This year's Remote Manager Report is finally here! Be the first to read it.
Explore easy and highly-engaging remote customer success team-building ideas that will help your team build alignment and trust, and have fun while doing it.
Keeping your team aligned and engaged is a challenge for any manager. Layer in the element of working remotely with the pressure of being customer-facing and that same challenge kicks up a few notches. Thankfully, virtual team building can help your customer support or success team take their minds off of work and strengthen bonds amongst each other. This naturally leads to better alignment, engagement, and relationships built on trust.
Before implementing regular team-building activities across your customer service team, survey them to understand what activities they’d enjoy. This will eliminate the guesswork and the higher likelihood your efforts will generate enthusiasm and buy-in. From there, do research into how you can address your team's wants and needs through activities.
Life in a customer success role is tough. For some, it’s too much.
In a recent survey of customer success professionals, 40% of respondents said they experienced a 11% to 25% turnover rate at their company.
Since customer support and success teams are the closest to and most knowledgeable about customers, their cohesion and performance are crucial to any organization’s survival. That’s exactly what team building works to promote.
Team building also has a direct impact on individuals’ intrinsic motivation. Stanford research shows that when people are treated as partners working together with others – even when physically apart – their motivation increases. This boost in motivation creates a positive trickle effect throughout an organization. A happy customer success team member will bring that positivity to every customer touchpoint, decreasing the chances of churn and fostering customer engagement.
Let’s dive into 15 highly-engaging remote team building ideas to motivate your remote customer success team:
Roses and thorns is an impactful team-building activity for teams that value transparency. Each person takes a turn sharing their roses and thorn related to a certain event or timeframe, such as the past week, month, quarter, or year.
A rose represents something positive like a highlight, small win, or success, and a thorn represents a challenge. You decide how many roses and thorns you want, but two roses and one thorn is a good standard. This activity is a low-stress opportunity to get everyone on your team to openly share their personal experiences amongst each other, which will help build trust through consistency.
A channel dedicated to building rapport is an excellent way to build culture and team morale asynchronously. Set up dedicated channels on Slack, introduce them to your team, and share questions or pictures related to the topic.
At Kona, we have a few channels dedicated to team building unrelated to work such as #random, #dogspotting, and #kona (where our Kona, the product, check-ins live). We use these to share pictures of life updates like weekend ski trips or comedy events, as well as snapshots of neighborhood dogs we see on work breaks. They’re a great way to get the conversation started naturally.
Another activity your customer support or success team can do for team building is through quizzing each other during a virtual meeting. Here are a few ways to do it:
Your questions don’t have to be all about team members—you could even throw in some company facts and random trivia! You can create your quizzes in Powerpoint or Google Slides, or use apps like Kahoot or Slido.
Personality tests are both fun and valuable for customer success teams. People love to find out what type they are, and revealing them as a group reveals what types of personalities exist in the group to play off one another.
The Enneagram and Myers Brigg tests (MBTI) are among the most popular personality tests online. While both are effective, the Myers-Briggs® system is a 16-personality model that focuses on each personality’s unique traits and how they each interact with the world, while the Enneagram system—with only nine types—is more about understanding the heart of your personality and what motivates you.
A person’s home says a lot about who they are. So, if your team is open to it, an office tour brings you into their world unlike anything else. An added bonus: depending on what people share, you’re bound to get a ton of conversation starters—from special mementos to unique desk set-ups, morning routines, home design, collectibles, hobbies, pets, and family.
A virtual scavenger hunt is a quirky and energetic activity that lets your people flex their creativity while also providing small challenges to keep them on their toes. All you need is a time frame and a list of photos for team members to “hunt” for.
If you value innovation, teamwork, and friendly competition, a Mock Shark Tank event combines all of those things for some TV-inspired fun.
Aviad Faruz, CEO at Faruzo, said his customer success team raved about this idea: “We divided the customer success team into pairs and triplets and gave them a week to come up with their original ideas and pitches. Our CEO, CFO, and the Head of Customer Success acted as the three ‘Sharks’. The winning team of the event was given a cash prize and the opportunity to work on their pitch with the company’s full backing.”
Whether or not you put a cash prize on the line as the Faruzo team did, this activity is bound to get your team motivated for some friendly competition.
“The results of this event were impeccable. The customer success teams were in high spirits for weeks to follow. It also helped increase the collaboration between team members and bring them in sync,” explained Faruz.
With remote work taking over the work world—with no signs of slowing down—some board games have gone virtual and new virtual games have popped up specifically designed for remote team bonding. Several of them make for a quick dose of fun, and most only take up to 30 minutes to play a full round. Here are some of our favorites:
Making something together is a powerful way to build bonds among team members. Virtual classes like pottery classes and paint & sip classes make for two common ones, which you can easily find online. There’s also candle making, terrarium making, flower arranging, cookie decorating, gingerbread house making, and more.
“These types of activity are fun, all-inclusive, remove boundaries and hierarchies and create camaraderie and cohesion amongst our global team, which has led to streamlining of communications and 30% more productivity in the last 6 months,” says Jess Munday, People and Culture Manager at Custom Neon.
For a DIY option, you can purchase ready-to-ship craft kits or individual supplies, and send them to team members’ homes so everyone has supplies for “class” together via Zoom.
Food is a natural relationship-builder. That’s why cooking a recipe together as a team could be a perfect team-building event if you have foodies in your customer support or success crew.
Cooking gets everyone using their hands (and minds!) while following a recipe serves as a reliable guide for those who are not as confident in the kitchen as others. Remember to poll your team on any allergies and dietary preferences before you pick a recipe!
If you appreciate the benefits of going out for after-work drinks with the team to unwind, this one might be up your alley. Host a cocktail-and mocktail-making event over Zoom where everyone on the team makes the same concoction together. Take it to the next level by sending your team the ingredients ahead of time.
If you have team members who love a unique challenge and solving puzzles, a virtual Escape the Room activity is an exciting and interactive option. Typically a 60-minute timed game, Escape the Room is a virtual experience where players work together to find and solve puzzles to ultimately find their way out of a locked room.
Rooms come in all themes and difficulty levels, and you’ll be able to rely on a third-party host to make sure the event runs smoothly. Another big plus: it forces your team to work together to find solutions in a non-work context, allowing them to showcase different strengths they don’t always use at work.
The brainy types on your team would love a trivia game, but trivia can be fun for everyone! Most people know a surprising amount of random facts, whether they acknowledge it or not, and a game of trivia usually brings it out. There are tons of free trivia websites online which combine all sorts of categories, such as pop music, geography, science, history, sports, television, movies, and more.
Name that tune is another game that tests your team’s knowledge, but instead of answering facts, you identify songs! You’ll quickly learn who is musically inclined, what genres people like, and whether there is or isn’t a generational divide in your team based on how people react to popular music of the decades.
Team building doesn’t always have to occur with the entire group. In fact, strengthening individual relationships, such as by doing weekly or monthly online lunch dates, benefits the entire team. For one, it gives each person more room to talk and listen deeply, which creates a feeling of psychological safety. Second, one-on-one or small group lunch dates are a more inclusive team-building exercise for the introverts on your team who may prefer to interact in smaller groups.