Scripts vs. Operating Procedures

A lot of companies don’t seem to realize the difference between a script and an operating procedure. Companies that use scripts almost never understand what an operating procedure is (a customer service representative can think independently, no, that isn’t possible) and how to use them.

This post explains a lot about scripts and operating procedures. Look at the difference between the two.

A Script:
Rep: Hi, thank you for calling company XYZ. My name is Bob. How may I help you?
Customer: I’m having a problem with my computer.
Rep: Okay, I will help you with your problem with your computer. May I have your first and last name please?
Customer: Mary Smith
Rep: Thank you. May I please have your email address now?
Rep: Thank you. What is the problem with your computer?

An Operating Procedure:
Thank customer for calling company XYZ. Introduce yourself and ask how you can help the customer. Gather client’s personal and contact information (name, email address, etc.) and when ready, ask customer to describe problem. Try troubleshooting as necessary.

The operating procedure above isn’t as well done as it could be. The script is more of a transcript, actually. However, you can get the point about the differences between the two.

Here is an example of an operating procedure for dealing with angry, profane customers (first posted here):

  • Tell the customer that cursing/using profanity will not help solve their problem and that they should calm down.
  • If the customer continues to curse, say if they curse again, you will have to hang up on them and they can call back once they’ve calmed down.
  • If the customer continues to curse, say “I’m sorry, but you’re going to have call back once you’ve calmed down.” and hang up immediately.
  • Describe the situation in the call log and make a note of it in the customer’s account.

That is a good operating procedure. It gives the customer service representative guidelines for actions – it doesn’t spell out what they have to do word for word. When you spell out what the representative should say word to word, you are doing a few things that negatively impact the customer service experience:

  • Your employees sound like robots.
  • Your employees think they are or at least treated like robots. (No one likes reading from a script all day.)
  • Employees will likely get quite flustered if something isn’t on the script and they have to deal with it.

Those are three fairly big issues that seem to happen a lot with highly scripted customer service calls. Call scripts and like are things that Tom at QAQNA could talk about more intelligently than I can, but it is an interesting subject.

Which does your company use and why?

One Response to “Scripts vs. Operating Procedures”

  1. car floor jacks said:

    Mar 14, 09 at 8:16 am

    I must say, I could not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my opinion, which could be wrong.
    p.s. You have an awesome template . Where have you got it from?