The vast majority of today’s contact centers use scripting in some way, shape, or form. With the ability to guide agents throughout each customer interaction the feature offers businesses a number of benefits, including:
- Uniformity across all consumer interactions
- On-the-go training
- Notification of cross-selling opportunities
- Compliance with industry standards
- Reduced average handling time
In fact, call center scripts have shown to improve agent productivity by approximately 36% and increase first call resolution rates by 17%.
But as valuable as call center scripting tools can be, they are not always positively embraced by those on the receiving end of the call. In fact, according to Software Advice, 69% of customers have had a better experience during instances when agents did not appear to be reading from a predetermined script. Citing agents as “robotic”, insincere, and incapable of adequately addressing an individual’s specific needs, customers have developed an inherent dislike for scripted conversations. So while the immediate benefits justify the use of scripts is it at the expense of developing true client relationships?
As businesses look to improve efficiencies, remain compliant, and standardize their call centers’ interactions, any solution should never be without careful thought to how it translates to the consumer experience. While doing without scripts is ill advised, call centers need to carefully balance the scripted nature of scripts (pun intended) with the human component consumers gravitate to when properly executed.
So what’s the trick to making the most of your call center scripts? A few thoughts:
Use Dynamic Scripting: Some contact center scripts are relatively static, offering agent’s limited responses regardless of the situation, type of interaction, or consumer. For example, if a customer is calling to complain, it might not be in the company’s best interest to pitch a new product. Likewise, if a client wishes to cancel service, an aggressive script may only serve to justify their motive rather than provide an agent the opportunity to save the business (a recent Comcast story comes to mind). With dynamic scripting, however, supervisors can create a decision matrix utilizing dynamic branching, offering unique responses to any client’s individual situation or need. As a result, cross-sell opportunities can be appropriately targeted and services can be personalized to the specific customer.
Put a Spin on the Script: Scripts are clearly there for a reason—for the agent to follow. But reciting descriptions word-for-word off a computer screen often makes employees sound robotic. Encourage agents to practice reading prompts to sound more personable and excited. Perhaps even allow agents to manipulate the script to match their character or a customer’s mood, situation, or needs. Make it seem as though the script doesn't even exist. While this may require training, practice, and familiarity with the business and services, the combination would allow for the best of both worlds.
Personalize the Customer Experience: Why waste both an agent and customers’ valuable time collecting information your business already has? With advanced integrations between your call center and database management solutions (CRM, WFM, Ticketing, etc.), automatically populate agent screens with the most appropriate script(s) and complement it with the most relevant client data (purchase history, call records, support tickets, billing, etc.). Your agent will be well positioned to succeed, the client will be impressed, and your business proves the winner in the end.
Recruit the Best: While people are quick to blame scripting for “robotic” customer interactions, businesses need to take a closer look at the employees reciting them. No matter how dynamic or personalized prompts are, agents need to be personable, knowledgeable, empathetic, and friendly for the conversation to go smoothly. Ensure your business is attracting and recruiting employees capable of offering sincere and engaging service to every customer, every time.
Offering superior cross-selling opportunities, greater uniformity, improved productivity, and on-the-go training, contact center scripts certainly have a role to play. But as with all things, there are limitations to how scripts should be used and implemented. By catering each script to a customers’ unique situation and recruiting agents capable of making them come to life, a call center has no where but up to go.