A call center “expert” was just explaining to me why call center scripting has no place in the customer service environment. I mentioned that only BAD scripting and POOR delivery of the script has no place in the customer service environment. We agreed to disagree.
Call center scripting is a valuable tool. When used correctly, it helps a call center agent deliver the correct message, consistently and with confidence.
I know that call center scripting gets a bad rap. We’ve all received telemarketing calls from agents that are clearly reading from a script or have called a company for service and had to deal with a scripted customer service agent that could only say canned responses that where totally useless.
Is that a scripting issue? I think it’s most likely a training issue, a management issue or a mix of both.
When actors deliver their “scripts” in the movies, we sit and watch for two hours without once thinking to ourselves, wow, he really followed the script well. This is because good actors are professionals. They hone their skills so that the script sounds natural. As though the words where theirs. Same with a call center agent.
A scripted sounding agent is a product of lack of training, lack of desire or a mix of both. Usually caused by poor management or a client that does not want to pay for training and believes that agents can just be thrown into the deep end and learn to swim as they go.
Call center agents that sound scripted need more training. They need to understand the business they represent, their customers and the call flow. They need to memorize their scripts. They should know that script inside and out. They need to understand where the emphasis needs to be placed and the pace necessary in delivering. They should practice it until people believe it’s their own words coming out of their mouths.
But what about customers questions? What about building empathy? I have scripts for that too haha! I’m just kidding but just partially. I do find that most customers questions tend to repeat themselves over and over. For this I would suggest creating FAQ (frequently Asked Questions) scripts and you guessed it, have the agents know those just as well as the other material.
In coaching customer service, listening skills are key. There are many opportunities within a conversation to build like and trust with the customer. Even though we have a script for agents to follow, if agents are trained well, they can find “bonding opportunities” with their customers. In fact, it should be encouraged that agents find these opportunities within the call if only for a moment.
A script takes agents on the road from start to finish of the call in the most efficient way possible. Learning how to take a quick detour on the trip to bond with the customer is the icing on the cake for great customer experience.
Call center scripting is designed to scale a great message across a large group of agents. When used correctly, it offers consistent and measurable results and most importantly, great customer service!
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