Dare to Care: Why You Can’t Script Sincerity in Customer Service

Learn why your customer service team must have empathy, sympathy, patience, tolerance, understanding, passion and, of course, sincerity.

Customer Service Team

It’s not that hard to notice when you’re dealing with a customer support rep who is less than sincere. They tend to say some of the same things over and over, such as, “I can understand why you would feel that way and we are sorry for your inconvenience.” It’s as if they are reading from a script… because most of the time they are. I actually had one customer service representative repeat that phrase so many times that I asked them not to say it anymore.

They aren’t really sorry. At least they don’t appear to be. What they appear to be doing is regurgitating the responses they learned in their customer service training classes or what’s printed on a piece of paper. Maybe they really are sincere; but their company forces them to appear to be insincere, because they are required to go by the script.

The bottom line is this: You can’t script sincerity!

The best customer support people, leaders, co-workers – really anyone you work with – don’t get to be the best by being fake or insincere. No, they have empathy, concern, and genuinely care about who they work and do business with.

And, if you can’t script sincerity, you probably won’t be able to teach it either. If people aren’t cut out to be empathetic and caring, you probably won’t be able to teach them, at least not before they potentially do damage to the relationship with the customer.

That said, some people can fake sincerity, at least for a short time. Eventually the effort and pressure to be someone that they’re not will catch up with them, and can manifest itself in potentially angry behavior. That’s why some employees lose their cool. It’s not that these people aren’t nice. It’s just that their personalities don’t have the patience or empathy needed to deal with confrontational customers, especially if they are upset and acting unreasonable.

The bottom line is that insincerity is a loyalty killer. And, while they may put up with it, customers shouldn’t have to deal with a customer support rep who is scripted, apathetic, and isn’t customer focused. How can a customer have a positive emotional connection to the company if the employees come off as fake or insincere?

So, how do we go about getting good, caring people? It starts before you even hire someone. The leadership has to define what good customer service looks like in the organization. Once defined, you hire good people who can support that initiative. Then you train them. Accolades from leadership for a job well done makes employees feel good, especially after handling complaints and problems on many of their support calls.

Getting great people who are customer-focused is of the utmost importance. The best customer-focused people care. They have empathy, sympathy, patience, tolerance, understanding, passion and, of course, sincerity. So hire customer service reps that care, and who already have the personality to succeed in a customer service position.

About the Author

Shep Hyken is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a professional speaker and best-selling author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.

  • Avatar Dialler May 30, 2016, 2:28 pm

    “A life not lived for others is not a life”, Customers feel relaxed and would share their problems when they realize the reps are sincere and ready to listen to the problems with focus and come out with the solution, but, In most of the call centers, they read their script and customers easily realize this thing! As your suggestion points out, we must hire the Executives who work with patience, empathy, passion and of course with sincerity, not like just reading the script. Your article helps the call center industry to groom their work and tricks as well!

  • Michael October 23, 2016, 12:32 pm

    For someone who has spent 15 years working in customer support I can tell you this. None of the agents on the phone do this because they like to do it but because it earns them money.

    The human mind is not capable of this amount of empathy aimed at such a great mountain of people. I have spoken more than 10.000 people on the phone and would be an emotional wreck had I felt real empathy for all their problems.

    In short, customer service should do only one thing. Listen to the problem and try to fix it. No false sentiments and be honest.

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