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. Additionally, they give you the opportunity to strengthen your team's collaboration and communication skills which will naturally improve your work ethic and customer conversations.
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.
Quick & Easy Team-Building Activities
Rose, Thorn, Bud
Writing Letters from Customer Perspectives
Difficult Customer Scenarios
Yes, and ...
Game of Possibilities
Two Truths and a Lie
Keep the Balloons Up
1. Rose, Thorn, Bud
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.
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
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 …
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
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.
9. Scavenger Hunt
Materials: Pen and Paper
You don't need to be Indiana Jones to go on an exciting adventure. Instead, you can get employees up and active by setting up a scavenger hunt within your office or workspace.
During a scavenger hunt, employees are broken up into teams. Each team is given a list of items that can be found within the perimeters of the game. A timer is then set and teams set out to find all of the items on the list. When the timer runs out, the team with the most items wins.
This activity can take some time to put together, but it will yield hours of fun for your team. To save you some setup time, be creative when selecting items for the list. Have participants use their cell phones to take pictures of items that can't move or create a priority item that's extra hard to find but gives the team more points if found.
The point of this game is to teach creative thinking and collaboration. Some items may be hard to find or the list may be very long, so the team needs to work together to gameplan a strategy. This teaches employees the value of working together towards a common goal.
10. Game of Possibilities
Materials: Random Objects
If you're looking to push employees out of their comfort zone, the game of possibilities is a great way to inspire creative thinking.
During this game, the host selects a random item. Each person must find a new use for that object and demonstrate it to the rest of the group. The presenter can't speak and has to teach the item's new purpose to the team. On the opposite end, the audience must try to guess what the presenter is doing with the object.
The point of this game is to teach employees how to think on their feet. They have to be creative and analyze an object in a way they've never done before. It also teaches them the value of body language. Since the presenter can't speak, they need to use physical motions to demonstrate their actions.
11. Two Truths and Lie
For many new employees, breaking the ice can be difficult. You want to build relationships and share personal experiences, but it can be hard to find the right opportunities to have those conversations. Two truths and lie gives employees the chance to talk about their personal lives with the rest of the team.
In this game, participants sit together in a group. One person stands up and makes three separate statements. Two of them are facts and the last one is a lie. The audience then has to guess which one is the lie.
The point of this game is to build relationships between teammates. When working a busy schedule, it can be hard to find time to talk about our personal lives. But, having those conversations fosters stronger bonds between employees, leading to greater productivity and workspace satisfaction.
12. Coin Logo
Materials: Coins or Random Objects
Every employee has a unique skill to offer to your business; however, they may not have the chance to showcase it regularly. That's why it's important to come up with team-building activities that aren't solely built around verbal communication.
The coin logo game is a great way to engage introverted employees. Each person is given a collection of coins or random small objects -- pens, paper clips, etc. Then, everyone is challenged to create a personal logo using the materials in front of them. Afterward, employees can share what they created and what it says about them.
The point of this game is to promote self-awareness to other people on your team. By talking about your design and why you made it, you're sharing important details about your life and your decision-making process. This builds connections with the rest of your team and makes it easier for employees to work with one another.
13. Keep the Balloon Up
If you wanna shake things up on a slow Friday, gather your team into a large open space like your office lobby or the parking lot. Break employees up into groups and have each one come up with a cool team name -- that's important.
Once the teams are set, assign each one a color and give them matching balloons. You'll need about three times as many balloons as people on the team. If your balloon supply is limited, split employees up into smaller teams and play multiple rounds.
The game itself is very simple. Don't let any balloons touch the ground. If one does touch the ground, your team is out. The team that keeps the balloons up the longest wins.
The point of this game is to relieve stress through light-hearted competition. Sometimes employees just need to let loose and blow off steam. Running around and having some laughs is a great way to keep things casual and fun.
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.