Question: I’m having a hard time convincing my customer service representatives (CSRs) that they need to practice as a group. What can I do to help?

Tom Merriott
Tom Merriott

Answer: When you get better at practicing, you’ll be better in the game. It’s essential for CSRs to get better at what they do as professionals. They can use role play as a weapon against making the same mistakes over and over. Here are five role playing basics:

1. Even though CSRs talk to customers all day, they may still be scared of role playing in front of peers. However, unlike customers, peers are there to help each other get it right.

2. Set a specific improvement goal to work on, whether that is the initial customer greeting or even how you prepare to take calls for the day (materials, software open on your screens, etc.).

3. Use real-life examples, especially for challenging calls, then come up with a unified way to handle difficult situations.

4. Try to mimic a CSR’s real-life setting — have the role playing CSR at a work area, and the “customer” in a conference room with the other people training and listening in to critique.

5. Have fun. Bring in scenario cards where participants make up the customers’ story, and give out awards.

Tom Merriott is a call-center excellence coach at Nexstar. To learn more, visit If you have a question you’d like answered, email

Publication date: 11/25/2013 

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