Call Center Scripts should be used like Training Wheels

When scripts are over-used in a call center, it becomes awkward for everyone.  And worse, using them can squander opportunities to build customer relationships.

Let me give you an example. Last Monday, I called my bank to ask them to resolve an issue I was having with online banking.

The conversation went like this:

The Scripted Conversation

CSR: “How are you today, Mr. Wilson?”

Me: “Fine thanks, and you?”

CSR: “I’m fine Mr. Wilson – thank you for asking.  How may I help you today, Mr. Wilson?"

Me: “I can’t get into my account, and I need to reset the password.”

CSR: “I’m sorry that you can’t get into your account, and I'll be glad to help you re-set your password.  Let me first just ask you a couple quick questions for security purposes, Mr. Wilson.”

He asked, and I answered each of the security questions.  Once I was fully validated, he asked me another series of questions, then told me that my password had been reset successfully.

Me: “Perfect – thank you!”

CSR: “Is there anything else that I can assist you with Mr. Wilson?”

Me: “No thank you – I’m all set, and I appreciate the help.”

CSR: “Well, thank you Mr. Wilson, it was my pleasure to assist you.  Have we provided you with excellent service today?”

Me: “Yes, you have.”

CSR: “I’m glad that you feel we provided excellent service today.  We at Acme appreciate your business. Have a good day, Mr. Wilson.”

Here’s the issue – this was not an isolated incident.  I’ve had other conversations with Acme Bank customer service over the past few years, and they all begin and end with the same robotic dialogue.

How Scripts can Affect Relationships

Customer and employee engagement have become priorities for most organizations.  But awkward conversations not engaging.  In fact, they can do the exact opposite by alienating the customer.

Scripts can be useful in accelerating the training of a new call center representative, and even give them greater confidence.  But once the CSR has experience, the script can prevent the kind of free-flowing conversations that engage customers.

Call scripts should be used like training wheels on a bicycle – they should be used to stabilize an inexperienced call center representative.  But once that CSR is up and running, the continued use of scripts can make conversations awkward.

And an awkward conversation can squander the opportunity to create a relationship.