Ana Khlystova
May 10, 2019 | 11 min read

If you were ever asked for a refund or had to report a feature request, you probably work in customer service or have talked to your customers once or twice. And you know the pain of answering all of the same questions over and over again, don’t you?

But what if I tell you those are not just the same questions, those are some useful customer service scenarios material right there. What I mean is that you can take those typical requests, process them and utilize them.

In this article, we’re going to talk about what customer service scenarios are, how to create them and how to use them for advancing your customer service. We’ll also draw a few generalized examples with pre-made answers you can save right now and use in your business.

1. What are customer service scenarios?

Your customer service team deals with all kinds of people with all kinds of problems on a daily basis. Some issues are quite unique and require their particular attention, while a good half of them are repeating themselves.

If you put all those typical conversations together, you’ll be looking at your very own customer service scenarios.

Basically, a customer service scenario is a schematic script with a bunch of pre-made answers to some common questions or issues.

You can think of customer service scenarios as of a basic flowchart with a few options of how you can answer a particular request:

If you check existing article on the topic, you’ll see that they mostly concentrate on angry or difficult customer service scenarios. And while it’s important to pay particular attention to challenging situations first, there are many typical examples of good customer service situations  that can make a great scenario, too.

Another question is, how exactly can those good or bad customer service scenarios help? And why would you need them?

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2. Why do you need customer service scenarios?

Don’t be mistaken, though. Customer service scenarios are not for memorizing them. You shouldn’t know them by heart and repeat them to your clients word for word. They are more of pointers that should help you quickly get ahold of the situation and move in the right direction. Your customer service team can refer to them when they feel confused about how they should handle a particular situation.

Basically, there are two main use cases for them. First of all, such customer service scenarios examples can (and should) be used in training new members of your team and upgrading their skills. Secondly, it’s a great way to prepare them for emergency situations.

Let’s now talk about each of these use cases in detail.

Customer service scenarios for training newcomers

There are several reasons why you need to think about utilizing customer service training scenarios when hiring new team members and teaching them how to operate your customer support to its max potential.

Even at the hiring stage deploying your own preconceived customer service scenarios for interviews allows you to see how newcomers will approach the issues your company is dealing with daily.

Set up the scene and give your hire a minute to come up with their solution. It probably won’t be the best right away. But it will help you feel what works in their approach and what needs flashing out.

Customer service scenarios for role plays

Customer service role playing exercises are essential for improving your team’s skill-set, as well as for onboarding new hires. Don’t feel intimidated by the word ‘role-play’, as it simply designates a training situation where an experienced member of a team plays the role of an angry (or otherwise disappointed) customer, and the other tries to come up with a solution.

Based on your own experience and the data your customer service solution provides, you can create several role play scripts that can be referred to as the ‘right’ answers.

To give you an idea, here’s a quick example of how it might look like.

SETUP: Someone signed up for a one-year trial and added their credit card. They forgot to cancel before trial ends so they were charged a yearly subscription. Your company doesn’t have an official refund policy, but they are asking for a refund. Your move.

SCARED CUSTOMER: Help me ASAP, my boss will kill me, I registered for your trial but forgot to cancel! I need to discuss the deal with my manager before we actually make a buying decision. Please do something.

OPERATOR: Hey! No problem. The only thing is, it might take some time, as we don’t have an official refund policy. I will get in touch with our payments platform and initiate a refund on your behalf. Don’t worry, you should get your money back in seven working days.

As a customer support operator, you have two choices in this case. As your company doesn’t have a refund policy, it’s possible to refuse your customer’s request and keep their money.

On the other hand, think about the consequences. A disappointed customer will never subscribe for real, and they might even leave a negative review for your business. What you win in several hundred bucks you lose in the word of mouth and potential customer loyalty.

But remember, you can’t be too reliant on customer service scenarios. Allow some space for your team to improvise and let them show their own personality.

Customer service scenarios for emergency protocols

Customer service scenarios can be a great resource to refer to when your company’s faced a crisis. Everyone hopes it doesn’t happen to them, but it will. And you can prepare yourself and your team for the hard times by giving them some ready-made scenarios and responses examples to rely upon.

Think about the worst situations that might happen to your business and make a list. For instance:

  • Data breaches
  • Server outage
  • Data loss
  • Crucial bug
  • DDoS attack
  • Payment difficulty

You can then work out some schematic angry customers scenarios where you’ll show your team how they should deal with customers’ frustration and explain everything in detail without making it worse.

SETUP: Your company has just found out you had lost some user data including personal information like passwords. It might have become available for third parties to buy and misuse. You’ve dealt with data breach and sent an email explaining everything to your customers. But they’re confused and scared and keep asking your team what they should do to protect themselves.

EVEN MORE SCARED CUSTOMER: Hi! I just got your email. I’m super worried that hackers will steal my identity. What should I do?

OPERATOR: Hi! First of all, we are very sorry for putting you through this. We’ve already fixed the situation. You can be sure we’ve conducted a thorough inner investigation which showed that no  credit card data or personal information beyond your password was leaked.

If you’ve changed your password as we recommended in our email, your data is secure with us. We value the privacy of your information and have already implemented additional security measures to prevent such breaches in the future.

Just remember, you shouldn’t panic at situations like this. While having a data breach or losing customers’ data is nothing pleasant, it happens to the best of us. Just be open and transparent about what happened, while also staying calm and confident to reassure your users.

Source: Engadget

11 customer service scenarios examples to get your team started

It’s obvious that no one knows your typical customer service situations better than you. No matter how many situations we might come up with, you still need to look through your past experience, the data you have, and previous conversations to create your own scenarios which will be applicable to the specific niche you’re working in.

But here’s a few scenarios every customer support operator will encounter at some point. Understanding how to behave in these situations means providing a better service and nurturing more loyal customers.

The best thing about these scenarios is that you can take any of the customer service responses examples and use them as canned responses. For instance, here’s how you do it in HelpCrunch. Go to Settings, choose ‘Saved responses’ from the main menu and press the ‘Add new’ button. After this you just paste any example you need and you’re good to go.

1. Customer service scenario for feature requests

EAGER CUSTOMER: Hi! I really like what you’re doing with [your product]. However, I feel like it lacks a [very specific feature that will require significant effort on your part to implement]. Do you think you’ll be adding it in the next update?

*If you can add the feature:*

OPERATOR: Hello! Thanks for letting us know. We always encourage feature requests as they help us grow and improve. Actually, you’ll be pleased to know that the feature you need is already on our roadmap for the next quarter. Our devs are hard at work building it, and they will be eager to hear what you might be looking for to prioritize their resources. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready.

*If you can’t add the feature: *

OPERATOR: Hello! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s not the first time somebody is asking for that feature, and although we don’t have specific plans to implement it in the near future (our resources are limited!), I’ll be adding your vote to our task backlog. When the right time comes, I’ll let you know!

In the meantime, did you try [a more or less similar feature or alternative solution]? Let me know if you need help with it.

2. Product exchange customer service scenario

Tip: The best you can do in a situation when a customer wants to return or exchange the product they’ve already purchased is to answer as fast as possible Their frustration and anxiety will only grow as they wait, which may quickly result in negative reviews all over the web. Answer something – anything to let them know you’re working on the issue.

UNSATISFIED CUSTOMER: Hi! I received [item 1] 2 days ago, but it turned out it doesn’t fit my needs. May I return it or exchange to something similar?

OPERATOR: Hi! No problem, you can exchange [item 1] right away. Could you please tell us more about what you need and we’ll pick something for you. Maybe you’ll find [item 2] or [item 3] more suitable?

UNSATISFIED CUSTOMER: [Item 2] actually looks nice. What do I do next?

OPERATOR: Great! Please send us your [item 1] and we’ll send [item 2] to you. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

3. ‘Failed delivery’ customer service scenario

DISAPPOINTED CUSTOMER: Hi, I ordered [a specific item] from you 2 weeks ago, but my parcel never arrived. I want my money back?

OPERATOR: Hi! I’m sorry you didn’t receive your delivery. We can either send you another sample – that like the one you ordered or you can initiate a refund. Either way, we’ll be happy to assist. Please note that it usually takes 3 to 5 business days for a refund to go through.

4. Angry customer scenario

FURIOUS CUSTOMER: I’m trying to [do something important to them] which I need for tomorrow’s presentation and it doesn’t work!! It’s not the first time and I’ll be in real trouble if the feature doesn’t start working SOON. Please assist????

*If the fault is yours:*

OPERATOR: Hi, I’m already investigating the issue. It seems to me that the [reason] is the reason. I’ve already notified the dev team, and you can be sure it’s going to be fixed in [estimated period, preferably hours, if not minutes]. I’m super sorry for all the trouble —please accept this discount to make up for it.

*If the fault is on the customer’s end:*

OPERATOR: Hi, sorry to hear that. The thing is, I’ve looked into the issue and it seems to me that the problem is on your end. Have you tried [a possible solution]? Let me know how it goes!

5. ‘Asking for refund’-scenarios

UNCERTAIN CUSTOMER: Hey! I bought [your product] a couple of days ago. But now I realize it isn’t what I’m actually looking for. Please refund as soon as possible.

OPERATOR: Hi! We’re sorry to hear that. Don’t worry, I’ve already made the request, so expect to see your money back by [date]. Don’t hesitate to write me back if anything goes wrong or if you have more questions. BTW, I’d really appreciate if you tell us what went wrong — we’re always looking for an opportunity to improve.

6. ‘Why are you so expensive?’ scenario

COST-CONSCIOUS CUSTOMER: Greetings! I’m really in love with your product, but I think it’s too expensive. Are there any plans to make it cheaper? Or maybe you can offer me a discount? I’ll be happy to subscribe if not for the price.

OPERATOR: Hello! I know it can be a bit steep, but that money goes to covering the costs of our servers, paying our team, and adding new features. But did you know that we’re offering a special discount [yearly subscription discounts / wholesale purchases / upcoming holiday discounts / discounts for nonprofits, etc]? Is it what you’re looking for?

7. ‘How are you different from competitors?’ scenario

Tip: It’s useful to make a couple of comparison pages where you explain how you’re different from the competition feature by feature. Requests like these come in often enough that it’s easier to send the customers a link to a table than try to explain it anew every time you’re bound to forget something anyway. Take a look at HelpCrunch’s own comparison page vs Intercom or vs Zendesk to get inspired.

PICKY CUSTOMER: Hi, I’m looking for [specific product] alternative, can you explain how you’re different from [specific product]?

OPERATOR: Hello! While [specific product] is a great solution, we actually beat them by [feature 1, feature 2, price]. Take a look at our comparison page if you want to learn more: [link]

If you still have doubts after that, I’ll be happy to schedule a demo with you and showcase the difference between our two products in action.

8. ‘Is your service down?’ scenario

UNPLEASED CUSTOMER: Hi, I keep getting a 500 error when trying to access my profile, is your service down?

OPERATOR: Hey there. Unfortunately we’re indeed facing some troubles with our server provider. Our team is hard at work fixing the problem and we should be up in [estimated period]. We’re really sorry for the inconvenience!

9. Customer service scenarios related to bug reports

METICULOUS CUSTOMER: Hello. I’m trying to [do a specific action] but it seems that you have a bug that prevents me from doing it. Please confirm it’s not something on my end.

OPERATOR: Hello! I’ve investigated the issue myself and it seems that the bug is indeed happening on our side. I’ve already reported it to our dev team, so expect it to be fixed in [estimated period]. In the meantime, could [an alternative solution] help you do what you were trying to?

10. Trash talking scenarios

Tip: Sometimes people just want to watch the world burn. Not every customer is going to be polite, pleasant and understanding, so you should expect to encounter situations where nothing is clear – except that the person on the other end is very, very angry. There’s nothing you can do though: haters gonna hate.

ANNOYING CUSTOMER: You suck and your product sucks!!!! Go to hell!

OPERATOR: Hi, I’m sorry to hear your frustration! If there’s anything I can actually do to make you feel better, please let me know. [*optionally* sad cat gif]

11. Customer service scenarios for approaching foreign customers

Tip: Sometimes people don’t know the language of your service, so they try to communicate with you in their native language. You can always ask them to switch to English (if that’s an option), but a better choice would be to use Google Translate and try to communicate with the customer that way. Just make sure to mention it to them beforehand.

FOREIGN CUSTOMER: Привет! Когда будет интеграция с Яндекс.Метрикой? Заждались уж!

OPERATOR: [Hi, unfortunately I don’t speak Russian but I’ll try to use Google Translate hope we’ll understand each other! Sorry for the mistakes. If I understood you correctly, you want us to build an integration with Yandex.Metrika, an analytics service. Sadly this service isn’t popular among our core userbase, but we’ll remember it in case we’ll be localizing our product for your market. Is that a top request for you?]

Google Translate: Привет, к сожалению, я не говорю по-русски, но я постараюсь использовать Google Translate – надеюсь, мы поймем друг друга! Извините за ошибки.

Если я вас правильно понял, вы хотите, чтобы мы создали интеграцию с Яндекс.Метрикой, аналитическим сервисом. К сожалению, этот сервис не пользуется популярностью среди нашей основной базы пользователей, но мы запомним его на случай, если мы локализуем наш продукт для вашего рынка.

Это главный запрос для вас?


The job of a customer service operator isn’t an easy one. There’s a lot of room for a mistake. It’s not possible to account for everything. But if you’re not prepared for a difficult situation, it would get that much worse.

That’s why customer service scenarios are so essential. Pre-made scripts allow you to train the newcomers, improve your skill-set by roleplaying typical issues, and have something to refer to in uncertain situations.

And if you feel like utilizing customer service scenarios right away, just register for a free 14-day HelpCrunch trial and start doing just that. You can quickly save any of the suggested replies as ‘saved responses’, edit them as you like and accelerate your customer service drastically. Sign up and try it yourself.

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