Adventures In Stupidity: Phone Scripts

There is probably no more annoying end to be on (other than the end of a short stick) than the receiving end of a phone conversation you’re trying to have, when you know, they’re more engaged to “sticking to the script”  than listening to your issue.

This is all a by-product, as well as a direct result when a Human Resource team at some company buys into a premise that at first sounds logical, then treats it as the “end all – be all” customer service dictate that should be followed to the letter – or punishment fitting the Inquisition of centuries past will fall upon the violator.

Personally, I would like to see the HR teams that buy into this tripe be the one’s subjected to the trials of those yester years, then they would truly know the pain suffered by those of us on the receiving ends of their “great ideas.”

How many times have you been on the phone with some call center or poor representative where every line uttered you know is scripted? i.e., “So, sorry to hear about this. Would you like me to help you in correcting this issue?”

Would any sane person respond, “Oh no, I just called to tell or inform you of it. I actually would like more of this “problem” so I could call more often and waste more time garnering increasing levels of aggravation. And thank you for asking.”

There are far too many to list here, and I know we’ve all had our own interaction in more ways that one. So I’ll assume you know exactly what I’m speaking about.

Yet, there is one that sticks in my craw when I hear it, and that’s the now ubiquitous “gotta say a cutsie, cheery, tagline” when answering all incoming calls. e.g., “It’s a great day at __________(company name here) How can we make your _________(insert requisite pleasurable action) even better?!

These are the most useless as well as stunningly disconnected ways to answer a phone call for a business office that seemingly believes in professionalism that I have ever heard, as well as seen implemented on a mass scale. It’s now being done everywhere.

I hear it when I call my dentist. e.g., My dentist name, followed with their pleasurable insert “how can we brighten your smile.” Same goes when I put tires on my car. e.g., Company name followed by, “How can we make your driving experience” as their pleasurable action.

It may seem “cutsie” at first. However, when you sit through hearing the same lines repeated verbatim over, and over, and over, (did I say over?) again as I did this week when I sat at both my dentist’s office as well as had tires put on two vehicles? Where I had the pleasure to hear their phones ring and answered countless times? It drove the point home like the imaginary steel rod I imagined piercing my skull every time the phone rang.

This is what I’ve spoken about before when the Human Resource department gets wind of some “new and improved” or Today’s “new cutting edge” program in customer service, and spreads it throughout the business landscape infecting each of their fellow brethren offices in a style and manner that most viruses would envy in both the tragic results as well as the staying power. These types of assaults on business sanity as a whole have half-lives possibly equalling nuclear waste.

If you doubt my assertions or my claims of the staying power of such ideas, and want an example of what at first sounded good; yet turned out to be worthless. Look no further than the whole Right Brain – Left Brain movement. It’s still around with ever more “new and improved” versions still being pushed within HR’s across the globe. Yet, the whole argument has been scientifically squashed as well as documented as total bunk years ago.

Call scripts that are strictly regimented and adhered to without deviation will show: The company is more concerned with the appearance of engagement. Rather than allowing an interaction that isn’t scripted and allowing the empowerment of resolution via the agent and customer that ends in both being satisfied.

A script does none of that. It just sounds good at the HR water cooler because that’s what HR “thinks” needs to be said rather than what actually needs to be said – and done.

If you are one who thinks this type of “cutsie” phone answering, or “inquisitor enforced” call scripting is still a good idea I leave you this one question and comparison.

Who will be moe memorable and for all the right reasons? The company that answers following the above examples? e.g., Hi! It’s a great day at _____________. How can I make your cable viewing  today even better?!

You: I’m paying way too much and my last payment hasn’t posted and I have the check # right he………….
(only to be cut off with the next line in the script) I’m soooo, sorry too hear that. Would you like to speak to the person who can fix that?
Here you fill in what you would like to say next:____________.


Hello, This is ACME Co. My name is Mark. How may I help you? Followed by: they listen to you – and then fix it. And if they can’t – they get someone on the line right away that can. No script required.

Who do you want to do business with? Think about it.

© 2015 Mark St.Cyr