Customer Service is No Longer a Script; It’s a Conversation


by Tricia Morris

According to a recent Ovum study of more than 8,000 consumers, 74% now use at least three channels when interacting with an enterprise for customer related issues – and this stepping stone approach to resolution is forever changing the way service and support agents communicate with customers.

For many brands, customer support scripts have been a long-time staple for standardizing the service process and ensuring predictable outcomes in customer interactions. But no more, as customer movement across multiple channels requires brands to literally carry on a conversation from one channel to the next.

Seamless Service

More and more customers are now expecting service and support to be agile – that they can start an interaction at one point, whether that’s phone or email or help desk, and the brand or organization should be able to carry over that information and continue the conversation as the customer arrives at the next touchpoint (perhaps social, mobile or chat). This could be across a timeframe of a few days or hours, or with the convergence of channels such as social and mobile, it could be just a few minutes.

The ability to carry on that customer service conversation across one, two, three or more channels without the consumer ever having to start over again is now a key customer experience differentiator, requiring many large organizations with siloed customer service processes to now rethink and reorganize to centralize channels. Add to that, the desire and expectation for increased personalization, and the evolution of customer conversations becomes even more complex.

Says Don Wardell, author of the study “Scripting the Service Encounter: A Customer’s Perspective of Quality”, “(Consumers) want the interaction to feel sincere and natural, and not feel robotic.
“They want to feel like the person cares about their request and that they’re being treated as individuals, not some mass-produced commodity.” The more brands can customize and personalize each customer service interaction using customer data, the better the impression.

So ditch the script. Echoing the words of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty in a recent Forbes interview on ways technology will transform the future of business, “If you have a call center, it’s no longer about a script,” she said. “It’s about a dialogue.”

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