The seven deadly sins of call scripting in contact centers
In the second in our latest blog series on ‘seven deadly sins’ in various aspects of call center operation, Pete Dunn, Community Engagement Manager, discusses how call scripting in contact centers can be a double-edged sword.
Call scripting in contact centers can be a useful tool to support successful resolutions. But, there is always a danger of getting it wrong and changing agents into robots. There’s also the risk of failing to deliver the customer’s requirements. The process may have become too prescriptive and doesn’t allow an agent to work with the customer.
Here, we explore the seven deadly sins of call scripting and how to ensure your customers benefit from a heavenly experience.
Not challenging the need for a script
Does your company really need call scripting in contact centers? Yes, your agents need guidance. But it could be just that – a guide rather than prescriptive. Not challenging the need for scripts, or the content of those scripts is an easy way of falling into a poor service experience. All too often, an audit or compliance requirement will ask for a zero-tolerance approach to certain aspects of a call, such as GDPR or establishing customer vulnerability. These things are key requirements for your business but so is an accessible customer experience. The moment your scripts present a barrier to a good service experience is when you need to challenge their use.
Wait a minute, I don’t know what that means
Have you ever listened to a car finance advert on the radio where the last few seconds are high speed ‘legalese’? Imagine if that were your agents talking to customers, rushing through a script that the agents may not understand but aren’t allowed to deviate from. How often in real life do you use terms like exclusion clause or insolvency indemnity? If your call scripts aren’t in plain English then they present a barrier to customer experience outcomes. Ensure your agents understand what they are saying too so they can offer a further explanation if required.
Scripts instead of skills
The unfortunate reality in many contact centers is that agents receive just enough training to go live on the phones. Call scripting in contact centers is an oft-used shortcut in place of ensuring an agent is fully competent. There’s only so much comfort a script offers to a new agent. They could even become a hindrance as the agent stays within their comfort zone of answering in only scripted responses. This fails to address the key need for your agents to receive proper training and development.
Trying to fit everything into your script
This is a sure-fire way of damaging your brand through a poor service experience. If your business is complex, you are likely to have a multifaceted series of processes across multiple lines of business. There may be many moving widgets and digits in the background, multiple external regulatory requirements to meet, and a need for risk reduction in your agent-to-customer interactions. If you try and fit all of this into a script, you’re likely to see your AHT climb almost as fast as your CSAT falls.
Railroading the customer
It’s not uncommon to fail to ensure scripts flow naturally and efficiently whilst offering scope for off-script moments. This then means that you are forcing customers into stilted, transactional, and unsatisfying conversations. Use a framework that encourages questioning, supports soft skills – and where appropriate up/cross-sell – and drives robust customer outcomes. This is key to ensuring the customer achieves a speedy resolution and doesn’t notice, or care if scripts are used.
Railroading the agent
Scripts are sometimes presented to an agent as a series of boxes to read verbatim and be ticked off. However, this de-humanizes the interaction as it becomes an exercise in adherence. If your agents are evaluated against their script adherence, you will create a culture where they stick slavishly to the correct words at the correct time. This could even be irrespective of whether it addresses the customer’s needs. There is a need to present agents with visually engaging and adaptable scripts if you want them to be used successfully.
Failing to review the wider interaction
The never-ending journey to a good call is more than trialing, amending, or abandoning scripts. Take a more holistic view of customer feedback opportunities. This could be post-contact CSAT, complaints data, or reviews on TripAdvisor or Feefo. Ask your customers what they think of their call experience, look for pain points, and build a call flow that has a high propensity for successful customer outcomes. Then, support this with agile, engaging, and empowering scripts. Your agents are then presented with every opportunity to deliver a positive service experience.
BPA Quality can help you to create meaningful customer interactions. Contact us to find out more.