Magazine article CRM Magazine

Kill the Scripted Customer Service Response

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Kill the Scripted Customer Service Response

Article excerpt

WHAT IS A SCRIPT?

A script is a written document that a person is supposed to read as though it was a conversation. It contains the so-called "acceptable" responses allowed by a business in order to control service quality and marketing message. There is a problem, however. Two people are interacting but only one has a script. Customers do not provide canned responses or questions. They are the ultimate in improvisation.

The customer service script is one of the most used and reviled forms of customer communication there is. Scripts are the tools of a weak customer service organization that thinks the representatives they hired are incapable of learning how to interact appropriately with customers; a perceived safety net, if you will.

And guess what? Customers hate scripts. They easily recognize when an agent is using a scripted response and it puts them instantly on edge. All too soon, that poor agent is learning the hard way how to handle a hostile customer. Unfortunately for the company, the customer will only be handled once; then the customer leaves and may vent on social media or other channels about the poor customer experience at your company.

WHY COMPANIES USE SCRIPTS

The main reason scripts are used is because they are seen as a cost cutting measure. The thinking is that with a script in place training can be limited and a lower salary can be paid. Customer service and support scripting is appealing for management that fears their agents don't know how to speak to their customers.

In certain instances scripts are meant to guide a support representative through troubleshooting sequences when a customer has a problem. In others, it is a way to avoid certain verbiage. Finally, some companies use scripts to ensure all steps have been taken in lower tier support before the call is transferred up to the next tier.

WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT SCRIPTS?

Scripts Replace Skill--First and foremost, using a script in place of hiring and training means you are placing unskilled people in direct touch with your customers that have your reputation in their hands. In today's highly competitive market you can't afford to lose customers because of poor customer service. Scripts can cause several problems that make a negative customer experience. On top of that, 99% of conversations can't be fully scripted according to CustomerCare.com.

Scripts Irritate Customers--Customers do not want their time wasted or their intelligence insulted. When customers call the service center they expect to converse with a human being who will listen to what they say and respond appropriately. Customers do not call the help desk to talk to a robot; if they did they would call automated support or go straight to self-service on the company website.

Many customers calling the help desk are technically quite capable. Requiring an agent to adhere to a script means customers are asked to repeat troubleshooting steps or suggestions that they have already tried. Telling them to try these steps again is an insult and a waste of time. Not the best way to relate to people in a hurry.

Scripts Are Impersonal--In a way, scripts are deceitful. Even when read by someone talented at making the dialog sound conversational, customers will still make statements or ask questions that aren't realistically answered by a script line. …

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