Business that heavily script an encounter in which the customer is looking for specific, customised information risk delivering poor customer service quality, new research has shown.
According to two new studies from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, customers are extremely savvy in recognising when they are being delivered a script but don’t mind as long as the service encounter involves a relatively standardised interaction, such as checking into a hotel.
Don Wardell from the school’s Department of Operations and Information Systems, and a professor working on the study, explained that even when customers are given three varying levels of scripting intensity – ranging from highly scripted to one that was highly improvised – they could recognise the scripting in all three circumstances.
Having established that customers can recognise all levels of scripted experiences, the researchers then studied whether or not knowledge made a difference in the customer experience and found consumers don’t mind heavily scripted responses in certain circumstances.
In a hotel, for example, some processes are heavily standardised, and customers expect those experiences—such as checking in and getting a room key – to be heavily scripted. Their satisfaction levels weren’t’ adversely affected by knowing they were having a scripted encounter with the front desk employee – such as checking in and getting a room key.
However, the study found if they were looking for a more personalised experience – such as asking for a restaurant recommendation nearby – they don’t want a scripted response at all.
Wardell said: “Companies that are implementing scripts are doing it for operational reasons. They want to control the quality and the encounter and make sure certain things happen and certain steps are followed by their employees.
“But there are wants and desires customers have for natural language and being treated as an individual. The people designing the services need to be careful about what kind of scripting they’re going to use.”