Customer Service Games for Better Training, Happier Staff and Customers

By: on April 15, 2016

Customer service itself is no game—businesses lose billions because they don’t provide the same quality of service as competitors. Despite the importance of this matter, however, customer service can actually be improved by using games to more effectively train customer service representatives (CSRs).

Here, we look at three customer service games that can be used to train CSRs to result in a more capable team, more satisfied customers and better customer retention.

1. The Key of Knowledge
2. The Customer Is Always…
3. The Multichannel Obstacle Course

1. The Key of Knowledge

Confucius said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

Or, paraphrased and put into the context of customer service, he said, “Agents must know their customer service platform’s knowledge management functions intimately, lest they seem ignorant to customers.”

Here’s how you set up this Confucian-inspired game:

Game type: Timed competition
Training goal: Improve agents’ efficiency when using internal knowledge bases.
Challenge: Increase speed while maintaining accuracy.
Preparation: Prepare 10 mock email service requests with challenging questions.
1. Begin with all contestants seated at their terminals and logged in to their accounts.
2. To start the game, the instructor reveals 10 precreated service requests.
3. Each service request is designed to force agents to use the company’s internal knowledge base to find the answer. No easy questions allowed!
4. Agents compete to resolve all the tickets the fastest, but are disqualified if any include factual errors.


Tip: If you’re having trouble coming up with challenging questions, get creative. You can make humorous or nonsensical questions and plant the answers (temporarily) in the company’s knowledge base. The point of this game is to help agents better use their company’s knowledge management software, so the content of the questions isn’t as important.


A knowledge management interface in Cosential, a cloud-based customer relationship management and service platform

2. The Customer Is Always…

Right, right? Sure—at least in principle. However, customer service agents must learn how to tell customers when they’re not right, since this does happen. The point of this game is to push agents beyond their comfort zone to see how well they respond to a customer who is clearly wrong.


Game type: Role playing
Training goal: Improve agents’ abilities to speak comfortably and naturally by making them think beyond the script.
Challenge: Maintain a pleasant and professional tone while offering creative explanations to a repeatedly wrong customer.
Preparation: Design a scenario in which a customer’s service request creates a chain of confusion, misunderstanding and frustration.
1. Write down several different problematic customer service scenarios (one per index card).
2. On separate set of cards, write down an equal number of problematic customer types (angers quickly, interrupts often, etc.)
3. Choose an agent to go first. A second agent acts as the customer. They randomly select cards from their respective stacks and use the information to act out their roles.
4. The remaining agents are the judges. They score each other on how well they resolve the customer’s problem, how well they maintain control of the conversation and their success in saving the customer’s experience.


Tip: Remember, confusion comes in many forms. Be sure to challenge agents with a variety of different types. Possibilities include: confusion resulting from mishearing, conceptual misunderstandings, confusion arising from the customer’s own ignorance, confusion about a product, confusion caused by rumors or reviews on social media.

3. The Multichannel Obstacle Course

Depending on which customer service platform your organization uses, handling service requests seamlessly across multiple channels might feel like a walk in the park, or it might feel like a walk in the Death Valley of customer experience. (If the latter scenario sounds familiar, see our tip below!)

Whichever route your agents are used to, they can benefit from extra training on multichannel customer support.


Game type: (Virtual) obstacle course
Training goal: Improve the efficiency and accuracy of agents in multichannel contexts.
Challenge: Correctly link tickets that are related but arrive through different channels.
Preparation: Create a set of support requests from a (hypothetical) customer who uses a different contact channel for every request.
1. Begin with all agents seated at their terminals and logged in to their accounts.
2. To start the game, the instructor distributes a group of preconfigured service requests.
3. While the agents are handling the first round of requests, a second wave of requests is sent out.
4. Each second-wave request corresponds to a ticket created in the first wave, but arrives via a different channel (e.g., the first by phone and the second by email).
5. Finally, a third round of follow-ups is released, again, each arrives via a new channel. The winner is the first agent to correctly connect all three tickets in the system.


Multichannel and ticket transfer tool in the Freshdesk customer service platform


Tip: Many modern customer service platforms can automatically group related support requests, even those that arrive through different channels or have incomplete information. Many also have limitations, quirks and extra steps that agents must learn to handle with fluency. This game should be tweaked to address whatever specific limitations or quirks your platform presents.

Next Steps

As we’ve seen, customer service isn’t a game, but games (such as the ones above) can be an effective tool for improving it. However, exercises and games can be used for more than just training purposes—some customer service platforms incorporate elements of gaming into the workflow. This is called “gamification.”

Customer service platforms with gamification, such as Freshdesk, can inspire friendly competition between agents.

For detailed comparisons and reviews of popular customer service platforms, including some with gamification, just follow this link.

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