“We used to have a standard greeting and some suggested methods for obtaining verifications,” W. writes of the recent change, “but now they want us working off a script.”
W. says that the script was originally presented to staffers as a way to make the verifications process seem more friendly, but management has decided that the script isn’t a guideline for how the conversation should proceed, but is to be said exactly as written.
“It is every bit as uncomfortable for both the agent and the customer as the old verification process was,” says W. “Maybe more so.”
The problem, explains W., is that customers don’t have the patience for scripted banter. They just want to tell you their complaint or ask a question. But the phone rep has to get two pieces of identifying information — and do so in the manner dictated by the script.
And while W. says that verification is generally a good idea, it’s not always appropriate for every call.
“If the customer is just asking for basic information about a product it’s intrusive,” explains W. “And they are quick to say so.”
W. says that customers aren’t angry about the script so much as they are “mostly mystified” the reps’ insistence on sticking to what has been written for them.
“It can make us come across like crazy people, especially when they just launch right into their issue, which is often,” says W. “They will generally just ignore questions they don’t want to answer so it’s not like it’s working anyway. And yes, some of them do get angry and want to know why we need that question answered.”
But the reps aren’t just sticking to the script because they want to. W. says that anyone caught deviating from the script is penalized by management.
“It’s a formal system based on a formula where you get percentages for doing things right or wrong on the call,” explains W. “If you get a poor percentage, it affects your ranking which can definitely get you yelled at by the boss, as well as affect your ability to go out for promotions or get bonuses.”
“I do like my job,” adds W. “I just think that the degree to which this script is being enforced is a mistake. Normal human conversation does not happen like this.”
When reached for comment on this story, a rep for Best Buy HQ provided the following statement:
As is common with large corporations such as Best Buy, we do have guidelines for our customer support teams to follow to ensure that our customers receive the highest quality care. We have not heard from any of our customers (directly) on this topic and if we did we would of course address each concern individually. 100% customer satisfaction is always our goal and we are proud of the steps we take to try and achieve that.