Teaching scripts to employees, especially in customer service and sales, has been a training device for a long time. Why? Because scripts allow all staff to know what to ask, and how to respond to the most common questions they’ll come across. That means that clients experience a consistent corporate voice and reliable standards. It also means that employers don’t have to teach their staff the strategy behind the script — just how to get the job done.
The problem with scripts is that these reasons aren’t sufficient to keep on using them.
In fact, we would argue that scripts no longer work — for three reasons:
1) The consumer market is changing
No matter how skilled a conversationalist, being required to stick rigidly to a script will make your employee sound static, cold and generic. This is not good news for consumers, for whom the best customer service is an emotional connection. And on top of that, the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2000), the largest generation in world history, are very concerned with authenticity. As NewVoiceMedia has emphasized:
“Candor and transparency are very important to millennials and are used by them as a proxy for deciding overall how much to trust and ultimately engage with your brand.”
While If a Millennial’s experience of interaction with your brand is wooden, automated and impersonal, the likelihood is that they will take their business elsewhere. Given their spending power, it makes sense to adjust our customer service and sales to their preferences. As
2. Scripts disempower your best employees
In addition to the customer experience, rigid scripts will frustrate your highest-potential staff, who will be unable to inject their own agency or creativity into their interactions. Following a pre-written script and being told not to stray from it does little to foster ingenuity, independence, problem-solving and ambition. In other words, following a script will not develop their sense of agency, one of Dan Pink’s three key ingredients for motivation (watch Pink’s TED Talk, or this this 5-minute summary, here).
And of course, not only do we want to win new clients; we also want to retain our best staff.
3. Purpose is true preparation
While scripts ostensibly help prepare employees for all eventualities, the irony is that they end up making them less prepared. Why? Because your customers are people, not actors; and they can go ‘off script’. Again, this becomes even more important with Millennials, who often seek out a two-way relationship with your brand. Many of us have experienced the frustrating experience of trying to communicate a point to a customer service representative who absolutely will not go off script. It can make us feel like we’re not being heard. Why? Because that person hasn’t been empowered to understand the purpose behind what they’re trying to communicate — which means they don’t have room to manoeuvre when the script falls short.
So if scripts are defunct, what is the solution for effective training and service? At ALL Strategy, we practice and teach conversation points as an alternative. Written in the voice of the team lead or manager, they are guidelines of what to say and how to say it. Staff are trained on the purpose behind each conversation point, and encouraged to revise it for themselves in a way that reflects their own voice: personal and individualized.
Customers who feel more heard and valued; employees who are more motivated; and a team that is genuinely prepared for all eventualities. To learn more about the specifics of conversation points, and to gain insight on how to use them in your company, contact us today.