Scripts Can be Hazardous to Your Sales Career

Published on August 2, 2000

One of the negotiating points in the recent Verizon (formerly Bell Atlantic) phone strike revolved around the stress endured by customer service representatives (CSR) in following their scripts to the letter. According to a NY Times article, if there is any deviation from the script, the CSR could have points deducted from her performance score.

In one case, an irate customer called and after having his problem resolved, told the CSR ‘I hate Bell Atlantic, but you’re the nicest rep I had.’ Instead of saying thank you, the CSR was forced to follow the script saying ‘Did I provide you with outstanding customer service today? The customer yelled back ‘Isn’t that what I just said’?

In another case, a customer service rep complained of how she was reprimanded for not following the sales script and trying to up sell an 80 year old customer with 3 way calling, a service the customer didn’t need.

Scripts are hazardous to sales results. I would rather have sales people follow agendas on what to accomplish. Scripting calls and not giving people the latitude to adjust to the situation clearly leads to the customer feeling they are not being listened to, thereby reducing the level of trust and faith in the salespeople and/or CSR.

Concentrate more on listening to the customer versus figuring out what your next line is. Their answers will dictate how you should respond.

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