10 Ways To Avoid ‘Scriptease’ And Improve Your Customer Experiences!


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68% of customers would rather be left alone when they walk into a shop rather than be asked ‘Can I help?’. Apparently, they see it as being ‘pushy’ – that’s according to a new survey by MoneySavingExpert.com.

They asked 11,000 consumers whether a shop assistant saying “do you need help?” puts them off and this is what they said:

  • 68% said “Don’t ask me: it’s annoying – I’ll ask if I want help”.
  • 19% said “Do ask me: there’s no harm, and it saves me needing to approach them”.
  • 14% said they didn’t care.

It’s an interesting one – Clearly, demonstrating to customers that that you and your staff are interested in them, whether it be when they come into your shop, office, or when they call your business is something that should be encouraged – However, that doesn’t mean simply asking a rehearsed question in a monotone, uninterested manner, and I think that’s the key to this.

Too many businesses encourage (insist?) that their staff say specific things and act in a specific way to deliver a ‘consistent’ customer experience. It’s what I call ‘Scriptease’ – when it’s easier to ‘follow the script’ than to actually interact and engage with your customers! The reality is that it often results in consistently dull customer experiences!

For example, one retailer I worked with insisted that their staff made ‘eye contact’ with customers who walked in to the store within 15 seconds and this was monitored by ‘mystery shoppers’. The result was staff making sure they caught the customer’s eye (to ‘tick the box’) and then ignore them for ages even when it was clear they wanted help.

Another MD very proudly told me how his staff always answered the phone in 3 rings. Having rung them a few times myself, I had to report that, yes, they did answer consistently within 3 rings, but all they did was deliver terrible service quicker! They had very little product knowledge, and not a great deal of empathy!

So, what to do? It’s all about ‘Avoiding Scriptease’!

Here are 10 things you could do to avoid ‘Scriptease’ in your business…

1. Spot It Happening!

Get someone to ring up your own business or visit it to make an enquiry. How good are your people at dealing with enquiries? Ask them to feedback on their experiences. Consider a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise. Establish ongoing feedback systems that allow customers to tell you when it’s happening – reward them for spotting it!

2. Throw Out The Rule Book!

In your business exists a book. It’s a book of rules, regulations and procedures that people quote from verbatim and use daily. You’ll never find it! It’s invisible, but somehow it lives, breathes and influences behaviors in your business. Some of the rules are good, many are limiting. Your challenge is to discover its negative contents, and throw them out. Examples include ‘We can’t…’ ‘We must…’ and ‘I’m not allowed…’ Ask your people about it – many will quote it word for word!

3. Champion Your Customer Champions!

Who creates the best reaction from your customers in your business? Work out what they do, how they do it, what they say and how they say it! Replicate it! Get others to learn from them. Encourage (and reward) them to share their experience. What’s the reward for being great with customers in your business? (In too many, it means you get to deal with more of them, i.e. lots more work!).

4. Empower Your People!

It’s a ‘buzzword’, but true empowerment is about giving people the confidence, skills and permission to think, anticipate and actually do things. Confidence is about support, encouragement and leadership; skills is about training, development and learning; permission is about setting and communicating clear guidelines for all. Here’s a simple test to see how ’empowered’ your people really are. How much can your people spend or authorise without having to come to senior management for ‘permission’? For example, Ritz Carlton Hotels give everyone in their business authority to spend up to $2000 to resolve a customer’s problem or deal with a complaint on the spot without having to get permission from a manager. Now, THAT’s empowerment! (Check out this brilliant example how they do it!)

5. Hire For Attitude!

Recruit frontline people who can demonstrate their listening and conversation skills. Assess their ability to build rapport, think on their feet, identify problems, be spontaneous and generate ideas. Do your recruitment processes find these aptitudes? If not, change them! “We don’t look for high systems knowledge and 80% of our recruitment is NOT from banking. The ability to speak their minds, project their personality and high levels of resilience are much more important” explained David Mead when he was Customer Service Director at First Direct, the UK bank consistently voted as number 1 when it comes to customer service.(Click here for a great example of how this works for them)

6. Ban Scripts!

Simple. Let’s move on.

7. Generate Alternatives!

Get your team together and encourage them to come up with ‘conversation generators’ ideas for dealing with specific scenarios, problems, and enquiries. ‘Role play’, work out what works, replace what doesn’t. Train people, encourage them to experiment, set challenges, have fun!

8. Role Model!

Sometimes we need a ‘spark’ to help us. Sometimes we need some inspiration. Other times, we just need someone to learn from. Who sets the standards that wow you? Don’t restrict yourself to your industry (you might all be poor!). Get your people to call, visit and talk to them. What do they do well that impresses you? What can you learn? No, don’t simply copy them… work out what you can ‘borrow, ‘amend’ and ‘improve’. Encourage your team to do the same. Why not ask your customers who they think you can learn from?

9. Measure Impacts!

Monitor and measure levels of customer satisfaction, loyalty, repeat business, conversion rates, sales, not just length of calls, number of calls, or number of rings. Remember it’s about quality and quantity. What gets, measured, gets managed. Let your people know what’s important. If they understand its about customer engagement, satisfaction and service, they can adjust their behaviours accordingly. Consider Net Promoter Score as a way of measuring what customers really think.

10. Oh Behave!

Culture is ‘the way we do things around here’ and in winning businesses this is not left to chance! It”s all about spelling out the behaviours that you want and establishing an UBER ‘culture’ that creates real competitive advantage. It’s about They ensuring that: everyone Understands what’s expected of them and behave accordingly and consistently; systems and processes are Built to reinforce and support these behaviours; people are Engaged, Empowered and Encouraged to demonstrate them; and are Rewarded and Recognised for doing it! (For a free e-book on how, click here)

So go on, you know it makes sense…. Scriptease? Make it difficult, even impossible to happen in your business! It starts with you!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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