Call center scripts are non-negotiable for call center agents. This is especially correct for new agents, but not entirely, as even experienced agents often reference scripts for clarification. When interacting with a customer, call center agents need a script to follow. A set of written or memorized guidelines to help them interact better with customers.
The rise in digital communications has made call centers take a backseat when it comes to communicating with customers. Regardless of this, customer call centers staffed by actual people is an integral aspect when it comes to building and increasing customer confidence.
Customer center scripts are essential for customer reps. However, call center scripts have given agents a bad rep, mainly for sounding too robotic. With this said, having a customer center script is only the most basic part of growing and giving better customer service.
Effective and proper use of call center scripts can do a world of good for your business when it comes to resolving customer complaints and inquiries.
In this article, we're going to discuss the best practices for using call center scripts, the dos and don'ts of effective customer service call scripts and how to help your call center agents give the best customer service to your customers.
This article has been split into the following four sections for easy navigation. To read up on each section, simply click the links to navigate directly to that section.
What are Call Center Scripts?
Before anything, we have to discuss what call center scripts are. Call center scripts are documented guidelines that dictate and as clear and concise as possible, give a framework on how a customer service agent is supposed to handle interaction with a customer. This is a prepared script that arms a call center agent with talking points and answers to frequently asked questions from customers.
For sales agents, call scripts are guidelines on how best to close a sale or make sure a lead is maximized. For cold calling agents, customer scripts are key talking points the agent needs to keep the potential client on the phone longer and to get as much information from them as possible.
Call center scripts allows agents to answer inquiries, sate and minimize customer frustrations before they get out of hand.
The general idea of call center scripts is to give the agents the tools to deliver a steady stream of information as long as possible and to create meaningful and resolutive conversations with a customer for the best experience.
There are important parts of a call center script that are non-negotiable, some of these are:
- How best a customer service agent should introduce themselves.
- Responses and solutions to different inquiries and problems.
- How to offer additional services or upsell without seeming pushy and irritating the customer.
- How to deescalate tense situations.
- How to round off a conversation.
These are aspects a call center scripts must cover. They vary according to businesses, i.e., if you don't offer any upselling packages, it's completely fine to leave that out of your script.
When and Why Should Call Center Scripts Be Used?
Customer service agents are usually advised to listen and discern what to say when. Regardless of this, Call center scripts should cover almost every possible question from a customer. This ensures that the approved response is passed to the customer as much as possible. Call center scripts also helps the agents in ensuring customers stay on topic and their calls are handled as fast and efficient as possible.
Call center scripts works most effectively as:
- A foolproof plan to keep call center agents from going out of line and saying something wrong, inappropriate or offensive.
- A guaranteed method of making sure different customer service agents give the same answer to different customers, and to make sure that inquiries follow a due and organized process.
- An easy and faster method of making sure agents can access and provide the right information immediately they're asked.
These are some of the reasons call center scripts are important.
Call Center Scripts as a Productivity Enhancement Tool.
Call center scripts increases productivity in several ways. Doesn't matter if you're a cold calling agent, a customer care agent or a sales representative. Call center scripts can help you get the most out of your calls.
Here's how call center scripts increase productivity:
- Reduces Mistakes. While mistakes are not completely avoidable, good call center scripts reduce these mistakes to a shocking degree. How does a good call center script reduce mistakes? It does so by making sure talking points and answers are always in the mind of the agent, if they're not, it makes sure they're never far from their fingertips.
Call center scripts reduces the risk of an agent being clumsy and giving out the wrong information.
- Reduces Training Period. As said earlier, an effective script should have almost all the questions a customer would likely ask in a call. If a call script covers most of this information, you spend less time training new agents. For agents who are new to the role, the call scrips would have all the information they'd need to provide great customer service.
- Improves consistency. For big organizations with multiple agents, there's no fear or risk of agents handling calls in different manners. You can be rest assured that the answers call center agent A would give to a customer, would be the same answers call center agent B would give to a different customer.
- Grow agent confidence. New call center agents generally worry that they're going to give the wrong answers to customers. With proper call center scripts, the fear is mostly abated and their confidence is built with hopes that there's nothing a customer would ask them that wouldn't be covered in the script.
- Provides better customer service. The end goal of a company is to make its customers happy. Research has shown that customer loyalty often goes hand in hand with customer service. If a customer feels like their problems are important to you and their inquiries are resolved quickly, this customer is ultimately satisfied. Great Call center scripts is an essential ingredient to customer satisfaction.
Best Practices Call Center Script
The efficiency of a call center script depends entirely on how you use it. Call center scripts are not lines that should be memorized. They're guidelines to aid the customer service reps in providing great customer service.
1. Employ the Right Call Center Representatives
It doesn't matter how well written your call center scripts are, if your call center agents are unhappy or uninterested, it's bound to come through in their interaction with customers.
Research has shown that over 60% of customers feel the best way to resolve customer complaints is by being polite. And this is something you can't script into your call center scripts.
Call center agents need to have the right attitude and soft skills to begin with, if they lack these skills, doesn't matter how effective your call center scripts are, your customers are going to leave dissatisfied and irritated. This is why you need to make sure you hire the right customer service agents.
Call center scripts aren't the most important part of providing support to customers, it's the agents that handle these customers complaints and proceed to solve them. Without great customer care agents, scripts are just mere words.
2. Agents Should be Trained with Call Scripts
Call center scripts should be an integral part of training new customers. While customers are being trained, scripts should provide helpful solutions on how to handle real-life scenarios.
Agents should be trained that call center scripts are tools for referencing and guidelines and not answers that should be read verbatim. While agents are trained on soft skills to interact better with customers, call scripts should be an additional resource to enable them to handle real-life situations better.
3. Call Center Scripts Should Be Accurate
The general idea behind call center scripts is for the agent to have accurate information that makes it easier to deal with customer inquiry. If your call center script is providing your call center agents with outdated or wrong information, then the whole purpose of a call center script is defeated.
The best way to make your call center scripts more accurate is by reviewing past data. Find out the questions customer care agents have troubles answering and focus your attention on creating answers that give better results.
4. Call Center Scripts Should be Easy to Skim Through
A great skill a customer service representative should know is how to keep a conversation going while they look for the right answer to a customer's inquiry. To make this process easier for a customer service agent, your call scripts need not be easy to skim through.
A call center script that is difficult to find information will cause the agent to pause in between replies and this will automatically lead to a long counterproductive conversation that would leave the customer frustrated and irritated.
A way to make scripts easier is to skim is by using different fonts or even colour-coding certain segments to make information easier to access. A script that's easy to navigate will ultimately increase productivity and lead to better customer satisfaction.
5. Call Center Agents Should be Trained to Talk with Customers and Not at Them
Call center agents should be trained to keep communication flowing both ways. Call center representatives need to learn to listen to customers and understand their queries first before attempting to provide answers.
Agents should be trained to pause regularly and if necessary, repeat the questions to the customers to make sure they've gotten the information and have a clear understanding of the customer's inquiry.
This also helps call center agents give shorter responses and eliminate the risk of talking past where the question has been answered.
6. Call Scripts Should Help Agents Get to the Point as Quickly as Possible
It is standard practice that the first minute of a call should be for the customer service agent to completely understand the customer's inquiry and needs. The rest of the call should be geared towards providing answers and solving the customer's problem.
Call scripts are for agents to effectively and quickly resolve problems that are new to them. If there's anything in your call script that hinders the efficiency with which inquiries are handled and problems are solved, it should be expunged immediately.
7. Remember the Basics
A customer's call should be handled efficiently from “Hello”, to “Thank you and goodbye”. Although this may not be in the call center scripts, agents must not forget that an effective call with a customer starts even before they state their problems.
The basics do not have to be in the script, but they should be an integral part of an agent's training.
Here are some of the basics you need to note:
- Opening sentences and how to greet a customer.
- How to introduce yourself and the personal pronouns to use.
- When to address the customer with their names and how to continue addressing them with honorifics.
- Words that show uncertainty such as “Probably,” “likely,” “maybe,” etc should be avoided.
- Best ways to end a call.
These may seem irrelevant, but they're just as important as the rest of the call.
8. Customer Care Agents Should Not Sound Robotic
While using scripts, agents often run the risk of sounding robotic. One way to avoid a call center script from sounding robotic is by reading it aloud. By reading your call center script aloud, you're able to identify any part of your script that sounds robotic and tweak it until it doesn't.
A call center script needs to sound conversational, friendly and authentic. Call center agents should sound like they're offering advice to customers and not merely reading lines off a script.
Research has shown that customers hate when agents sound robotic. Hence, it's important for call center reps to provide solutions from the call center script without sounding like a robot.
9. Personalize Your Call Script
Customers need to feel like you care about their problems and genuinely want to help them solve them. This is why you need to write personalization into your call scripts. To reassure these customers that you care about them and want to help them solve these problems.
The simplest way to achieve this is by calling your customers by their names. This automatically sets the customer at ease and a sense of trust is shared between the call center agent and the customer.
Taking it a step further, your call center agents need to refer to these pain points during the conversation and continuously reaffirm that everything is being done to help them resolve their pain points.
The goal is for every customer to feel important and that their problems matter.
10. Agents Should Know When to go Off Script
Scripts are the basics of having a great and successful conversation with a customer. This said, even the best and most properly “scripted” scripts don't cover every situation or possible scenario. They aren't infallible. There are going to be times where customers have unique inquiries that are not covered in the script.
When situations such as these arise, it's up to the customer care agents to feel out these conversations for themselves and proceed to improvise to solve these inquiries with experience and skill.
When these situations that require an agent to go off script arise, it creates an opportunity for additional dialogue to be written into the script.
Customer care scripts are parts of the machine, it's not the entire machine.
11. Review Time-Consuming Information First
When an agent gets a call from a customer, time-consuming information should come first before proceeding to solve the current problem at hand.
What classifies as time-consuming information? If a customer calls, it's important to find out past interactions with this customer. If the customer has called before about this same problem, your call center agent should pull up this information and note any discrepancies instead of asking the customer to reiterate their problems, as this can be frustrating to the customer.
Other time-consuming information includes verification information. In a business where customers call concerning sensitive information, it's important to get the verification out of way in the first minute of the call.
These are aspects that aren't necessarily covered in the call script but are important when providing great customer service.
12. Scripts Should Be Revised Regularly
Call Center scripts aren't set in stone. They're subject to changes. Scripts should be updated regularly to keep up with the times and different changes that occur in your company.
If you alter a part of your business that has an impact on your customers, you should edit your call center scripts to reflect these changes.
We discussed earlier that sometimes customers call and make inquiries that aren't exactly covered in the script. If this happens, you should use the chance to edit your call script to make sure that aspect is covered, and the next agent that deals with an inquiry like that has a resource to reference.
13. Scripts Should Be Created from Real Calls
One of the best ways to create call center scripts is by taking inspiration from real calls. This gives you a better idea of the kind of inquiries customers want answers to and the kind of problems they have.
If you're a budding company and you don't have any or enough real call data to create scripts from, you should look at other resources in your customer care channels customers have reached you on like social media or emails.
The bulk of your call center script should be created from questions customers have already asked.
14. Practice Your Call Center Scripts to Create Effective Scripts
To know if your call center script would resonate well with your customers, you should practice your responses with members of your team. This way, you get a different perspective on how your customers would likely react.
This is another great way to edit your call script to remove any parts of it that may come off robotic to your customers.
15. Your Call Center Scripts Should be Knowledge Banks
Try as best as you can, you cannot plan for every possible customer complaint. It's simply not possible.
This is why you should not create your call center scripts to be a list of lines your customer care agents read out when faced with an inquiry. Call center scripts are not lines agents read aloud to the customer while they wait on the other side of the line.
Call center scripts should be knowledge banks for your agents to search for relevant information related to the customer's inquiry.
Your customer service scripts should easily searchable through tags, categories or with specific keywords. There is customer service software that gives you the needed tools to categorize your script into searchable information banks.
16. Your Call Center Scripts Should be Simple
Your call center script can grow to be very elaborate over time, containing hundreds of possible solutions to inquiries. While this happens, your scripts must contain simple straightforward information.
When customers call for solutions to inquiries, they don't necessarily want to be bored with the technicalities of their inquiry or problem, they just want answers to their questions.
Your call center scripts should go straight to answering the customer's question and providing solutions right off the bat. Anything in your script that's not aimed at solving the customer's problems, should be taken out of your script.
17. Optimize for Multiple Scenarios
If there's anything true about customers is that no two callers are the same. Every caller is different from the last. This is why it's important to create your script for a wide range of scenarios and contingencies, to plan for as much eventuality as possible.
18. Optimize for Growth
No matter how well you create your script or how trained your customer service agents are, there are going to be occasions where a customer's inquiry will stray away from anything you could have planned for.
If this happens once, a skilled customer service agent can wing this and improvise the best way to deal with that inquiry. If this becomes persistent, then your customer service script might need an entire overhaul.
Optimizing for growth isn't something that's limited to your scripts alone. Your agents should also undergo training now and again to learn new tips and tricks to provide great customer satisfaction.
19. Don't Script Empathy
When a customer calls, it's because they have a problem. More often than not, you're talking to frustrated people. So, it's normal to be empathetic to their plight. What's not normal is scripting this empathy into your script. A customer can tell when an agent is feeding them a line.
To counter this, you need to train your agents to be empathetic and not feign it.
20. Learn from the Competition
Review your competitors and learn from them. What are they doing differently? How are their scripts in comparison to yours?
This is important because it helps you step your game up and maintain a standard in the industry.
Don't hesitate to call a competitor and speak with their agents. In the course of the call, you may get inspired to do something different or may notice what your competitors do differently and decide whether or not to incorporate it.
As a reminder, your competitors may be doing something unique to their business, this doesn't mean you have to incorporate it into yours. Understand your weak points and how to fix them.
21. Keep Track of Your Success
It's important to keep track of your success and shortcomings regularly. If you have a system that already works effectively, you don't just sit back and ignore it. You need to constantly review it to make sure it's up to date, in line with your business and is accurate.
A great customer service script is never a done deal, as long as your business grows, so should your call center script grow to meet the needs of your business and your customers.
22. Quality Customer Service Should Remain Top Priority
Lastly, but most importantly, the first and foremost goal of a customer service rep is to provide great customer service.
When training agents, make sure to remind them that if they ever have to choose between following the script and providing great customer service, they should choose customer providing great customer service every time. This is a non-debatable fact.
Call center scripts can a lot of good to your reputation with your customers. They can be equally as harmful if your agents rely too much on them.