Despite the increasing prevalence of digital communication, many customers still prefer the interpersonal connectivity of speaking with a live representative. In fact, in a survey conducted by NICE Systems, 9 out of 10 respondents aged 18–65 prefered to speak with a live service agent directly over the telephone. And while other options, such as website self-service, smartphone apps, and social media are quickly gaining supporters, the simple fact is that call centers are as relevant and necessary now as they were during the 20th century.
But with the advantages offered by call centers come several potential dangers that can easily disrupt their overall effectiveness. After all, when you allow customers to communicate directly with representatives, you are putting your entire brand’s reputation in the hands of a single employee. At this point whatever that representative says or does becomes, at least in the eyes of the customer, official company policy. Therefore, it’s vitally important that organizations take steps to ensure that the live representatives that populate their call centers are consistent, accurate, always following business best practices. To this end, most call centers employ call center scripts.
Call centers scripts, are, for lack of a better word, scripts that live representatives can read from when interacting with customers. These scripts can be as thorough as detailing every word that should be spoken by the representative in any given situation, or be something as simple as a basic outline that representatives can follow to ensure that they’re never left hunting for the correct words to say. These scripts ensure that only accurate, company-endorsed information is being shared, while also safeguarding the organization in regard to legal-compliance issues. In short, these scripts help keep every member of the call-center team unified, accurate, and effective. And given that call center scripts also allow for faster, more-efficient call handling, and that as little as a 1% improvement in response rates means an annual operational savings of $276,000 for the average call center, then it’s easy to see why most call centers have excitedly committed to the idea.
Unfortunately, many customers aren’t nearly as excited about scripts. A 2014 survey suggested that 69% of customers feel that their call center experience improves when the customer service agent doesn’t sound as though they are reading from a script. Stiff, robotic greetings and obviously-canned responses make customers feel undervalued, and can make call centers appear disingenuous, uncaring, or even rude.
As such, many companies are finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place; they need to ensure accuracy, speed, and compliance in their call centers, but they need to do it in a way that isn’t obviously scripted, for fear of alienating their clients. It is possible to create effective call center scripts while also providing your customers with the highly-personalized interactions that they prefer. Here’s how:
Although there isn’t one, single ‘correct’ call center script that is perfect for every organization, there are certain commonalities between the best scripts that can be used to create sample scripts for call center agents. The following sample inbound call center scripts may be helpful in giving you an idea of the basic preferred structure of the scripts that are most effective.
There are a number of potential issues inherent in using scripts when speaking with callers, but these issues can all be addressed by carefully creating scripts that are flexible, informative, concise, and—above all—helpful. Your clients are interested in finding a solution to whatever issues are plaguing them, and expect your call center agents to be able to assist them politely and effectively. More than anything else, your scripts should be aimed at furthering this goal, because when all is said and done, how your agents helped solve the problem will be much more important than the specific words they used to do so.
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