Using Scripts to Elevate the Science of Service
Many businesses struggle with customer service, and often it is because some of the team training hasn’t included effective communication skills. That’s where scripts can help.
Every script you write for your team should be about the science of service.
A key lesson about creating scripts for work
What you write may be based on what you know, but don’t presume that the person to whom you are speaking has the same perspective or knowledge that you have about your hospital’s procedures just because they have a pet, and have visited your clinic previously.
Before talking about how to create scripts…
…we first must discuss the purpose of your communication because your script is simply an extension of that purpose. You can’t write a good script if you don’t first talk about the message and its intention, and you don’t want your message lost on clients because you weren’t clear about your objective.
90% of all problems are communication problems (based upon this author’s 20+ years of management roles). It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about:
• employee issues
• client issues
• a training problem
• a new strategy that isn’t working out as you had hoped.
While your intention is to convey information, you need to start from your audience’s point of reference, or you will fail to connect to your audience. This is why it’s important to focus on some of the fundamentals of communication before actually sitting down with team members to write a script.
The right script will differentiate success from failure.
Kristen Middleton, an “eHow” contributor, noted below how important it is to understand the objective of effective communication when developing your script:
Write down on paper what you feel is important and think about how you want to project your image to the customers. Whether it’s running your business with integrity or responding quickly to a customer’s needs, it is important to have a customer service objective so that your employees as well as you remember it and provide it.
Effective writing requires the same degree of planning and effort as any other endeavor you undertake for your clinic.
Effective writing is often undervalued because it isn’t the first thing we think of when we talk about effective communication. Written scripts give us the opportunity to influence our business. There is a reason you think clients should choose your hospital over your competitors; an effective script communicates the unique aspects of the client service that you offer. A script, effectively or poorly written, will either invite a client to look at you more closely, or your competition more closely.
To this effect, CBSCreative.com writes on their website:
The benefits of good writing go far beyond just the sales and marketing of your business. Clear communication with your employees could help you better meet business goals, increase productivity, provide motivation, reduce errors and waste, and improve customer service....
Some further words of wisdom from Carin Smith, DVM, author of Client Satisfaction Pays:
What clients want to know differs with every client, but one thing is clear: There is often a gap between what clients want to know and the information given to them by the veterinary team. One aspect of your communication objective should be to provide a consistent message…The matters that we see as routine are anything but routine to your clients.
Dr. Smith also quotes from the AAHA, “To enlist client support, spend less time explaining how a medical process is performed, and more time on its benefits (to the pet).”
Thus, client education should be at the heart of your scripts because it should be the purpose of communications.
|Understand what your clients want, need, and expect||Don’t make assumptions about your client’s level of knowledge|
|Help educate your clients about your services and the care of their pets||Don’t talk down to your client|
|Write your scripts in everyday language||Don’t give 1-word answers|
|Shape your scripts based upon client expectations||Don’t try to use ‘big’ words to impress your audience|
|Use their questions to inform them about your services, or what differentiates your service from other clinics||Don’t worry about sounding intelligent|
|Just be yourself (and use good grammar!)||Don’t use words like “Hey, guys, can you hold a sec?”, etc.|
As you prepare to write scripts, consider these sources to help you:
Use your team as they can often mirror the concerns that clients may hesitate to share with their pet’s veterinarian. Remember what your script says will set up clients’ expectations of your clinic.
Before using a script…
… practice it with your team members. This means that you might call them to hear how the script sounds when it is being used over the telephone, or ask a team member to role play a client to see how well they react to your message. If you have a trusted client, ask the client to rate your presentation. If the script doesn’t communicate your objective, the script does not have value!
Case Scenarios—For Both Email and Phone Protocols
New clients wanting credit agreements:
“Thank you for inquiring about credit agreements. We offer credit agreements to established clients that have been with Natick Animal Clinic for 12-18 months or more and have demonstrated a willingness to pay regularly on their bill.
We can provide you with a Care Credit application to help you find a resource that may be able to assist you with your inquiry about financial assistance.”
Clients calling to make an appointment with a departing doctor; will be learning for the first time about a new associate taking that role:
“We’re happy to arrange your appointment for __________ [pet’s name]. We do need to inform you that just recently Dr. Smith indicated that he is leaving the practice for a new business opportunity closer to home.
We will be transitioning your care to Dr. Jones, who has worked with Dr. Smith as a veterinary technician and as a practicing veterinarian. Dr. Smith’s trust in Dr. Jones assures you we are focused on providing you with the continuity of care you deserve.”
Publicizing Our Primary Care Model; booking a follow up for a DVM who only works part time at the clinic:
“Your pet’s primary care doctor, Dr. _________, has indicated that she wants you to return for a recheck in a week. She sees patients on the following days: ________ , __________, and _______. Which one of these days works best for you?”
(We lead the client to the doctor’s schedule; we don’t ask, “What day do you want to come in?”)
Publicizing Our Primary Care Model; client calls for an annual appointment:
“Thank you for choosing ________ [your clinic’s name]. My name is ______ and I will be helping you with your appointment today. I see that Dr. Jones is ______ [pet’s name]’s Primary Care doctor.
Our primary care model assures you of continuity of care for your pet. Dr. Jones has the following days available for your appointment request: ______, ______, and ______. Which one of these days do you prefer?”