It is normal for customer service agents to follow standard scripts while communicating with customers. Companies believe that having a scripted response brings uniformity in their customer service, ensures their service meets required standards, and also makes it easier to train new agents. But a scripted response is hardly what customers expect when they pick up the phone to call customer service.
Customers expect a personalized treatment when they call customer service. They do not wish to listen to someone who is reading off a script. When an agent reads from a prepared script, his or her tone sounds monotonous compared to when he or she talks naturally. This robotic rendition is annoying for customers as they may feel the company has failed to give them personal attention. Irrespective of how willing the agent is to help the customer, they fail to sound genuine. Also, such scripts sometimes fail to meet the unique reasons that prompted the customer to make the call, leading to the customer being disappointed with the service. This is why companies, nowadays, are turning to unscripted customer service.
Agents talking in a natural, conversational manner give customers a positive experience. An unscripted service gives your agents more freedom to explore the expectations of the customer. The customer, on the other hand, feels the satisfaction of talking to a real person and receiving answers that do not seem mechanical. It allows employees to be themselves while performing their routine work, resulting in higher employee satisfaction.
Unscripted service, even with its high potential of meeting customer expectations, comes with its own risks. While scripted responses give you the confidence that all your agents are servicing your customers as per company guidelines, doing away with scripts brings about uncertainty and lack of control over the customer service process, including unpredictable call durations.
Hiring the right candidates for the job is a challenge as you need to look for natural conversationalists who can put customers at ease and help answer their questions in a regular, affable way.
Also, training costs in unscripted service is high and training needs to be re-enforced periodically. Agent training should focus on the right manner and approach of speaking to customers and dealing with them as per company policy. HR personnel entrusted with hiring new agents need to look for people who can naturally thrive in such a role. Unscripted customer service also brings with it the need for closer agent monitoring.
In spite of the above risks, unscripted customer service can really transform customer service when implemented correctly. Online retailer Zappos is a leading example of a company that implemented unscripted customer service and the result is reflected in growing number of repeat customers (75%) and powerful word of mouth marketing.
Allowing agents to be spontaneous in dealing with customers can ensure your customers get a unique experience whenever they call you. It adds a humane face to your customer service. But, whether you decide to choose scripted or unscripted, the focus of your customer service should always be on serving your customers better and keeping them happy.