Virtual Video Vignettes

Basic Idea

Two teams separately prepare and act out the same basic roleplay. Other participants watch these role-plays, compare the two versions, and evaluate them.


To recall and apply customer-service principles.


Minimum: 8
Maximum: 28
Best: 16 - 24


30 minutes to 1 hour


  • 2 Scenarios, one for each pair of teams
  • Paper
  • Pencils or pens
  • Countdown timer
  • Whistle


Select two scenarios from these samples (or prepare your own):

  1. Mixed-Up Pick-Up. A customer arrives at your business at 2:00 PM to pick-up a product that you promised would be ready at 3:00 PM. The customer is sure that you said 2:00 PM.
  2. Haven't Got a Clue! The customer asks for a music CD. You have never heard of the artist. You cannot find the artist in the computer database either.
  3. I Can't Understand You. You are serving a customer whose first language is other than your own. You find it difficult to understand him.
  4. No Longer Works here. An irate customer demands to speak to her Customer Service Representative. However, that person has since left the company. The customer's anger escalates and she demands to speak to the manager. The manager is out for the day.

Make enough copies of the two selected scenarios for the members of the two pairs of teams.


Organize participants into teams. Divide the participants into four teams of two to seven people each. It does not matter if some of the teams have one more member than the others.

Distribute roleplay scenarios. Each pair of teams should receive the same scenario. For example, if you have four teams, Teams 1 and 2 may receive the first scenario; Teams 3 and 4, the second scenario.

Explain the roleplay task. Ask the teams to pretend that they are producing a 2-minute training video to demonstrate appropriate customer service. The task for each team is to prepare a dramatic vignette and act it out. Recommend that the vignette feature just two people playing the roles of a customer and an employee. Announce a 5-minute preparation time. Because of the limited time, encourage the teams to rapidly prepare an outline for the video, quickly rehearse key incidents, and improvise the lines.

Explain the evaluation task. The video vignette staged by each team will be evaluated along these three dimensions:

  • Authenticity: Is the vignette realistic and believable?
  • Instructional value: Does the vignette emphasize key principles and procedures in customer service?
  • Interest: Does the vignette attract and maintain audience attention?

Coordinate planning activities. Remind the teams that they have 5 minutes to prepare their vignette. Start the timer. Let teams work on their own. Give a 2-minute warning at the end of 3 minutes. Blow a whistle at the end of 5 minutes to signal the end of the planning time.

Stage the roleplays. Send all members of Team 2 out of the room. Ask the actors from Team 1 to stage their vignette. Remind of the 2-minute time limit and strictly enforce this limit. Invite the members of Teams 3 and 4 to carefully watch the vignette.

At the end of 2 minutes, stop the roleplay and invite Team 1 to return to the room and stage its vignette. (The first team can stay in the room and watch the enactment.)

Ask the audience teams to announce their ratings. After the second segment, ask the members of Teams 3 and 4 to select one of the two vignettes as the best drama. Invite these teams to briefly present evaluative feedback on the three rating dimensions (authenticity, instructional value, and interest) for both vignettes.

Repeat the process. Send Team 4 outside the room and have Team 3 stage its vignette. Bring Team 4 back to the room for its presentations. Ask the members of Teams 1 and 2 select the best vignette and to provide feedback.