Coffee, Call Center Scripts and Customer Experience

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When you’re training call center agents on their new sales scripts, be sure to make genuine conversation, collaboration, and rapport top priorities.

Scripts have their place, but the human connection trumps all in customer experience.

Let me explain why this is high on my mind.

I’m a loyal Starbucks customer for many reasons, but mostly for the great customer experience.

I have a routine.  My morning begins at Starbucks. Monday through Friday, between 7:20 and 7:30 AM, you’ll find me ordering the same thing every time: a tall Pike and a Greek yogurt with honey. I put in my order, they give me exactly what I want without any fuss, and I’m on my way.

It’s simple and predictable. A straightforward routine wrapped in a great experience, every day.

The Bad Customer Experience

Except for last Tuesday.

That’s the day that the baristas – normally hip and conversational – suddenly became robotic “up-sellers.”When I stepped up to the counter, I didn’t get the familiar smile and instant service I’ve grown accustomed to.  Instead, I got “scripted”:

Barista:  Welcome to Starbucks can I interest you in one of our iced latte samples?

Me: That’s OK.

Barista: OK, can I get a drink started for you?

Me: Sure, I’d like one tall Pike, please.

Barista: Wonderful, and can I interest you in an instant Via packet to take with you?

Me: No, but thanks.

Barista:  How about one of our lovely pastries, bagels, or muffins from our baked good case?

Me:  No thanks.

Barista: We also offer warm breakfast sandwiches?

Me:  Had breakfast.

Barista: If you buy a pound freshly ground, your coffee is free …

Me: That’s OK.

Barista: Anything else?

Me:  The Yogurt.

Barista: That will be $4.85. Would you like your receipt?

Me: No.

Barista:  I can stamp it and you can return this afternoon for a free tall coffee?

Me: I’m good.

Barista: You sure?

Me: Yes.

Barista: Thanks for coming in.

I know the barista was only trying to do the job asked of him by management. But it sucks for me and the other poor souls standing in line behind me.

I understand sales scripts. They’re actually built to enable engagement through conversation, so they need to be embedded into a natural flow.

Maybe some people ARE happy in the morning, but not me. That’s one reason why I have never, nor will I ever, buy anything from a scripted barista or salesperson of any sort, including a call center agent.

I don’t think I’m different from today’s average online customers. They know what they want and where to go to get it. If they have questions, they want effortless answers from a human that cares—or at least is good at faking it.

Customer Experience Done Right

So the next time you’re training call center agents on their new sales scripts, remember the three priorities I mentioned above: genuine conversation, collaboration, and rapport. They are the keys to creating a positive customer experience.

You may not get through all of the questions that the script listed. However, you’ll leave customers open and agreeable to engaging the next time they call.

Even if it’s early morning—before they’ve had their coffee.

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