Don’t Let Scripts Ruin a Great Customer Experience


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Last week I had a computer problem that required me to contact technical support. I was sure I would have to send my computer in, but they were able to quickly solve my problem.

So why was I so annoyed? And why does this matter to you?

I started with phone support, but after hearing there would be a 13-minute wait, I fired up chat. After greeting me, the technician said, “I will give my best effort to resolve your issue.” “Great!” I responded, and gave the details.

I then waited for two minutes while she was obviously working with another customer. Eventually she responded, “I’m sorry for the wait. I will give my best effort to resolve your issue.” She then proceeded to apply an update to my computer, telling me a third time that she will give her best effort to resolve my issue.

While the computer was rebooting I received a call from phone support, so I switched to this mode.

That’s when this new tech said it: “I will give my best effort to resolve your issue.” My customer service alarm immediately went off.

Up until this point the technicians did everything they could right. I’d have preferred not to wait, but that was out of their immediate control. The chat support technician quickly applied the patch needed to fix my computer, and the phone rep offered to verify everything was working okay. From a technical aspect, the interactions were flawless.

The company leadership also did something right. Their voice of the customer program presumably analyzed their surveys and data to discover that showing humility and a desire to help leads callers to view their outcome more positively. That’s very important. An effective voice of the customer program will help you understand what your current customers are missing in your call center experience, and how you can better wow them. In this case it is certainly true that I want to hear that my technician cares and will do his or her best.

So that’s the good part. It’s the execution where they fell down. Scripts don’t deliver a great customer experience. Scripts just mandate mediocrity.

Imagine how this call would have gone if they had taught their agents to be empathetic, showing their desire to improve my outcome with their deeds instead of their words. A technician’s empathy and care is at least as important as their technical savvy. Grumpy but effective technical support personnel are almost a meme, and are the reason that support calls are four times more likely to cause disloyalty than loyalty. Hiring and training for empathy enables the technician to better discover customers’ true problems and build more loyal customers.

But scripts? Scripts are the tools of the desperate, trying to prevent bad calls at the expense of good ones. At the very least, scripts should be used as conversational lead-ins, not as the rote way to communicate with customers. Used incorrectly, scripts reduce the ability to deliver a personalized customer experience and for real-time flexibility on the part of the agent.

The irony is, their deeds were nearly perfect. Yes, I would have preferred not to wait 13 minutes for a call or 2 minutes for the chat rep to get started. (It could even be said that waiting heightened the sensitivity of my customer service alarm.) But once they engaged, my issue was resolved quickly, and the second rep even went above and beyond to clean up a couple of other issues on my computer. As a result, my computer is running better than before the issue happened.

Unfortunately, your customers are less concerned with your agents’ technical abilities than with how they felt about the results. So teach your reps to show humility and a desire to help, but don’t give them a script without empowering your agents to go “off script” when they feel they should. That will show that you’re actually giving your best efforts to resolve my issue.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Tincher
Jim sees the world in a special way: through the eyes of customers. This lifelong passion for CX, and a thirst for knowledge, led him to found his customer experience consulting firm, Heart of the Customer (HoC). HoC sets the bar for best practices and are emulated throughout the industry. He is the author of Do B2B Better and co-author of How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, and he also writes Heart of the Customer’s popular CX blog.


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