scripts.image.july.2016It should come as no surprise that customer service has a significant impact on customer loyalty. Companies are 14 times more likely to sell to an existing happy customer than to a new customer. What’s more, the vast majority of customers (97%) consider customer service to be very important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand.

Considering today’s customers have such high expectations of customer service, companies are on the hook for providing exceptional customer experiences.

Historically, companies have relied on contact centre phone scripts (i.e., when agents read verbatim from a script and follow predetermined steps) to create meaningful and effective interactions with customers.

But research shows many customers dislike speaking with call centre agents who sound like they’re reading from a script. Sixty-nine percent of customers, in fact, report their customer experience improves when agents do not sound like they’re reading from a script.

Let’s take a look at the role of call center phone scripts in the modern call centre.

To Use Them or Not to Use Them? (that is the question)

Despite many customers reporting that call center scripts lead to less-than-satisfactory customer experiences, there are distinct advantages to standardizing agent interactions. As noted in a Smart Customer Service article, there are certain scenarios – specifically, those where agents must adhere to compliance rules and regulations – where scripting can prove to be effective.

The article also notes that scripting can be useful for agent training and sales. “By relying exclusively on a script, agents who aren’t necessarily the best salespeople can show much improved results,” says Mike Pell, director of design services at Interactions Corp.

On the other hand, call centre scripts can make agents come off as stiff and impersonal. Instead of listening to and empathizing with customers, agents not only read directly from a script but sound like they’re reading from that script.

“It’s that kind of robotic, ‘I have been told to say this and I’m going to say it’ behavior that just makes the angry or unsatisfied or frustrated customer go off the deep end,” explains call centre industry advisor Gail Goodman.

What Happens If You Don’t Use Them?

Without scripts, call centre agents risk going off-message and sounding uninformed about the customer or the company. Or do they?

One of the best ways for agents to establish a connection with customers is to demonstrate that they truly care about their concerns and are committed to resolving them. Without a static script in place, agents can provide customers with a more personalized, off-the-script experience, which can result in more customer confidence in a company and its products or services.

The key is for agents to make a concerted effort to sound like a real person – instead of a robot.

A Happy Medium

While scripting does still have its place in the contact centre environment, it’s clear that customers want a more personalized and enriching experience than scripting can offer. So what’s the solution?

As outlined in Smart Customer Service, dynamic scripting (in which scripts are adjusted based on the reaction or response of the customer) can far outweigh the perceived safety net that static scripting provides.

In essence, dynamic scripts allow agents to focus less on adhering to a set script and more on connecting with the customer, providing the type of experiences that will inspire them to do repeat business with the organisation. What’s more, dynamic scripting pulls from disparate data sources (e.g., customer interactions across channels), allowing agents to get a better sense of the complete customer journey.

So Have Contact Centre Scripts Had Their Time?

In today’s customer-centric marketplace, call center agents need to find ways to engage and delight their customers in order to meet increasingly high customer expectations. While call centre phone scripts offer distinct advantages (maintaining compliance, training agents, etc.), what’s more important than adhering to a script is creating meaningful and memorable customer experiences.

callminer.scott.kendrick.image.july.2016Additional Information

Scott Kendrick is VP, Marketing & Product Management at CallMiner

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