Real people rock

A big mistake some companies make is they hire and manage people like they buy and manage equipment. They seem to believe people’s behaviors can be designed and managed like machines.

And a key tool in this strategy is the ever-present script. Most employees despise them. So do many customers. To a customer, a scripted employee sounds like a phony, uncaring employee.  This will not help you improve customer service.

Chris Garrett wrote a post recently about being real vs. phony. Here’s what he says about real people:

“Real people rock. If anything, I would always rather meet an imperfect human being than a fake robot. Be proud to be you, mistakes and all.”

When management forces unnatural scripting on employees, they can be become the robots Chris talks about. They say and do as they are programmed.  And this prevent them from delivering great customer service. Here’s why:

1. Scripts come from management

How much time does management spend serving customers? Probably very little. A smart, informed and engaged employee is better equipped to serve customers than a manager whose contact with customers comes from reports and surveys.

2. Scripts tend to serve the company’s interest first

Anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an employee script knows they exist to help the company get what they want.  But this is in conflict with our real job which is to help our customers accomplish what they want, in a way that works for us.

3. Scripts cannot predict or address every situation

Because they are static and based on history, scripts can never replace the judgment of a well-informed and trained employee. Things change too fast. There are too many possibilities to plan for.

But the biggest problem with scripting and programming employees is that is devalues people. It discounts the worth and the capabilities of employees. It says:

“We don’t trust you enough to do your job so we will map out every detail for you. All you have to do is follow the road map you are given.”

Scripts disregard customers too. When you script your employees you are telling your customers, you don’t care about having a relationship with them. You’d rather just walk them through some impersonal steps like a machine and hope that satisfies them.

You want loyal customers? Hire real people and let them be real. Give them the guidance, encouragement and resources they need to help their customer accomplish what they want. Forget the scripts. Hire real people.