Is your office up for a bit of role play?

24 Aug 2017

How do you make sure your team is ready for anything?

According to our MD’s latest article in Business Direction, the key to making sure your team is ready for anything life throws at them is to practice, practice, practice! Find out more about why he thinks a little role play could be just the thing for your business.

This article also appears in the latest issues of Business IntelligenceNorfolk Voice, Business Edge, and Business Comment.

Is your office up for a bit of role play?

Once every three months or so, the team at OpenCRM will get together for a quick role play session. No, not Dungeons & Dragons.

We all come together to practice our various disaster recovery plans, from minor service outages to accidental power loss to office break ins. It is a great way to make sure that, if the worst happens, your team are ready for it.

I can’t recommend it enough.

Ready for Disaster?

I’m going to assume that you have your disaster recovery plans written out and in an easily accessible place that all your employees know about. This could be in a hand book stored centrally, an in-house wiki or FAQ module, or even in a shared file on the business server.

And that’s great, these procedures should be written down in a format that is easy to follow and will guide your team through all the necessary steps.

But nothing beats practice.

If your service were to suddenly go down and you had annoyed and/or angry customers overwhelming your reception team with calls, would everyone in your office know how to receive those calls? Would they know what to say? Would they be able to say it with confidence?

A role playing session won’t make your technical team customer service experts, but it will mean that they will have experience picking up the phone and transferring a call at least once. They will also have a little bit of practice using your preferred script to pacify that angry caller.

And that means that, if something ever did happen, they are ready to step in and shoulder some of the burden.

Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Setting up one of these role play sessions is easy, I know there are people out there who will come in and run these for you, but before you go that far, you should probably try it out yourself first.

First things first, you need some scenarios.

I find that starting from your disaster recovery plan is easiest. Remember these don’t have to be compelling stories, just a prompt to make sure people understand which disaster recovery response is required.

For example, we used the old “You show up first at the office on Monday morning to find evidence of a break in. What do you do?” at our session. This is a good one because you can make sure every single person in your office knows what to do in the case of a burglary and remind them that they have an individual responsibility to know what to do in these situations.

Another one of our scenarios was an undefined system failure at one of our third party supplies. This gave people the chance to practice (and remember) the role each department and individual has to play in an emergency.

To make things a bit more fun, you could always split your office into two groups, with one side playing the customers in one scenario while the other group has to respond, and then flip it for the next scenario. This way, you can simulate the actual phone calls people can expect in these situations.

These kinds of direct role playing activities can get a bit silly and that’s ok, as long as the overall plan stays on track and in motion.

Best Business Practice

This kind of role playing seems like it is just a bit of fun, and it can end up as a bit of a team building exercise, but at the heart these practice sessions are the best way to ensure that you respond correctly to a business disaster.

All businesses should have disaster recovery and business continuity plans, it’s just common sense.

But too many companies write up these plans, distribute them to their employees, and think that the job is done.

It isn’t.

You have to make sure that everyone understands why these plans exist, when to implement them, and what their individual role is in that response. And for my money, spending an hour running through a few scenarios will be a more effective way of ticking all those boxes.

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Open CRM