The value of an effective call centre script cannot be overstated when it comes to providing a consistent and high quality level of service. The right script can boost sales, improve the customer experience and go a long way towards increasing employee morale. It ensures the customer experience is as consistent as possible across the call centre, and can be continually refined based on feedback.
But call centre scripts can’t be too heavily relied upon, and there’s not much more frustrating for a customer than a call handler who is obviously reading from a script. A recent Customer Experience Trends Report suggested that up to 76% of customers expect personalisation when it comes to their customer service experience.
When implemented correctly, scripting provides reassurance for the call handler and a refined, high-quality level of service for the customer. Implemented incorrectly however, and you’re looking at a disgruntled customer who feels they aren’t being listened to, as well as reduced job satisfaction for call handlers.
Why have a call centre script?
A great script is an asset to any contact centre. Scripts are pre-written guides that help agents make sales, handle customer queries and resolve issues quickly and professionally. They can give agents confidence when it comes to guiding a customer through an issue.
Additionally, a call centre script ensures the service is consistent no matter which agent a customer speaks to. While not a replacement to training, scripts can dramatically reduce the training time a new recruit requires.
Tips For an Effective Script
While the right script can lead to an increase in revenue and an improved customer experience, the wrong script can lead to agents seeming robotic and inauthentic.
There’s a balance to be struck. You want agents to feel confident that they have guidelines to follow, but you don’t want them relying on scripts too heavily.
Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for call centre scripting.
Perfect the opening
A good opening is paramount whether the agent is part of a sales or customer service team. This is the agent’s chance to start the exchange on the right foot, and it’s even more essential if the customer has become frustrated after waiting in a long queue.
Integrated call support can help here. On-screen pop ups can provide the agent with basic information about the customer before they take the call. This allows the agent to answer the phone in a friendly and professional manner which follows a script, yet is still personalised to the customer.
Guide agents with software
Scripting software can be used to guide agents and help them appear authentic even when they are reading from a script.
Software makes it possible to develop scripts which can be easily customised, and will walk agents through the call in real-time. Agents are provided with the right information at the right time.
Prepare for a range of scenarios
Sticking to a script too rigidly can make it difficult for agents to authentically engage with a customer and get to the bottom of an issue. Ensuring your script caters for a range of scenarios will give agents the ability to carefully listen to the customer, trusting that the script is there when they need it.
It’s important the script also caters for exchanges that aren’t positive. Sometimes, no matter the ability of the agent to diffuse a situation, a customer is simply having a bad day. Agents should be prepared for frustrated customers, complaints and even abusive behaviour. Ensuring the agents have help to hand to help them deal with these situations will give them confidence every time they take a call.
Write the script in spoken English
The call centre script is to be spoken, not read. Long paragraphs will cause the agent to sound mechanical. Omit any information that’s not relevant, and use contractions. While ‘I am’ reads better, it sounds robotic when spoken allowed.
Call monitoring and recording will allow team leaders to adapt the script based on the individual agent and their natural way of speaking. Have each agent read the script out loud to ensure it suits their accent and mannerisms.
Provide space for listening
Customer service operatives should ensure that the first portion of their conversation involves listening to the customer’s issue and diverting from the script if needed.
This is important when it comes to both customer service and sales. It’s important that the script provides space for customer responses. A good salesperson will be able to ask thoughtful and insightful questions that the customer wants to hear. The customer should feel as though the agent is trying to solve a problem for them, and not trying to sell them a product.
Train agents to go off-script if needed
A big mistake many call handlers make is relying too heavily on the script. It’s important to train handlers to take each call as it comes. While scripts can be very helpful when it comes to dealing with certain issues, they are not a replacement for good training.
Personalisation makes customers feel valued, and personal attention is difficult to achieve if the agent is relying too heavily on a script.
Adapt the script based on feedback
Give customers the opportunity to provide feedback on the service they require to help you pinpoint areas of the script that need adjusting. The script can be adapted and adjusted based on the experience of the customers.
Quality assurance is a key part of developing an effective script that makes agents feel confident and customers feel valued. A combination of customer feedback and call monitoring will enable you to refine your script.
Integrate the practices of top-performing agents
It’s not just about removing what’s not working. Look at the techniques and mannerisms of your very best agents to see what they are doing differently to those who have less success. Tailoring a script based on the behaviour of the best agents will ensure that best practices are being shared throughout the call centre.
Call Centre Scripting Software
Scripting software is a programme which helps guide call handlers through their calls with customers. It doesn’t tell agents what to say, but instead allows team leaders to write flows and scripts which can help agents when they are on a call. Agents can access a dynamic script via their desktop.
While traditional scripts can cause the agent to come unstuck if they are pressured or hit with an issue they haven’t prepared for, implementing scripting software allows for a more flexible approach.
Scripting guides are usually made up to step-by-step instructions, flowcharts and prompts. There’s a number of benefits of using scripting software over a traditional script.
Improved Agent Performance
A key benefit of scripting software is that it can improve the performance of call handlers. Agents are able to take a call knowing they have a dynamic script to hand which can help them resolve a variety of issues, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all list of instructions.
Better Staff Satisfaction
Improving agent performance will have a knock-on effect of boosting staff satisfaction. Agents who are performing well will feel more motivated at work.
Agents are simply more confident when they have a script to follow. Dealing with disgruntled customers is part and parcel of working in a call centre, but having the information to hand to help a customer with whatever issue they are facing will ensure an exchange is less likely to turn negative. More positive conversations will improve staff satisfaction and subsequently reduce turnover.
If an agent is under a lot of pressure or tackling multiple projects at once, human error is likely to increase. Human error can be costly. Missing steps or information can reduce customer satisfaction and lead to issues with compliance.
By using software which guides agents through a range of scenarios, fewer mistakes will be made. Agents have less information to memorise, as they are provided with the information they need, at the time they need it.
Scripting software can help agents meet and exceed their KPIs. Call handling time, first call resolution and average handling time can all be improved by implementing scripting software. A script that is continually adjusted based on feedback will lead to more efficient call handling and improved performance across the board.
Reduced Training Costs
Scripting software is thought to reduce training requirements by as much as 70%.
That said, it’s not a replacement for staff training. Hiring a new agent, providing them with a script and leaving them alone is unlikely to reap good results. But software can guide new agents and ensure they don’t need to memorise everything all at once.
How does it work?
Scripting software helps guide call handlers through an exchange with a customer. The software provides tools to help team leaders and managers format and write their call scripts. When on a call, the script is displayed on the handler’s desktop.
A dynamic scripting software will utilise tools such as decision trees or flow charts. Agents can input the customer’s answers and be provided with the appropriate response.
The script helps the agent make an informed decision and solve the customer’s queries. The dynamism means the flow of the call isn’t interrupted, and the agent still sounds natural and authentic.
Trying to improve customer service in your call centre? Arrange a free trial with EvaluAgent or get in touch for more information on our platforms.