“Thank you for calling. May I please have your name and account number so I can better assist you.”

For years I said those words so many times that if you called my house at a point when I was exhausted or stressed, there was a good chance I would answer the phone the same way. 

a voice that sounds barely awake reads in such a drab monotone 

There have been times I have called into customer service and you can almost hear the flipping of the notebook pages while a voice that sounds barely awake reads in such a drab monotone that you are not sure if you are talking to a bot or a zombie. Either way the voice on the other line is nowhere near a live voice.

There is a balance between branding and scripting every aspect of the calls.  The problem that comes with over-scripting, is that you remove the human connection between your staff and the client.  There have been numerous studies on the brain’s ability to handle multiple cognitive functions at once.  Reading and speaking work from the same portions of the brain so multitasking those two functions at the same time are impossible for a majority of people to focus on either task properly. 

There have been numerous studies on the human’s ability to multi task.  There are two that have made an impact on our society. 

In 2006 the American Psychological Association published an article on multitasking. *The article explains the results of tests, experiments, and other research done on its impact.  The research was so detailed that various states are using the results to pass laws about the use of cell phones while driving.  The impact is not much difference with a call center. When the Reps become so focused on reading from a script, they stop listening to what the customer is saying.  Add to that the reps are also usually typing and researching issues during the call as well.  By scripting every aspect of the call, reps tend to be too focused on what they are supposed to say next that they miss key words from the client that would assist in trouble shooting issues.  

In 2009 Stanford University did a study with heavy multitaskers and discovered that they did not have the ability to filter out irrelevant information. **The study is still trying to determine if chronic multitaskers were born with an inability to concentrate, or are damaging their cognitive control.  Either way the results are that productivity and focus decrease. 

Growing up I used to hear from the adults in my life that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.  Now understandably customer service requires some level of multi-tasking, but informational input and output are tasks that naturally have to be traded off and are more of a back and forth function than simultaneous tasks.  

By combining the ability to use knowledge bases as well as researching ticket history, you can set up a basic template for your customer service reps to follow, but give them the freedom to react and interact to the customers as questions are being asked.  

By allowing the customer service rep to have more control over their interaction with customers, they are more engaged, and better connections are made, which lead to more satisfied customers. 



* http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx

** http://news.stanford.edu/2009/08/24/multitask-research-study-082409/



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