In the past couple of weeks, I had a series of calls with my satellite TV service provider. My calls were triggered by unidentified charges on my bill, which were later determined to be for unauthorized equipment and services.
First of all, I was upset that the company engaged in what amounted to a bait and switch tactic to increase my bill. But what really annoyed me was what happened next when I stated clearly that I wanted to have the charges removed since I never requested or approved the services.
The customer service rep said, after putting me on hold to supposedly check with a supervisor, that she was “happy to go above and beyond to help me out” and offered a reduced rate for the service. When I repeated that I wanted the charges removed because I never asked for or authorized the equipment or service, the response was again “I’m happy to go above and beyond…” blah blah blah. She used that same phrase four times in a very long thirty minute conversation. Finally, I asked her to stop reading from her script and to talk to me like a person.
I am finding more companies are training their call centres to follow scripts in their interactions with customers. In theory, this is a practice I support. In fact, I create communication scripts for organizations to insure consistency and focus on the key messages. These scripts are developed as guidelines. However, NEVER have I advocated mindlessly following a script, with no attention to actually listening to a customer. And this is exactly what I see happening more and more, particularly in customer service call centres.
The desired outcome in any communication, not only in customer service situations, is that each of us wants to be heard. That means having an authentic response to what is being said and experienced. That is the polar opposite of an automatic comeback, recited by rote, with little or no understanding or concern with providing any value. That is not customer service. In fact, that’s not communication.