So many businesses try to remove the personality and individualism from their employees. They tell them what to say “thank you for calling xyz, my name is abc, how may I direct your call” (as much as I dislike automated calling systems, if you train your people to act automated, is there really a difference?). They train them how to discuss each product “product x is make in the USA and has been our best selling line for y years” (if every one of your products are described as great, either you have the best product line in the world or you have very limited integrity).
What if you allowed your employees to be themselves? They need to be trained on the products,services etc being offered but let them use their own judgements, their own wording, their own personalities.
The other day I went to a restaurant for lunch with a group of people. One person asked if the shrimp were a good size and instead of replying “yes” the server admitted they weren’t and that she wouldn’t recommend the shrimp. She suggested some other dishes (this was not a case of her up selling to a higher priced meal) and that person was quite pleased with what he ended up with. The rest of the meal she would stop by to check on everyone and occasionally make a sarcastic comment. She wasn’t being mean or inappropriate but rather was being herself. It was important that she read the people at the table and quickly assessed that no one would be offended. Will we not go back because they had small shrimp? The reality is we will go back because we can trust their people.
Zappos encourages their salespeople to take as much time on the phone as is needed and to help any way they can. It’s not about how quickly they can make a sale but rather it’s about how satisfied they can make their customers.
If you can’t trust your people to make the right decisions and allow them to use their own personalities with your customers, should the solution be to force scripts upon them or to find better people?