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Customer service is a team activity. Everyone works together to deliver the same great customer experience and project a positive image for your company. If you work in customer services, you must feel able to ask your colleagues for help. In companies where you work in shifts, you must be able to rely on colleagues to pick up and run with a customer issue that you are already working on. It is an area in which you can often be on the receiving end of a call from an angry customer, so you need supportive people around you. Effective team-building exercises can range from ice-breakers and games in meetings to longer-term activities in which teamwork becomes part of day-to-day working.
Better relationships between people who work together come from knowing and liking each other as people. One fun exercise is "speed colleague networking." Pair up team members and give them two minutes to talk to each other about their hobbies, families, and life outside work. At the end of two minutes, move people on so that they are talking to another colleague for the next two minutes. Continue until everyone has spoken to every other member of the team.
Finish a team meeting by teaching everyone a new physical skill, such as juggling. Learning together is enjoyable, particularly if it is not in an important area where failure would be embarrassing. In fact, it is most effective if the manager turns out to be hopeless and the most junior team member is a virtuoso. Those who pick it up quickly can help those who are struggling and it really does not matter if all the balls end up on the ground. Laughter is one of the best ways to enhance team spirit.
Working together to raise money for a charity or to create something to contribute to the community is a powerful team-building activity. Make sure that team members get to choose whom they support and what they do: the choices cannot be imposed by management. However, the company can show its support by matching money raised, or allowing some activities to take place during work time.
Good managers reward individual performance, but rewarding team performance can also be a great motivator. Set your team challenges, such as a target number of issues to be resolved each month or a maximum length of time a customer can be kept on hold. Put a chart on the wall to visibly track progress and offer a team reward, such as a lunch or a night out. Everyone will work together and encourage each other to meet the challenge and win the team reward.
Lalla Scotter has been writing professionally since 1988, covering topics ranging from leadership to agriculture. Her work has appeared in publications such as the "Financial Times" and "Oxford Today." Scotter holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Bristol.