Don’t Script Customer Service


This weekend I wanted to cancel one of my credit cards. In a sincere attempt to simplify my life I want to channel my bills into one system, not multiple. I don’t have the time for playing the “points” game any longer. Just give me a no-fee card with a rebate and I’ll be fine thank you. That’s my goal, and I’m the customer.

So, I called the credit card company and my first experience was with a really pleasant person who then transferred me to the cancellation department. The experience went downhill quickly from there.

He didn’t listen, he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was keep me as a customer and his offer wasn’t that great. He kept pitching the same thing, which I repeatedly said, “no” to. Finally, when I asked for a supervisor, he cancelled the card. I tried sharing my goals, I tried to reason. I wanted out, but he would not listen. He would only read the script.

Some quick thoughts:

1. No customer should have to ask for a supervisor to become satisfied. Your front line personnel should be empowered to make good decisions that serve your mission and customer’s needs.

2. Don’t script customer service answers. Give your front liners training on how to treat customers and tell them to listen carefully.

3. Create an environment that loves customers. They pay the bills, why should silly policies and procedures keep them from coming back. The goal is raving fans, not disgruntled enemies (who tell their friends to stay away from your store).

4. Train. Never stop helping your people know the value and need for customer positive relationships. You cannot over “vision” with your people. You cannot over “lead” your people on this.

5. Forget the 2% who break the rules. Run your business to serve the 98% who don’t take advantage. That’s the core of your business and when you treat them well, they will come back again and again. The lifetime value of a customer? Priceless.


One Response to “Don’t Script Customer Service”

  1. Scott says:

    A few years ago I picked up a part-time job selling computers over the phone (I won’t mention the company). I figured it would be good money and I would get to work for a reputable organization.
    They had what they called the “Model of Control”. This was supposed to be a guide to help reps (especially a new one) control the flow of a conversation. I quickly found out it was all about manipulating the conversation so that the rep could force the company’s agenda onto the poor unsuspecting customer that only called to ask about an advertised special. Before the customer knew it, they were financing a $1,500 (or more) computer with more stuff than they knew what to do with.
    As a consumer, I abhor this high-pressure sales tactic. As an employee of this company, I was now a pusher. I left less than six months into it. While this did not sour me to the product the company made, you better believe that I will never call their “customer service” center to make a purchase from them.
    It all worked out, because I would never have lasted under their model. I am too relational, and much more concerned about meeting the CUSTOMER’S needs. I’m all for business making a profit (hey, I have to get paid somehow), but I agree, Wayne, that it should NEVER be at the expense of any customer – even the ones that are asking a simple question. Check that – ESPCIALLY if it is the one that is asking the simple question…

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