CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: Scrap The Sales Script!

Before the “Value Meal” I can remember this irritating question, “Would you like fries with that?” echoing through the outside speaker as I would drive through my neighborhood McDonalds. I am confident the person who asked didn’t really care if I ordered fries or not—it was not sincere—it was scripted.  

Two recent studies released by the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business confirm that customers are very savvy when it comes to detecting scripted interactions with sales or service representatives.  

These studies revealed two very interesting points about the impact of scripting on a customer’s “experience” expectations:

  1. Customers don't mind a script if the encounter involves a relatively quick, standardized interaction, like checking into a hotel.
  2. Customers do mind a scripted encounter when they are looking for specific, customized information--say, a concierge recommending a restaurant.  

How does this impact the onsite leasing presentation?  When potential residents are searching for a home they want an experience that’s personalized and customized, not scripted and drilled.

  • They want the interaction to feel sincere, natural, and not robotic 
  • They want to be treated as individuals, rather than a mass-produced commodity

If Leasing Professionals attempt to fit the potential resident’s unique wants and needs into a box and deliver a standard response—it can appear scripted. Too often Leasing Professionals fail to consider the intricacies of each resident’s wants and needs. They deliver a standard “laundry list” of their apartment and community features to everyone.

According to J.D. Power cross-industry special report "Beyond Satisfaction: J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions--Brands That Deliver Service Excellence to Maximize Business Results,” the importance of people as a driver of service excellence has increased substantially since the onset of the recession--even more than the importance of price.

This report revealed that companies providing exceptional customer service tend to consistently employ certain key practices, including:

1.   Hiring the right people.

2.   Empowering staff with the best processes and the ability/authority to make judgment calls to resolve customer issues.

3.   Understanding customer differences to offer the right products through the right channels in ways that truly resonate with them.

Zappos is one of those companies! They are fanatical about delivering amazing service and have mastered the art of telephone sales/service. Their call-center employees are free to do whatever it takes to make you happy—no scripts, no time limits, and plenty of legendary stories about their service.

At the end of the day, it’s the interaction between your frontline employees and the customer that often define a customer’s perception of the experience.  When a customer can tell that the conversation is scripted and impersonal, his perception of it suffers. Every investment you make in strengthening the customer experience is for nothing if your employees cannot demonstrate genuine, unscripted commitment to fulfilling the desires of each individual customer.