Agent Scripts: Strict vs. Personalized

Scripts are representations of information to be laid out while conversing with prospects or customers. They cover details from greetings to various customer service policies and ways to deliver organization news. Simply stated, scripts offer essential guidelines to call center agents who otherwise would potentially struggle with expressing key ideas. If used properly, scripts can help agents be more fluid when interacting with customers.

Scripts offer essential guidelines to call center agents who otherwise would potentially struggle with expressing key ideas. If used properly, scripts can help agents be more fluid when interacting with customers.

A well formulated and executed script can be the difference between prompting a dislike in prospective customers and winning a sale. In contrast, poorly planned scripts can be detrimental when dealing with clients. Is it just a matter of coming up with the script? Of course not! The use matters, too. At some call centers, employees are permitted to throw in some of their own choice words here and there; while in others, they're required to use the script verbatim.

Which of the two is the ideal method?

Will you increase customer satisfaction by improving a strict script technique or by adopting a personalized, less strict method? In this post, we'll be evaluating the two, comparing each to give you a clear understanding, which will lead to a more informed decision on scripts.

Let’s get started!

When you incorporate the use of scripts in your business, you can:

  • Avoid human error

Scripts serve to remind the agents of the process in place, which minimize chances of drifting to irrelevant topics when dealing with customers. This saves time that would have otherwise been wasted in the case of personalized scripts.

  • Promote consistency

With strict scripts, you’re assured that the client will get a similar response when they contact you with an issue, regardless of the agent who speaks to them. Such consistency is necessary when ensuring that all the customers have a unique yet similar experience with your brand; a scenario that may be different when making use of personalized scripts.

  • Increase agent confidence

When agents have phrases to use as a guide, they’ll spend more time listening to the customer and exploring the opportunities there, rather than worrying or formulating how to respond to their queries. This will boost their confidence as well as result in more productive engagement with customers per interaction.

  • Reduce training time

Unlike in a no script call center, agents can learn your company’s policies and procedures through the scripts and won't have to spend as much time in training or reciting phrases. This not only saves time but also saves money and resources on training expenses. In addition, scripts can minimize agent turnover, if used correctly, which will improve your company's bottom line.

  • Increase contact center performance and customer satisfaction

They say a good script is always a work in progress. By reviewing and monitoring how the top performing agents handle calls, you can include some of their excellent practices into your scripts. You can also use these practices to teach lower performing agents, which can boost customer satisfaction rate.

  • Integrate your systems

Scripts are easier to integrate with IVR and PBX systems, which help customers access information about your brand, while also ensuring you respond to their needs accordingly… a merit that can be foregone when using personalized scripts technique.

Note, scripts are a good guide, but it's more important to ensure customers feel like they’re heard and understood. To achieve this, agents should be in a position to rearrange, rephrase or even ditch the write-up if necessary. Is this possible when following strict scripts?

Below are the disadvantages of strict phrases when compared to personalized ones.

  • They can minimize customer retention rate

Customers will become long term clients if they build rapports with your agents. To achieve this calls for effective assistance. However, timely response to calls doesn't count for much if you can't solve the client’s issues. Studies show that customers are always willing to pay more and wait longer to have their issues addressed. Now, imagine your agents are just following scripts verbatim with no room to respond effectively and flexibly to individual problems. This will result in client's dissatisfaction and consequently, lower customer retention.

  • They dehumanize experienced agents

Scripts minimize agents’ empathy which is a necessity for customer service calls, especially when there’s a need to apologize for whatever complaint a customer may be having regarding your business. Requiring an agent to read scripts verbatim can hinder the interaction with customers, add unnecessary dialogue, and worse; this can negatively affect the customer experience.

  • They require regular updates

Scripting takes resources like labor and capital and the fact that you have to keep updating phrases for agents to remain effective and relevant means using resources consistently. In addition, their change is inevitable when it comes to new products, offers, etc. which calls for more resources, an expenditure that can be avoided by adopting personalized scripts.

There you have it! Both sides of the coin (scripts in call centers)... a hotly debated topic! In order to run a successful business, do your homework thoroughly. Gauge the relevance of the scripts based on their benefits and the risk associated with both. Only make a decision after a critical review or find a way to compromise the two methods.

Read more from QA experts and Ask.Ytel content partner Call Criteria here. 

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About The Author

Call Criteria, a Ytel Content Partner

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Call Criteria is a call center quality assurance agency. They help call centers out of the shadows and into the limelight of compliance and customer satisfaction.

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