Good role-playing also means that trainees’ attention will be wholly directed to the skills required to handle the calls. Their minds will not be directed to the practicalities of inventing information, names, telephone numbers etc. If you have prepared your role-playing session properly, the realism of the work will cause the trainees to behave in the way they would in their job. The artificiality that so many trainers worry about can be virtually eliminated.
The training room can, of course, never be exactly the same as the work situation. In most cases, it is not possible for trainees to have with them everything they have at hand in their everyday job. It might not be possible to have PCs in the training location for example.
However, good role-playing, particularly using realistic telephone training equipment can overcome even these apparently difficult barriers.
All the training you do based on role-playing is valid. You are dealing with what actually happened. Not just opinions on how calls should be handled; not just ideas about underlying principles; not just what people might have done in certain circumstances. You are in a position to review what people actually do when faced with a particular telephone call. If you are able to record the conversation, then, best of all, you can review what people actually did.
Thus principles, techniques, skills and knowledge can all be related to and used to support your trainees’ individual development. You can concentrate on those particular aspects of skills and attitude that each trainee needs help with.
By introducing role-playing into your training at strategic points, you will also get the benefit of the active involvement of the trainees.
Nearly all training benefits from practical participation but, with role-playing, this is taken a stage further. The trainees can effectively control the session. If you set up the role-play training properly, you will find that the trainees do not simply take part, responding to your guidance, they very soon begin to be helpfully creative, anxious to make the calls as realistic as possible and to analyse openly what they did and how they did it.