3 Steps for Consistent Customer Service
Studies have shown that the only thing worse than bad customer service is inconsistent service, which leaves a consumer confused and wary about what to expect when they walk into a store, call the help desk or send an email. With more choices available than ever before, we all want consistency and to know what to expect in a given situation.
We’ve all had less-than-wonderful customer service experiences, whether it’s an incomplete answer, a surly attitude or no response at all. While this can be annoying as a consumer, it’s embarrassing and frustrating when your own business fails to deliver. And then there are times when you are on point, creating persuasive and clear emails for inquiries and able to clearly explain details to a customer in person.
If you’ve ever wished you could bottle up your best answers and use them no matter how tired, busy or overwhelmed you are, then you’re in luck! Customer service scripts are the answer. You can even create these scripts to answer negative online reviews.
I must dispel a misconception first: Scripts do not have to be the boring, rote, robotic questions that someone with no experience recites over the phone with as much enthusiasm as a student in detention. Customer service scripts can and should be compelling, interesting and adaptable.
Building up a bank of customer service scripts proven to work gives you a foundation and provides effective tools to your entire team. There are three steps to create a resource bank for your business:
1. Compile Questions
Create a shortlist of your most frequently asked questions. Use the 80/20 principle and don’t try to answer every single question that could possibly come up — just the most common. If you’ve already got these on your website or other marketing collateral, feel free to swipe it and copy and paste the question and answer.
Don’t just collect questions in a vacuum. Ask your team what questions they get asked all the time or the most difficult question they have to answer. You might consider a question easy to answer only to find your sales team is struggling and need a script.
2. Write the Best Script
Write new or edit existing scripts to include the most accurate information and attitude you want to convey. Good scripts don’t just give the answer, they also set a tone for the rest of the conversation — especially when you’re delivering bad news. Effective versions include context to the answer that may help the customer understand why you work this way.
For example, an existing FAQ might read, “Our products ship in 10-14 business days” while the edited script may be, “As our products are custom-created and checked for quality, you’ll receive a shipping notification within 10-14 business days.”
Another example, current script may be, “Our rates are $60 per hour, billed in 15-minute increments,” and the rewrite, “Our plumbers are dedicated to solving your issue without skipping steps or rushing to get to the next job. To ensure you’re only paying for the time you need, we bill in 15-minute increments at $60/hour. When you call for an appointment, please explain the issue and we’ll be able to give an estimate of the time it will take.”
3. Make These Scripts Available to Your Whole Team
It’s no use creating scripts that convey the information in the right tone, attitude and brand voice if no one utilizes them! If your team answers questions by phone or email, load these into an online resource that can be accessed by the entire customer service team. For employees in the store or who work with clients in person, you may want to invest some time in training and role playing.
The goal is not to have a team of robots who repeat the information without thinking, but to create a consistent brand voice and customer service experience.
In training, remember that context will always inform how you relate to a customer. Years ago when I worked as an associate at a video rental store, we continually adapted our responses based on the information available. A customer returning a video game two days late might have been renewing the rental because her kids love the game and want to keep playing. Great news! We’re so glad you’re enjoying it! Another customer returning a film late might share that there was a death in the family and they were just returning from the funeral. Obviously a response like “Great news!” would be wildly inappropriate.
Just like other assets, the right scripts can be created over time and utilized throughout any area of your business that interacts with customers. After all, your reputation depends on creating a consistent experience by phone, email, chat and face-to-face with your clients.