Gemma Harding explores the pros and cons of using scripts in the contact centre.
Pro: They help eliminate unnecessary ‘small talk’
Most customers who contact call centres are not in the mood for idle chit-chat. They have a problem and they want it dealt with quickly and effectively.
Asking agents to stick to a well-rehearsed script at the start of the call can help both parties get to the heart of the problem faster.
Con: They can lead to a decline in your customer retention rates
A faster turnaround on calls should mean improved productivity rates for your agents as well as happier customers – but only if calls are properly resolved by the end!
If agents are simply whizzing through a script before hanging up on a dazed and confused customer, you’ll soon notice your customer retention rates declining as a result.
Pro: They may be necessary for legal compliance
Using scripts may be necessary for legal compliance. Companies need to make sure their agents are not forgetting pertinent information, especially if supplying it is a legal obligation.
For example, if “calls may be recorded for training purposes”, customers need to know about this beforehand and a script can ensure this kind of information isn’t overlooked.
Con: They can make company apologies sound insincere
Over-reliance on scripts can make company apologies sound insincere. However good your agents may be at memorising a script, they’re not all going to be great at bringing it to life.
Customers may have already gone through several minutes of automated answering machines before speaking to a real human being, the last thing they then need is a human dalek telling them how sorry the company is.
Agents should be hired on the basis of their empathy, engagement, listening and problem-solving skills. Forcing them to stick to a script limits the chance for them to shine at what they’re good at.
Pro: They can help with agent language problems
Fielding calls from around the UK requires agents to understand not only the Queen’s English but dozens of regional variations, as well as idiomatic language.
Language barriers and misunderstandings only add to customer frustrations and call times, so providing an easy-to-follow script may help to alleviate such problems.
Con: They can limit an agent’s ability to respond to an individual customer’s needs
Studies show that customers are willing to wait longer and pay more to ensure their issues are dealt with properly when they have need to call.
However, the more you force an agent to stick to the company script, the less able they’ll be to respond flexibly and effectively to the individual customer they’re speaking to.
Call centre agents are a vital first point of contact between your customers and your brand and you should do all you can to ensure that it’s a pleasant and satisfactory one.
Do you think scripts still have a place in the contact centre?
With thanks to Gemma Harding, Head of Client Services at CallCare
In most situations, no. I personally find it annoying and condescending when an agent is reading from a script. It also sounds very robotic.
Yes, scripts are important but need to be developed in a flexible way and just as a guideline.
I feel like an idiot reading from a script…