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Customer Service Skit


Title: Customer Service Skit

Exercise Type: Customer Service

Time Required: 45 minutes
Suggested Group Size
: 12-20
Suggested Age Group: Teenagers, Adults
Activity Level: Light

Materials Needed: Five copies of each of the scripts included below. Folded cards that will sit on desks visibly labled as follows: CEO, Vice President, Manager, and Front Desk.

Venue: Typical meeting room.

Purpose/Outcome: To illustrate two customer service models: 1) Top-down hierarchy, and 2) Customer-oriented model. The first illustrates a typical command and control organization, top down organization. The second illustrates a customer-centered operation.

Activity Description: Participants are to act out a familiar experience involving very poor customer service which reflects a top down, hierarchical organization. One where decisions must be made at the top level before the service provider can act upon them.

In the second skit, a progressive organization is modeled where the front line employees are provided a measure of latitude in exercising decision-making authority.

Each example offers an opportunity to contrast the differences between both types of organizations, and their impact on their employees and their customers.

Ask for five volunteers to fill the available roles in the first skit and position them as follows: 1) CEO sits at opposite end of room, presumably across the country from subject establishment. Place him/her in a desk with a CEO card visible on desk; 2) the Vice President of the Western Region sits closer but still removed from the front of the room; 3) place the hotel manager in a desk (office) next to reception area; 4) place the hotel front desk in the front of the room, center stage; 5) the customer enters from the door outside the croom.

Make sure each participant has a copy of the script. The instructor or another student can play the role of the narrator, and let the action begin.

Immediately after the first skit is completed, assign new participants to play the same positions and act out the second script.

Debrief/Facilitator Notes: This is an opportunity for participants to experience and reflect on the effects each type of management and organizational structure has on the customers' experience. Get them to explore how each of the two management approaches might impact the organizational culture, customer experience, productivity, stability, etc. Sample questions might be:

  • Has anyone had a customer service experience of either variety before?
  • Who is really being served in each situation/organization?
  • Where does the customer fit in each organization?
  • How does each management approach impact employee attitudes?
  • What options are available to you when working in a top down organization?
  • What did these skits tell you about the relationship between responsibility and authority?
  • What skills are required of the employees in each organization?
  • Where does personal mastery fit in each type of organization?

Learning Points:

  • The behavior of customer service providers can have a huge impact on the customer's experience of your organization.
  • A customer's experience, good or bad, will have a large impact on whether they return or not.
  • Your role in customer service is critical and has a lot to do with the success of any service organization.
  • How service providers "recover" from or correct service errors can have more impact, positive or negative, on a customer than a service experience that is uneventful.
  • Notice that different personalities and levels of responsibility are required by each organization. It's important to know whether you prefer to follow orders and procedures with little autonomy or whether you like to have more control and use of your own ingenuity when choosing the type of organization you want to work for.
  • It's important to know how far you can stretch the rules or policies of an organization in order to help it accomplish its mission.

Application: Observe customer service exchanges for 20 minutes at a local establishment of your choice. Discern the type of organizational structure in place, the message coming from management, the message to the customers, etc. Come to class prepared to discuss your observations.

About the Author: Steve Davis, M.A., M.S., is an Facilitator's Coach, Infoprenuer, and free-lance human, helping facilitators, organizational leaders, educators, trainers, coaches and consultants present themselves confidently, access their creativity, empower their under-performing groups, enhance their facilitation skills, and build their business online and offline. Subscribe to his free weekly ezine at www.MasterFacilitatorJournal.com or visit www.livingmastery.com to learn more about him and his offerings.

Customer Service Scripts

Top Down Organization

Client-Centered Organization

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