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Customer Service Is NOT A Memorized Script!

Business-Building Action From Terry Brock

The other day I had another one of “those experiences with my cell phone carrier.  You know the kind—- they do something stupid and then put up brick walls to avoid helping you.

I wont say which carrier it is but I’m using an Apple iPhone and have to use this one carrier to be legit with Apple (gee, I wonder who that carrier could be???).  I have been using voice and Internet access since December 2007.  Suddenly last Sunday, my Internet access was terminated.  I had been paying my bills promptly every month so I know payment was not an issue.  When I called to speak with “customer service (I’m overly generous with that term for this company) they asked for my PIN.  Well, it had changed so many times that I didn’t remember.  Then they asked me for the last payment and the date.  Last month I needed to add some extra payment as I used more than my normal allotment, so I didn’t know that either.

Well, you would think that I was trying to break into Fort Knox!  The rep refused to assist since I didn’t know those two pieces of information.  They could have asked a host of security questions as many places do.  Instead, the rep kept resorting to the scripted answers she must have learned in some training class.  It was almost like talking to a robot!


Customer service is not about quoting a memorized script to customers.  I know some companies are oriented that way and monitor the calls to make sure those on the phone parrot back the party line.  They don’t think of how real bill-paying customers react to those situations.  They are only interested in following a scripted guideline.

This 1950’s style of dealing with people just doesn’t work with today’s customers.  We want people at companies to be real.  We want them to understand it from our point of view.  And no, merely quoting lines like “Yes, Mr. Brock, I apologize for the problem you’re having’ 50 times (!) is not going to cut it.  It is about as legitimate as a politician saying,” I feel your pain.

It takes more than training employees to relentlessly spout back the party line.  Real customers want real help and that means you have to have genuine empathy, genuine caring and the power to make a change.

My cell phone company could have asked for a variety of questions that only I would know.  Hey, my bank has a bunch of these so if I don’t get through on one, they can determine that I am who I say I am over the phone.

I greatly appreciate security.  I don’t want the bad guys breaking into my account.  But with that security must come genuine caring and concern for the customer.  This is how to make it work.

Customer training must be more about setting the right attitude and mindset to help people than memorizing a script.  A memorized script quoted back too many times lets customers know you are only parroting back the party line and don’t care at all.  Being creative to solve a customer’s problem (within specified parameters) can make all the difference.

I finally got the problem resolved after several more hours on the phone and going to the cell phone’s customer center.  I spent about 5 hours of my time wasted when a simple solution would have been possible.  Believe me, if Apple ever allows us to switch to other carriers, I will probably be one of the first to jump ship.

Genuinely care for customers.  Be creative in helping.  Have systems in place that allow for you to achieve your bottom-line goals by helping customers solve their problems.  This is the way to success.

Copyright (c) 2010, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc.  Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results.  He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at  Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: @TerryBrock.  Join Terry’s Facebook Fan Page at:

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