What is “scripted empathy,” and why has it been taking such a beating lately? Scripted empathy is the term used to describe an interaction on the phone with a customer service representative that includes some kind of standard apology or explanation. Now, you might already be thinking that a scripted apology would be a bad idea, and you’d be right. Unsurprisingly, callers don’t love hearing an apology that hits all the right buzzwords, but leaves them feeling like they’re being spun in circles by a corporate entity.
The reason scripted empathy just doesn’t work is because you can’t script a genuine emotion like empathy. When you hear a scripted apology, you can easily imagine it was said to the ten callers before you, and it’s going to be said to the ten callers after you. And how can you be expected to even care at that point?
Loose scripts work in a lot of situations, giving call center agents a way to start a conversation and take it in the right direction, but when you take out any autonomy on the employee’s part, you’re also getting rid of any chance for an apology that feels genuine.
So what’s the solution? If you want callers to feel like they’re talking with a real person who feels their pain, then you have to allow your agents to respond as the situation requires. Most customers don’t need a big apology, or a scripted response to their anger, they just want the problem fixed. Giving an irritated customer a scripted response is only going to anger them further.
That means you have to encourage your employees to have actual empathy for the customers who are calling. Call centers are notorious for bored-sounding or unhelpful representatives, and a script only exacerbates this problem. You have to change your customer service training to incorporate deep listening, and encourage them to respond to a caller as they judge the situation requires.
Your agents also have to be able to see things from the customer’s perspective, while not losing track of what they need to do to fix the situation. Again, allowing your agents to be independent during their calls can help them respond appropriately to any concerns that the caller may have. And when the call becomes a conversation, rather than a customer banging their head against a script, that’s when your agents will be able to display real, genuine empathy for what the caller is going through.
That empathy is an integral part of making sure customers hang up the phone satisfied with their call. Offering great customer service is a complex directive, but the payoff is well worth it. To learn more about how to help your contact center improve its customer experience,watch our video Call Center Solutions for Superior Service. And if you’d like more information on how Kova can help your call center, contact us today!