Using Positive Positioning to Improve Call Center CX

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The Support Spotlight welcomes Nick Martin from Harry's to share how Harry's Associates use Experience Engineering to consistently deliver positive experiences.

"Hi Harry’s, Can I chat with Harry Styles?"

"Hi Harry’s, Can I make a reservation for six this Saturday night at 8PM?"

Harry’s is a grooming company that believes everyone deserves a quality shave at a great price. At the same time, our Customer Experience team can still answer “Yes” to all of our customers’ questions using Experience Engineering techniques – even if the question is about One Direction and not shaving direction.

A quality customer experience is effortless for the customer. We’ve started to practice a few techniques from The Effortless Experience including Experience Engineering.

Experience Engineering uses behavioral psychology techniques to improve the customer experience when traditional soft skills aren’t enough and the answer might be the dreaded “No”.

The three techniques of experience engineering are:

1) Customer Advocacy: actively demonstrate you’re on the customer’s team.

"Let’s take care of this…"

2) Positive Positioning: avoid using negative words or phrases such as “No”.

"What I can do is…"

3) Anchoring: Position your outcome as more positive by comparison (use wisely).

"Well it looks like that delivery might be running a bit late so I can go ahead and refund that cost and find you a local retail option to make sure you get it in time."

What is Positive Positioning (or Positive Scripting) for Customer Service?

Positive positioning, also known as positive scripting, is a customer service technique that involves using optimistic and positive language during customer interactions. Customer service agents employ this method to create a positive customer experience, even when addressing challenging issues. 

By coaching your agents to employ positive language in scripted responses, businesses can effectively handle customer concerns while maintaining a positive and empathetic brand image.

In the realm of customer service, interactions with customers can vary widely, ranging from simple inquiries to more complex complaints or issues. When faced with challenging customer issues, using positive language can de-escalate tensions and foster a sense of understanding. Positive positioning focuses on guiding customer service agents to use affirmative language, regardless of the nature of the customer's concern. The goal is to reframe interactions in a way that highlights solutions and customer-centricity.

[Read about how Harry’s used Zendesk and MaestroQA to deliver effortless customer experiences with positive positioning.]

Example of Positive Scripting in Call Centers

Let's drill into a good example of Positive Positioning:

Dee did an amazing job using positive positioning here.

Really important note; the answer to the customer’s question is “No”.

Traditional customer support best practices might suggest a swooning apology and sincere expressions of empathy.

Dee not only avoided using the word “No” but also opened up the customer to future opportunities. As a customer, I’m almost more excited about Harry’s after reading this response than before.


Benefits of Positive Scripting

There is a ton of research out there on rejection and perceived rejection. Rejection leads to an immediate 30% drop in reasoning skills and increases aggression.

If you place someone in an fMRI scanner and flash the word “No” in front of them for one second, you can see a release of dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters which impede the normal functioning of your brain - impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.

I wouldn’t call this an environment ripe for a quick resolution and happy customer.

If we focus on what we can do, we can improve the experience.

"Yes, let’s take care of this. What I can do is set you up with a smooth shave for your dinner reservation with Harry Styles."

Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits that positive scripting can have on customer service:

Improved Customer Interactions 

Positive scripting equips customer service agents with well-crafted language that fosters better customer interactions. By using positive and empathetic language, agents create a welcoming atmosphere, making customers feel valued and understood. This leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the potential for positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Consistent and Professional Responses 

With positive scripting, customer service teams deliver consistent and professional responses to various customer queries. Preparing agents with scripted responses ensures that essential information is conveyed accurately and effectively. This consistency helps build trust and reliability, as customers can rely on receiving high-quality assistance and information during every interaction.

Handling Difficult Situations

During encounters with angry customers or challenging situations, positive scripting enables customer service agents to maintain composure and address issues with a positive outlook. The use of affirmative language can defuse tense situations and focus on finding solutions, enhancing the chances of de-escalating conflicts and leaving customers with a positive impression.

Enhancing Customer Experience

Positive scripting contributes to an enhanced overall customer experience. By showing empathy and using uplifting language, agents create a customer-centric atmosphere, ensuring customers feel valued and appreciated. This positive experience can lead to increased customer loyalty and reduced churn rates.

Boosting Agent Confidence

Having access to well-crafted positive scripts gives customer service agents more confidence in handling various customer interactions. Agents feel supported and well-prepared to address customer queries, even in complex scenarios. This increased confidence translates into more engaging conversations and higher job satisfaction among agents.

Positive Scripting for De-Escalation

In a call center, encountering angry customers and handling their frustration is a common challenge. Positive scripting equips customer service agents with empathetic language to address customer demands and issues effectively. By using uplifting customer service scripts, agents can de-escalate tense situations, showing understanding and turning negative experiences into positive resolutions. This approach fosters a customer-centric environment, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty while promoting a positive brand image.

Customer Service Empathy Statements

Empathy statements play a crucial role in customer service interactions, showing understanding and compassion towards customers' concerns. These statements demonstrate a genuine commitment to resolving issues and fostering positive relationships. Here are some examples of empathy statements:

  1. "I understand how frustrating this situation must be for you."
  2. "I'm sorry to hear about the inconvenience this has caused."
  3. "I can imagine how disappointing that experience must have been."
  4. "Thank you for bringing this to our attention; we'll work to fix it promptly."
  5. "I apologize for any confusion or misunderstanding."
  6. "Your feedback is essential to us, and we appreciate you sharing your thoughts."
  7. "I'm here to listen and assist you with whatever you need."
  8. "I can sense your frustration, and I'm committed to finding a solution."
  9. "I want to assure you that we'll do everything we can to make it right."
  10. "We value your business, and I'll make sure to address this immediately."

By incorporating empathy statements into customer service interactions, businesses can build trust, improve customer satisfaction, and create a positive experience for their clientele.


Many thanks to CEB, now Gartner and The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick Delisi.

A selection of other sources:

“NO” Damages the Customer Experience - The Center for Client Retention

How to master positive positioning when your callers ‘come in hot' - New Voice Media

The Most Dangerous Word in the World - Psychology Today

40+ Phrases to Create Positive Scripting for Customer Service - Comm100

How Disney Creates Magical Experiences (and a 70% Return Rate) - HelpScout

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