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How To Use Call Centre Scripts Effectively

A major contributing factor in Sales and Customer Service calls in UK call centres is the use of ‘tight’ scripts. On one occasion I heard of a major utility company setting out a script of NINETY TWO ‘Alternative Closed’ questions. Each question offered two responses, leading to the next alternative closed question and so on until the end of the call – this ensured that ‘agents’ weren’t able to build any rapport or understand their customer’s need but they lost the flexibility to stray from the script should the customer dare to ask anything not prompted for.

Callers feel aggrieved when trying to connect with these automatons that weren’t able to deviate from scripts. There are, however, certain times in the call flow when an agent may have to use a scripted phrase or passage – for example, the ‘corporate welcome or close’ or legislative scripting.

Call Centre Sales and Customer Service trainers often find that partial scripting on those occasions can be beneficial for new agents or the ongoing development of more experienced agents in new protocols.

Scripts on their own aren’t necessarily damaging to a great customer experience but used incorrectly, they can kill any long-term relationship between the customer and business provider.

Here are five tips on how to using Call Centre Scripting effectively;

Use Call Guides, not scripts.

Using a flexible Call Guide rather than a specific script is the most useful tool as it allows for the most appropriate agent response for each individual customer requirement or query. Organisations need to identify and train agents, Team Leaders and Quality Assurance teams to allow for the blend of ‘formal scripting’ and ‘a flexible call structure’.

Consider how appropriate the scripting is to the level of support required.

Think about the level of support required when considering whether or not to use scripts. It may be more appropriate during first call from the customer to use a script. If you are unable to satisfy the customer on that first call and there needs to be a 2nd or 3rd call, there is certainly less of a requirement for a script. The dialogue between the customer and agent tends to get more specific and it becomes increasingly difficult to write efficient, and meaningful, scripts.

Scripting can assist new agents just ‘hitting the floor’. 

For call centres with high attrition levels, utilising scripts, guidelines, suggested questions etc for handling questions and objections can provide a training shortcut to get new agents up to speed faster. These should be used sparingly and ought to give guidance and support during the early weeks and months of a new agent joining the team. Not only will this put agents at ease but it will also allow them to build their early confidence. However, the best agent training allows them to use their own initiative to help solve them deal with the customer.

Develop Knowledge Management Systems. 

Several of our clients develop their own KMS that can advise agents on ‘next steps’, product information, pricing, FAQs. Much of this is stored in regularly updated easy to access databases.

Don’t scrimp on the quality of staff that you are engaging. 

If you hire trustworthy & intelligent staff and train them properly, it is unlikely you would even consider formal one-size-fits-all script for most calls. If you feel that you have to impose a script on your agents because ‘they can’t be trusted’ you really need to review your recruitment and management processes.

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