Host Games and Competitions

Amazing Race

Team building games of all types abound during Customer Service Week. One exciting example comes from the Information Services Department at the Cobb County Government in Marietta, GA. The highlight of the celebration was a version of the television show Amazing Race.

The show features 11 teams racing around the world to win one million dollars. The teams compete in 13 activities. And the last team to complete the activity and arrive at the “pit stop” is eliminated.

Rather than racing around the world, these teams traveled through the office. Each day, they were given a clue that described the location of the first “pit stop.” When all teams arrived at the “pit stop,” they competed to complete a task. The last team to complete the task was eliminated.

Each challenge took just 10 to 15 minutes and each person on the team was required to participate.

Following are examples of three of the “pit stop” clues and tasks:

  • Pit Stop #3 Clue. You will now make a visit to the place where the Great Oz resides. There you will find task #3.
  • Task #3. The task is to eat the collard green pie. The last team to finish the pie will be eliminated from the race. If your team completes this task successfully you will be given the next clue.
  • Pit Stop #5 Clue. Navigate your way to this office where very few Information Services staff visit, but they support the entire county’s needs for all geographic locations. There you will find task #4.
  • Task #5. The task is to complete the crossword puzzle provided within 10 minutes. If you do not complete the crossword puzzle within 10 minutes your team will be eliminated from the race. If your team completes this task successfully you will be given the next clue.
  • Pit Stop #7 Clue. Customer service is defined in this area. This area handles all your technical support needs. There you will complete the final task and the winning team will be announced!
  • Task #7. Today your team will answer some tough questions. Pick a captain and when the question is asked talk among your group and come up with the correct answer — hit the bell and you will be given a chance to answer. If you get the answer wrong — two points will go to the opposing team and they will get the opportunity to answer the question. The team to get 100 points first wins the Amazing Race.

Additional popular game show activities include Fear FactorJeopardy!Cash Cab, and Survivor.


At Manchester Tank’s corporate headquarters the entire staff participated in a Customer Service Week activity based on the popular television series Survivor.

Shelia Lindsay, who organized the week, describes it as their “most successful celebration.” Here’s why:

On Monday morning each employee received a bandanna, which indicated which of three interdepartmental “tribes” they belonged to. Team captains were assigned when three vice presidents drew “tiki” cups from a box.

Throughout the week, the tribes competed in team building activities. Points were awarded for successfully completing the challenges and for each of the following:

  • Most original tribe name
  • Most team spirit
  • Most participation
  • Best mascot, and more.

Tribes could also lose points. For example, a team member not wearing their bandanna cost the tribe one point, and being late to a tribal council meant the loss of 10 points.

A typical team building challenge was made up of several tasks, each of which had to be completed by a single team member. This might include:

  • One task that required strength
  • One task that required agility
  • One task that required dexterity
  • The remaining tasks were trivia questions in the categories of history, geography, entertainment, general knowledge, and sports.

On Friday, the tribes assembled for a final “tribal meeting.” Each member was asked to say something they had learned about another tribe member.

Shelia reports that, “considering we have worked together for years, it was very eye opening to hear comments like, ‘I didn’t know she was so dedicated, creative, smart, knew so much about our customers, our products, has a great sense of humor, has great team building skills, and so forth.’”

Additional popular game show activities include Fear FactorAmazing RaceJeopardy!, and Cash Cab.

Post Scores Online

Friday was sports day at Advanced Health Media (AHM) where lots of individual sports themed activities added up to a fun-filled day.

Some events were held indoors with limited room for fans while others, such as the three-legged race and dizzy bat race, were held outside. Reps were encouraged to attend the outdoor events to cheer their coworkers on. To keep everyone involved in all of the activities, up to the minute results were posted on a scoreboard at the AHM website.

Adding to the fun, “vendors” made their way through the office during the “7th Inning Stretch” tossing snacks to the spectators.

Finally, reps were able to win tickets to Giants or Jets games. Working with the AHM vending machine contact, special stickers were placed on one item in each of two vending machines. The lucky person to receive a sticker won the tickets.


A fun-filled afternoon playing the game-show favorite Jeopardy! was the highlight of a very full Customer Service Week at Sunoco Chemicals.

The questions were developed based on the company’s customer service practices and provided a fun and engaging way for reps to show off their skills and job knowledge.

So how exactly does Jeopardy! work?

The game consists of a series of questions, which are asked in the reverse of the standard quiz format. Three contestants are given the answer and vie to be the first to come up with the correct question.

In the game show there are two main rounds, each with five answers of different prize amounts and difficulties in six different categories. The beauty of this game is that it can be easily scaled up or down to meet your needs.

Answers and the questions might include procedures specific to your organization or general service guidelines like these:

A: Are you able to hold?
Q: What should you say before placing a caller on hold?

A: To expel or relieve one’s emotions
Q: What is to vent?

A: Smile
Q: What do you do before picking up the phone?

In addition to playing Jeopardy!, the team started the week with a kickoff breakfast with their management team and internal customers. They also created a movie from photos of their teambuilding events throughout the year, enjoyed daily giveaways and snacks, played puzzles and games, and capped off the week with 15-minute chair massages.

Additional popular game show activities include Fear FactorAmazing RaceCash Cab, and Survivor.

Cake Decorating Highlights Communication Skills

The team at the CBK celebrated Customer Service Week with a different activity each day. This included a creative dress-up day and a skill-building cake-decorating contest.

To kick-off the week reps were asked to dress as what they wanted to be when they grew up. You can just imagine a call center filled with ballerinas and princesses, firefighters and football players.

Next the team competed in a cake-decorating contest. The staff was divided into teams of two. Each team received a sheet cake, and an assortment of frostings. They were challenged to create a theme cake for the week.

More than just a decorating contest, this was also a communication building exercise. After the reps briefly discussed how to decorate their cakes, one rep left the room while the other worked. After several minutes the reps switched places. It was up to the second rep to complete the cake based only on their conversation and the work that had already been done.

Crab Races

When ODW Logistics celebrates Customer Service Week, they have to overcome a few obstacles. Two of the most significant being that there are 300+ people celebrating and that they work in seven different buildings at the Columbus, OH, campus.

Nevertheless, they put together a number of activities that everyone could participate in and scheduled them carefully throughout the week.

In addition, the entire company got together for a tailgate party on Friday. As the culmination of the week this was the time to vote for customer service rep and warehouse person of the year and for winners of the various challenges to receive their prizes.

Four of the featured challenges were:

  • Crab races — Hermit crabs and their handlers competed in a fast-paced battle of speed and skill.
  • People poker — Each person received one card per day. Hands were compared throughout the week and winners announced at a tailgate party. A total of 28 decks of cards were required for this one massive game of poker.
  • Walk your way to wellness — Prizes were awarded to employees who logged the most miles during the week.
  • Announcement (word) bingo — Prizes were awarded to employees who completed their bingo cards during senior management’s weekly companywide address.

Cash Cab

Throughout Customer Service Week, reps at Kansas City Life Insurance Company, participated in an activity modeled on the Discovery Channel hit, Cash Cab.

On the program, unsuspecting New Yorkers hail a taxicab only to discover that they have entered a game show and can win cash for answering the driver’s questions correctly.

In the Kansas City Life version, reps were asked to report to the front door of the building at designated times throughout the day. Awaiting them was a manager’s car decorated with play money. After the reps piled in and the rules were explained, the car took off on laps around the parking lot. Reps responded to a range of questions receiving play money for correct answers. However, after three incorrect answers, the ride was abruptly over, reps exited the car, and walked back to the office.

The play money reps won could be used to buy raffle tickets for daily prize giveaways or to vote for the king and queen of service.

Additional popular game show activities include Fear FactorAmazing RaceJeopardy!, and Survivor.

Pumpkin Decorating

The team at Demag — A Terex Brand has been celebrating Customer Service Week for several years. And the celebrations just keep getting better.

One popular activity is the company-wide pumpkin decorating contest. It provides an opportunity for each department to show its creative side and for people to get to know each other as they view the entries.

Entries have included an all blue “pumpkin chain hoist” from the material handling group, a pumpkin with wire looms and LED eyes from the electrical engineering group, and a pumpkin featuring smartphone eyes from the IT group.

Complete contest rules are available here.


Fear Factor

Television programs have inspired many Customer Service Week celebrations, including this one at CNA Surety.

Each year the service team prepares a challenge for their CIO and directors. One popular challenge was based on the TV show Fear Factor.

The show pits contestants against each other in a series of physical and mental challenges in which the contestant must do something frightening or gross.

For the CNA version, the management team participated in a physical challenge (Wii boxing); a tactile challenge, in which they put their hands into boxes full of Jell-O and pudding and tried to identify buried computer parts; and a mental challenge in which the contestants had to eat yellow Jell-O from a bed pan as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, Deb Anderson reports that everyone on the management team is a good sport and a fierce competitor, and that they are already buzzing about next year.

Additional popular game show activities include Amazing RaceJeopardy!Cash Cab, and Survivor.

Sponsors Provide Funding

While we always advocate planning early, here’s one team that learned about Customer Service Week just a few days ahead of time. Undaunted, the customer service team at The Institute of Internal Auditors put together a wonderful celebration. Their keys to success were asking other departments to sponsor activities, and creating low-cost games, which poked a little good-natured fun at senior management.

Here’s how the week came together:

  • Monday was sports day with the marketing department sponsoring a pizza lunch. The day’s main activity was a low-cost bowling game. Bowling pins were created from empty soda bottles and to add to the fun, photos of the leadership team adorned each bottle.
  • Tuesday was color day and the team dressed in Customer Service Week colors. The membership and human resources departments provided a catered lunch and the team played a home-grown game called Sharpie Put. The object of the game is to hit a paper target with a Sharpie marker. And because management came in for their share of ribbing, the center of the target featured a photograph of the department’s vice president.
  • Wednesday was cozy-slippers day. And who wouldn’t like to wear slippers at work. The certifications department provided breakfast and the team played basket toss with a foam ball and a trash can.
  • Thursday was crazy-hat day with the event services group sponsoring breakfast. The team got to know colleagues with a matching game. A sheet was created for each of the two service teams. The sheet simply included a photograph of each team member. Then the sheets were distributed to the other team. Next, it was time for reps to write down the name of each person on the other team alongside their photograph. And if a rep didn’t know someone’s name? Then she had to go to the other department, introduce herself and ask.
  • Friday was Hawaiian shirt day. The bookstore department and the research foundation sponsored breakfast and both teams played a trivia game, which helped them continue to get to know each other. Each spin of the wheel revealed information, which had to be matched to the correct rep.

Finally, throughout the week reps were given time off the phone to work together on fun craft projects like making photo frames for their desks.