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50 Customer Service Training Activities for Live Chat and Telephone Teams

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Activity 40

The Curse of Knowledge

This activity is adapted from a psychological experiment which highlights the importance of clear communication.

Divide the team into pairs. One of the pair should be a “tapper”, the other, a “listener”. The tapper should think of a well-known song, but not tell anyone what it is. They then need to tap out the rhythm of the song (on a table or similar) to their listener, who will try to guess what it is.

Congratulate any listeners who succeeded, and for any listeners who did not get the song, ask the tapper to reveal what it was. The pairs should then swap roles and repeat.

Explain to the team that when this experiment was originally ran, the tappers were asked beforehand to guess the chances that their listener would know the song – and around 50% said they thought their listener would succeed. In reality, the odds were closer to 2.5%.

Ask the team why they think this is. The team should be able to pinpoint that when you can hear the song in your head, you have a clearer “picture” of it than someone without that knowledge.

Ask the team how this relates to their work. They should be able to link this the difficulties of communication when you have expert knowledge of your product and service while your customer does not.

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