Every person wants to be treated as an individual. We are all unique, each with our own quirks and we want every interaction we have to respect our individuality rather than treat us as a number.
But even though most organizations want to come across as ones that treat customers and prospects as individuals, many times they fail by over-scripting their agents' conversations. While, as I wrote in an article earlier this week, scripts can be necessary, sometimes they do more harm than good.
Recently I had an experience with a scripted conversation that left me so frustrated that I was very close to stop doing business with that organization. Some weeks ago our Internet slowed down dramatically. After my husband spent an hour the previous evening trying to solve the problem over chat with no results, I called the cable provider to ask them to send a technician to determine and solve the problem. I was taken aback when I was told that the next available slot was in four weeks' time, even though the agent confirmed there was a problem with our connection. But what really irked me was that at the end of the telephone conversation, after I had been very vocal about my disappointment at the outcome, the agent asked me: "Have I been able to resolve all your issues today?" It seemed that she was reading from a script which asked her to end all her interactions with that question. This was definitely a case that didn't merit such a question since I had made it very clear that I was very unsatisfied with the service.
Last summer I had a similar interaction that ended in a better way. I needed to see a doctor with some urgency after a badly injured knee started to swell up. As a relative newcomer to the United States, I'm not exactly sure how the health system works and after being unable to find a doctor who would see me that same day, I called my health insurance provider. The agent at the other end was obviously reading from a script, repeatedly telling me that I could look up a doctor on their website. But after explaining my unfamiliarity with the U.S. health system and asking for help to find a walk-in clinic, he recommended the one that was closest to my home and would take my health insurance.
However, agents need to be able to determine when an interaction needs to go off script and either answer the customers' questions themselves or refer them to a supervisor.