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Customer Service: Is it Time to Nix Your Phone Scripts?

Businesswoman wearing headsetWhen you work for a large company, the customer service department is an influential player in its overall success. Whether you’re part of this team or simply work in an ancillary role, the responsiveness and helpfulness of those who are customer-facing impacts everyone. In an effort to maintain brand consistency and provide customer service representatives with reliable answers to common questions, many businesses rely upon scripts. But is this really the best practice? And how can you know for sure? Here’s some insight into the debate.

Learn Through Surveys

One of the best ways to find out if your current customer service practices are effective is to get feedback directly from your buyers. While many people will ignore surveys when they’re asked to complete one over the phone or via email, a small percentage usually will respond. Try inviting everyone who communicates with your customer service team to fill out a very brief survey about their experiences. If you don’t get responses, use incentives — you can offer things like free shipping or 10 percent off their next order if they’ll simply fill out the survey. SurveyMonkey is one of the more popular survey services out there.

If your company uses scripts for your customer service department, feel free to get specific with your survey questions. Asking, “Did the conversation with our customer service representative meet your needs?” or “Did it seem tailored to you?” are good ways to find out if the scripted nature of responses come across as canned or impersonal. Use this feedback and adjust your methodologies accordingly.

Employ Services

In addition to surveys, you can also use technology tools and contact center software to improve customer service behaviors and find out how your existing ones are faring. One example of such a solution is Aspect Zipwire. You can use this type of service if you’d like to access built-in analytics that help measure the quality of your customer service (and also extra benefits like seamless upgrades and supervisor tools). By looking at hard data, you’ll have undeniable insight into what is working (and what isn’t) with your customer service approach, including scripts.

Get Back to Humanity

People want to reach people when they contact customer support. It turns out that the two biggest factors in whether people will give a company repeat business are if the service experience was low-effort, and if the individual on the other end of the line was courteous and willing to help. If you’re able to master these objectives while using scripts, then you can go ahead and do so. But sometimes having a written script can cause the readers of the script to become detached and seem less personally invested in the customer. If scripts are causing your customer service team to be less engaged with customers — or to require more customer effort as a result of lacking personalization — then it’s time to do away with them.

 

Ultimately, you should consider your company its very own case study in the department of customer service. Use customer feedback and technology tools and services to help you determine whether or not scripts can be a cornerstone of the customer service journey. Your goal is to offer real human connection and quick resolutions to problems, which may very well be better achieved without scripts. If you’d like some consistent messaging to be used by all members of the team, you could distribute bullet points with key elements so everyone is on the same page. But do whatever necessary to maintain the person-to-person character of customer care.

About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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