Photo credit:  Say_No_To_Turtles

Photo credit: Say_No_To_Turtles

“It’s a great day at Wendy’s Widgets!  How may we serve you?”  If this is what you first hear upon calling a customer service department, you’re likely to pick up on it being a scripted greeting.  And while the sentiment is nice, does scripting pleasantries devalue the experience?

If you poll customer service employees about their feelings towards using company-scripted language with customers, you’re likely to find that an overwhelming number don’t like using it.  “It takes away from the spontaneity I need to do my job well.  I don’t want to provide cookie cutter experiences for my cases, so I need the freedom to speak with each person as an individual” says Jessica, a customer service representative for the last six years.  This sentiment was echoed by Brandon, “If I’m being told to use the same language with every customer, it’s too easy to go on autopilot and start losing interest in what’s actually happening with each individual.”  While scripting may be an attempt to elevate employees’ language or provide uniformity of service, it can just as easily backfire by disengaging representatives from the cases at hand.

If you poll customers on their thoughts about scripted language, you find an equally passionate response.  Kelly says, “You always know when someone is reciting a script – or worse yet, reading from one.  And it’s like a weird secret everyone knows but no one talks about.  I find it very awkward.  Just talk to me like a person, please”.  Henry points out that “it feels a bit like talking with an automated system.  Why have a live person handling my call if they can’t use their brains and speak freely with me?  I’ve also noticed that people tend to get stuck in scripts, ignoring what I’m actually telling them in favor of whatever it is they’re ‘supposed to say’.  I’ve actually told a few people to stop with the script nonsense and just answer my actual questions.  It’s frustrating”.  Yahaira brings up another point, “If I bother to take the time to reach out to customer service, I’m hoping to have a personalized interaction that uniquely helps me in my specific situation.  When I realize someone is using scripted, controlled language, it kind of makes me angry – because it shows me from the word “go” that I’m going to get the same old answers and level of help.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the most elegant, polite, or grammatically correct language if it tells me I’m just another face in the crowd”.

While scripting greetings and responses may seem like a tempting way to standardize a high, quality level of customer service, beware it’s equally strong ability to turn off employees and customers alike.  Excellence in service requires connecting with each customer as an individual, so let’s be careful we aren’t throwing road block in our own way.  Even ones created with the best of intentions.