Customer service templates and scripts straddle a line for both customers and reps between super helpful and condescending and tone def. Balancing that can be a challenge.
One of the most tedious aspects of life as an online customer service representative is repetitive questions and the responses you have to provide for them on a daily basis. How many times have you received support tickets with questions like, “How do I cancel my membership?” “Where can I find my billing information?” or “Why isn’t the product working?” If you had a nickel for every time you were asked those questions, you probably wouldn’t be a customer service representative anymore.
Making the problem worse is the fact that, in situations like these, there usually aren’t protocols in place to help you answer these frequent questions based on set instructions or based on training. Most reps for smaller businesses have a “Sink or Swim” type of initiation, and it’s mostly sinking for a little bit.
But, instead of wanting to rip your hair out when you get the 1,614th question about membership or wondering how to help someone navigate a crashed website, you can create a system for dealing with these repetitive support tickets much faster and more thoroughly than before. How? Customer service Templates and scripts!
What are Customer Service Templates and Scripts?
Before we delve into the ideas of customer service templates and scripts, a word of caution: With great power comes great responsibility. Don’t use these scripts when they don’t fit, and don’t Copy and Paste your template from email to email without proofreading and adapting it as needed. You don’t want to receive a complaint from Customer Tom that you called him Jane when you responded to his email.
First of all, what is the difference between a customer service template and a script? A template is essentially a pre-formatted document that you can fill in as needed and that has all the basic components needed to successfully interact with a customer. A script, on the other hand, is an automated series of instructions carried out in a specific order, or a plan of action.
Harnessing the Power of the Template
A customer service template is mostly used for email formatting or for customer letters so you know what goes where and how to make it look professional. It also gives you, the customer service rep, a platform to work from to save time and energy. Instead of typing out every. single. word., you’ll already have something created that will boost your response time. It also means you won’t forget to tell a client something because it’s already built into the customer service template to help cover for your foggy, pre-caffeine brain.
For example, many customer service reps have to answer the “How do I pay my bill?” question, and you can actually create a customer service template for that. (Of course, ask your boss or client to make sure this is OK, and have anyone “above” you clear your template to make sure the information is correct.)
A payment template could look something like this:
Hello ______ (insert customer’s first name),
I’d be happy to help you pay your bill, and also help you set up an online payment account so you can pay through our website moving forward. Visit our website at ________ and please go to “My Account” in the upper right hand corner of the home page. The menu will pop down to show options like “Settings” and “Billing.” Click “Billing” and it will direct you to the different options – credit card or banking account. After filling in that information, it usually takes one billing cycle to process, so we will have to take one payment over the phone.
Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx to set up your one-time payment. In 24 hours, you will receive an update on when your first billing cycle will go into effect with the card/account on file.
We are sorry for the inconvenience, but we hope it’s all sorted out now.
If you have any problems, please call our Customer Service Center right away at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Thank you for your time!
_________ (your full name, support ticket # or support ID)
_________ (your company name)
Why This Template Works
Notice how, within the first sentence, the problem and the actionable steps towards fixing it are addressed, as well as the outcome to be expected. This is the sign of a good template, along with proper salutations, structure, and information. This template can be used every single time one of your customers asks you about payment, as long as you pay special attention to whom you’re addressing and their specific question.
A few hard and fast rules to using templates:
- Always personalize it to the customer
- Don’t sound like a robot. Be as casual as your company’s business model allows
- Always, always proofread!
- Never C&P your last email. Create a template document and copy that, instead
Stick to the Script
One of the best (and most underestimated) parts of a customer service script is that it saves a customer service rep so much stress when trying to find the appropriate answer (or which path to take in finding that answer). Unlike templates, scripts are usually only for the representatives themselves, and the customers don’t usually see them.
Scripts are especially handy when you a) forget how to respond to a certain question b) need to remember the proper protocol for handling a support ticket c) are new to the job. Undoubtedly, scripts can save you tons of time looking for the answers or trying to remember where you’re supposed to send a support ticket.
For example, scripts can save your behind on technical problems without involving Tier 2 or Tech department representatives (if you have that sort of hierarchy).
A technical support ticket script could look like this:
Client: “Your website is not working properly for me today.”
- Check to make sure no other complaints have been filed
- Ask: “Are you having difficulties with other sites or just ours?”
- If “Yes,” ask them to check their Internet settings or call their ISP
- If “No,” ask them to refresh the page and tell you what they see
- If Error message, forward on to Tech department
- If nothing is wrong, ask them to reset their machine and clear caches
- Send to Tech department if nothing works
Why This Script Works
Of course, this is a very loose script, but you can see the idea. There is a vague problem and a process of only a few steps to try and hammer down the exact details as quickly as possible. For every client question (and there will be tons of repeat questions), there is a specific process that you, as the online customer service rep, will have to follow. Customize this style of script to your own FAQs and other ticket types that you want to remember the process for.
If you’re having trouble thinking of times you might need a script to support you and speed up the process, consider the difficult situations you’ve been in as a customer service rep – you know there are plenty. Then build a resource for yourself from there.
Scripts are also great for phone support, if that is part of your duty as a customer service agent.
When using scripts, keep in mind that you should:
- Never read word-for-word from the script if you’re on the phone
- Always make sure the customer support ticket applies to your specific script
- Adapt each script process when necessary or if something changes in your company
- Double-check your scripts with superiors to make sure you’ve got the process right
When Customer Service Templates and Scripts Shouldn’t Be Used
Now that you’re all ready to start creating customer service templates and scripts to make you a Customer Service Genius, it’s time for a dose of reality. Many large companies use templates and scripts to standardize their customer support, but it doesn’t make for the most personal service. If you’re working for a small-ish company or you are a one (wo)man team creating your own resources, beware of becoming an impersonal robot.
Always make sure to review a customer support ticket in depth; don’t glaze over it and think “I’ve seen this before.” Using the wrong template, or not fully responding to a customer’s 2nd or 3rd questions, will often lead to them rating your performance low or not using the service/product/business anymore.
Also refrain from trying to fit old scripts or templates to a new support problem. If you’ve never seen the question that just landed in your inbox, don’t try to fit it to your billing locator template. Work through that ticket and then create a script or template that you can pull out later if it comes up again.
Over time, you’ll know which questions merit a template and which scenarios require a script. Who knows – you might even create a process that your company admires and you might have more than one customer service representative using your templates and scripts.
Latasha Doyle is a freelance writer living outside of Denver. When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys crocheting, Netflix marathons, and planning her next trip.