Customer Service and The Actor's Script


This is my handout for my presentation on The Actor's Script by Charles Waxburg. It was an interesting look at how to control and manipulate a conversation to get what you need. Sometimes you just need a different perspective on the same ol' thing.

The Actor’s Script Script Analysis for Performers

By:  Charles S. Waxberg

How does this apply to Customer Service?

Let’s break down the formula for why we take action:

Objective  +  Obstacle  =  Action

If you know what stands in your way you can choose how to best act on it.  When taking an incoming call and solving a problem is it helpful to step back for a moment and remember these points so you can be in control of the conversation.  When we are in control, we get what we want.

Our Objective:  Leave every customer happy and open to speaking

with us again

Our Obstacle: Unknown ( LISTEN until the customer has finished telling their story and Discover it)

Exercise: One Word Story Problem

Six Ingredients and Two Spices (And how it applies to customer service)

  1. The Objective: must be consistent with your words and actions.  Your desire to make a sale, or get off the phone, or stay on the phone, or etc. should always be in line with your major objective in the day.  If our objective is to leave every customer opening to talk to us again, keeping this in mind will color everything you say on the phone.
  2. The Objective must be ACTIVE.  Your objective for the day must be something to DO rather than just a general goal.

IE:  INACTIVE OBJECTIVE:  Every Customer to be happy.  Happy is a desire.  You must DO something to inspire happiness

ACTIVE OBJECTIVE:  Motivate every customer I speak with to Upgrade to Unlimited CLE

  1. The Objective must be phrased in the POSTIVE.   Positivity is infectious.  Let’s spread it by keeping our daily objectives positive.
  2. The Objective must involve your partner.  Your partner is the customer on the phone.  If one of the basic human

    desires is to be understood it would make sense to assume everyone wants to be heard and feel important.  If you dominate the conversation by giving a lecture on how our courses work, your partner is not involved in the conversation.  Remember to take amoment to involve your partner is your conversation.

  3. The Objective must involve conflict.  There is always a problem solve and by searching immediately for the problem, aka THE OBSTACLE, we can assist the customers more quickly and efficiently.
  4. The Object must arouse artistically.  There must be some way or something that you can take home at the end of the day and feel fulfilled in the work that you do, be it artistically or here in customer service. What is it?  Do your best to find the most rewarding parts of your job and reflect on it.

Two Spices

SPICE 1: Stakes.  What is at stake for you? What is at stake for our customers?  How does this affect you when you take a moment to think about it?

SPICE2: Urgency.  “The higher the stakes and the more urgent the circumstances the harder you try.”   How does this relate to your work every day?  Please share with the group now.


If everything you say, or do to someone else is coming out of wanting a specific goal you can manipulate what you want the end game of your conversation. You do this recognizing and playing actions.

See Example from WAITING FOR LEFTY

Every action has it “nature”, and its nature has:

  1. Tone
  2. Rhythm
  3. Physicality.

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