important that a rep remains cool and collected. By talking out these scenes, your reps will get practice and know how to respond to a similar situation when it inevitably comes up.

6. Heads Up!

Materials: Note cards, pens or markers

Head's Up! is a game app that has reached high popularity. While the actual game allows playing with a variety of themes -- from movies to animals -- this version will focus on customer support.

Before beginning this game, you should take some time to craft the Heads Up-style game cards. Use customer support phrases, such as "responding to an email" and "transferring a call." Then, when its game time, have reps step up one-by-one to choose a card. When a card has been selected, the person should not read what is written. Simply, they should hold the card over their head facing the others. It is then the team's job to act out the phrase and get the player to guess what is written. This game can be played until all players have had a turn guessing.

The point of this game is to get your team to feel comfortable around each other. By dancing around making silly movements, your team will naturally loosen up and share some laughs. In addition, your reps will get some practice knowing what these actions should look like in the real world when dealing with customers.

(Here's the game in the App Store if you'd prefer to play the original with your team, too.)

7. Yes, and …

Materials: None

Yes, and … is an improvisational game that exemplifies a positive mentality that professionals should always try to adopt -- especially those working in customer service.

This game is played by inviting two people up at a time to perform. You can start the game by giving them an opening statement, such as "A customer calls to speak with a support rep." Then, one of the players continues with a "Yes, and…" statement, where they add on an additional sentence to the story. The second player continues, and the players keep going back and forth until the time is up (typically one minute or so).

The point of this game is to teach your support reps the importance of active listening. It can be easy when a customer is speaking to quickly say, "I understand, but … " but this sets you up for failure. The game focuses on an idea of listening carefully to what someone is saying and then adding a new thought onto that existing idea. While this is important when speaking with customers, this is equally as important when communicating with coworkers so as to never belittle someone's thoughts or ideas.

8. Human Knot

Materials: None

The human knot is a classic team-building activity that gets your team close -- in more ways than one.

This game is played by having your support reps stand in a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder. Instruct each person to reach out with their left hand and grab the left hand of another person in the circle who is not directly beside them. Then, have them to do the same with their right hands. What should result is a "human knot" of intertwined arms and hands. The group must find a way to untangle the knot without ever letting go of someone's hand.

The point of this game is to learn how to effectively problem-solve with a team. The only materials your reps will have during this activity to help them find a solution is their voices. This will encourage them to listen to each other, collaborate, use trial and error, and work as efficiently as possible to find a quick solution, which are necessary steps when trying to do the same for a customer.

While most of these games and activities will elicit some laughs from your team, they will all also teach valuable lessons about working closely with coworkers and handling a range of customer problems. You won't need to purchase many materials or even leave the office, but you'll still maximize the fun.

To learn more, read our list of Employee Appreciation Day ideas next.

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Originally published Sep 20, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated September 20 2018