shudder I just called Crowne Hotels to make a hotel reservation. Then I called back to make a slight change. Both times, the account rep greeted me with a chipper, “What is your name so I may have the pleasure of serving you today?” While they sounded friendly, that script is awful. Am I supposed to believe that right out of the gate, they find the mere thought of serving me is pleasurable? If so, how’d Crowne Hotels do it? Can I take their trainer’s training, and turn people into Zombies for my business, next?

Actually they sound like fundamentally friendly people who have been given a really awful script to read. The script made me feel oddly … unclean. Like someone I was just meeting had been told to insinuate themselves beyond my boundaries so I would think well of them. Even really friendly people reading scripts sound like people reading scripts. And when a script says, “It’s my pleasure to serve you,” I don’t believe it for an instant. The subtext is, “I’m scared spitless I’m going to lose my job unless I read this godforsaken quote from a Harlequin Romance word-for-word.”

If you hire truly people-oriented people, let them go off-script. They’re people-oriented, they’ll figure out what to say. Believe me, we customers can tell the difference. And we appreciate it! It’s nice to have a real conversation with a real person who really cares about helping me out. At least, that’s why my script says I’m supposed to say here…

Wow. Does anyone really believe scripted friendshi…

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