I was struggling for something to write about today. At the end of a long week of eLearning projects, radio commercials and corporate training videos, it was hard to know just what to focus on when it came to writing a blog. Still, those good people at Google love me so much more if I share the random musings of my brain with you, and so I waited for inspiration.
Fortunately, at the eleventh hour, I was saved by the humblest of messengers, and little did he know that he was to become my muse. It was the pizza delivery guy, that shining bastion of all that is marvellous when you’ve only just become reacquainted with your appetite and realise that there really isn’t anything in the fridge that you feel like eating.
What struck me about this chap was what he said when I opened the door. “Hello, I am from Dominos Pizza and I have your pizza delivery here for you.” Polite and to the point yes, but did he not think that the logo on his motorbike and helmet, plus the fact that he was holding a large bag with the Dominos logo on it would be enough of a clue for me?
Did he think I was expecting a fleet of food deliveries that evening? Pizza for 6.30, then perhaps Chinese at 7.15 and we’ll wash the whole thing down with a curry at around 9?
No, what he was doing was working to a script, and more and more people in business are doing it these days. There was a time when it was just telesales people that droned on at you like a robot, but now more and more people are having their personalities sucked out of their nostrils, only to be replaced by what some marketing person thought was an ‘enhanced customer experience’. Well it’s not enhanced – it’s depressing. Let these people think for themselves can’t you? We all hate call centres but if we thought about it, it’s not the people working there – they’re only doing their jobs – it’s the fact that they have all become faceless automatons, drowning in a sea of mediocrity, where good customer service is simply when they keep you on hold for less than 15 minutes and the music doesn’t have you reaching for the sharpest knife in the kitchen.
My personal favourite is when you call to get some help from a company and the person on the phone simply cannot help you at all, but before completing the call will actually ask “Is there anything else I can help you with?” AAAARRRGGGGHHHH! No, no there is not anything ELSE that you can help me with, let alone the bloody thing I called you about in the first place!
There’s a time and a place for scripts. Without them, I could not do my job, but ask yourself, are you in the same position? Do you really need that script in front of you to deal with that customer, or is it just possible that the person you’re speaking with would prefer to talk to a human being with an adequately functioning mind?