John divides the 12 colleagues into two role-playing groups: Group 1 represents the customer support representatives; Group 2 represents the customer.
John tells Group 1 that the customer in this situation is one of Mythco's longest-standing customers and this customer accounts for nearly 15% of the company's overall annual revenue. In short, this customer cannot be lost!
John tells Group 2 that, as the customer, they have recently received a software product that does not live up to its expectations. While the customer has a long-standing relationship with Mythco, this time they are growing weary because what they believe to be inferior software has been sold to them on two separate occasions. Clearly, the relationship with Mythco is in jeopardy.
John now allows the groups to brainstorm for a few minutes.
Next (with this particular approach to role play) each group sends forth an "actor" to role-play. The actor receives support and coaching from members of his/her team throughout the entire role-playing process. Each team is able to take time-outs and regroup quickly as needed.
John runs through the scenario several times, starting with the "customer" playing gently and ending with the customer playing extremely aggressively.
And each time, a best solution is found. Of course, John can always ask for additional role-playing and additional solutions if he feels the process needs to continue or that viable solutions have yet to be uncovered.
Once it is clear no more solutions are to be found, John brings the two groups together and the role-playing is discussed. During this discussion, John and both teams discuss the strategies and the solutions that were implemented and then apply these to the actual situation.
John also asks each team to write a short summary about what they learned from the role-playing exercise. He then combines the summaries and provides a copy of everything learned to all participants.
Terry Blair [played by David] is a senior...