The importance of call center scripts for productivity
Productivity in the call center is the number one goal of every manager. The usual way of envisioning productivity is best results in the minimum amount of time. In this respect call center scripts help agents a lot. However, lately scripts have acquired a bad rep. Some agents are not at ease working with them, and customers don’t appreciate talking to somebody who sounds “robotic”.
Does this sound familiar?
In this article you’ll find call center scripts best practices. We’re going to show you how scripts can enhance call center productivity, streamline customer service and bolster confidence in employees. Whether your call center is sales-based cold calling or a customer service center, scripts can be considered a staple of the industry.
What are Call Center Scripts?
In a call center, a script is referring to prepared talking points and common questions referring to the calls coming in or going out. For sales, this can be information ensuring that each potential lead is maximized, and customer service scripts allow customers to minimize their frustration and get the help they need as fast as possible. In theory, scripts cover the spectrum of customer needs, giving the agent an answer for any question a customer can ask. To minimize searching, fumbling, or asking a manager, the customer service script will make sure the agent has all of the answers in front of them. For cold calling, it will give the agent talking points to keep the lead on the phone and get the most information out of them. It can convince customers that they need your product, even if they were apprehensive to start. Call center scripts will ensure that, even if the agent gets off of the phone without a lead, they will have some useful information to move forward with.
How do Call Center Scripts Enhance Productivity?
Call center scripts help productivity in multiple ways. Whether it is a sales script or a support script, these tools are essential for getting the most out of your call center.
Decrease Training Time
Related to increased confidence, the more that is covered in a script, the less time another agent has to spend training a new agent. For the fresh faces who don’t know how to talk to customers over the phone, these scripts will serve as a game-plan on how to approach each phone call. An effective sales or customer support script will cover most of the basics that a new agent needs to be aware of; decreasing the time it takes for them to feel confident on the phone. This will also lower the amount of time that a manager or another agent has to spend away from other valuable work.
Mistakes are generally unavoidable, but a good script can limit these errors by ensuring that the talking points are always on the mind of an agent. Especially in reference to customer service, it is important that customers get the most out of a phone call in the least amount of time. An agent fumbling around, hitting the wrong keys and losing information will decrease both customer service and call center productivity. A script will limit these instances.
The use of a script will give uniformity to the calls that take place in your call center. Especially in reference to customer service scripts, one of the main benefits is to promote consistency across the call center. When a customer calls in with an issue, you can be sure that each agent will handle it the same way. This will decrease the amount of time spent on the phone with each customer, and ensure that all of the agents have the correct answers in front of them at all times.
Especially in regards to sales calling, recording the right information can be the difference between a lead and a dead end. Scripts should have areas in which the agent can write pertinent information about the customer. This will prevent agents from asking for something twice, and will remind them to gather information from the customer.
Call Center Scripts Best Practices
Make them Easy to Skim
One of the purposes of call center scripts is to streamline a conversation. A script that is too difficult to find information on will cause the agent to pause and will ultimately lead to an unnecessary long phone call. This will translate into customer frustration and will inevitably be counterproductive. It is important to use different font and sometimes even color-coding certain talking points. A script that is easy to maneuver will enhance call center productivity.
Learn the Scripts
Costumers want to speak with a person, not a robot. Human interaction is paramount in any call center. If a customer feels that an interaction is too staged, they will become off-put and unhappy. It is important that agents know the script and do not appear as though they are reading from a sheet of paper. This comes with practice, but it is important to put in the work before hitting the phones.
Trust Your Agents
Presumably, you recruited your agents for their ability and expertise. They are on the front lines, and usually know what customers are looking for. It is important to consult agents when developing scripts for them to use. If they feel that they haven’t been consulted, they are more likely to ditch the script prematurely.
Role Play to Create Effective Call Center Scripts
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What do they want out of this phone call? How are they likely to react when confronted with certain problems? In order to create a sales script or a customer service script that works, you must be able to anticipate customer needs. A script is virtually useless if it has no real-world application.
Use Real Calls to Create Your Script
In relation to the above tip, a good way to make sure a script is feasible is to take note from a real interaction. One of the calls with your best agent will give the rest of the call center an example and something to work off of. It is important to know what real customers react to and what they are annoyed by.
Customize Your Call Center Scripts
Scripts are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Customers have different needs and unique circumstances. This must be taken into account when crafting scripts for your call center. Having a few different scripts on-hand will help agents identify the best way to help a customer. Additionally, each agent has a different personality. This should also be considered, as something that Agent A says may seem unnatural or forced coming from Agent B. It is vital to know both your staff and your customer base.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change the Script
Writing an effective sales or support script takes a bit of trial and error to perfect. There is also a good amount of fluidity involved. Monitor trends in frequently asked questions and stopping points, and tailor your scripts accordingly. A script that worked six months ago may be obsolete, so it is important to change it as your customer needs evolve.
Know When to Go Off Script
More important than any script, is that agents listen to the customer and react appropriately. Scripts offer a solid foundation on which a conversation should be based, but call center script best practices can only get so far. At some point, the staff needs to feel out a conversation for themselves. An amount of improvisation is required in this line of work, and agents that only work within the confines of a script will not be effective. A script is a tool, not the entire machine.
Using a call center script is something that a lot of managers are reluctant to do. There is a certain stigma attached to scripts in the industry, from both the agents and the costumers themselves. While they may not be applicable in every circumstance, one this is for sure: scripts work. They improve call center productivity and customer satisfaction, as well as develop a platform of informed conversation with the agent. Customer needs are always changing and one script may not be useful for all circumstances, but a guideline is incredibly helpful for an effective call center. It is important to remember that a sales, support or customer service script is only as good as the agents using it. Trust the agents you hired, and give them the best tools to succeed.