Positive Scripting for Customer Service
Are you confident of how to design, test and review a contact centre script? Here’s our advice for creating the best possible scripted experience.
What Is Positive Scripting?
Positive scripting is the process of designing a customer service script and formulating a message so as not to frustrate or upset your customers.
It can also be used to guide a customer towards a desired outcome. For example, up-selling a customer to a premium-rate contract instead of a standard-rate one.
Examples of Positive Scripting
The use of positive words and phrases can help to support a positive scripting experience.
Here are some simple swaps you can make which can help to enhance the customer experience:
|“I’m afraid that isn’t included in your policy…”||“Your policy doesn’t cover that, but I can check if we can offer that to you in a different package.”|
|“I’m sorry but that item is out of stock and won’t be available for 4 weeks.”||“The item is out of stock. Would you like me to pre-order it for you so it will be with you in 4 weeks?”|
|“I’m sorry that the item hasn’t yet been delivered. You’ll have to wait for it to arrive.”||“I’m sorry it’s not arrived yet. Let me check with the courier and see when delivery can be arranged.”|
|“I’m sorry but I can’t give you a refund.”||“I’m sorry that I can’t offer you a refund, but since you are still under warranty, we can offer you a free repair.”|
We have written a full guide to The Top 25 Positive Words and Phrases that you can use in your scripts.
How to DESIGN a Positive Scripting Experience
Once you have done so, it is time to fiddle with the script layout, in order to ensure that advisors are comfortable using it. This means considering navigation, flow and usability.
Here are three tips to help you on your way.
1. Don’t Cram too Much Information on One Page
Scripting has a bad reputation for generating awkward pauses and making advisors sound robotic, but a lot of these situations are created by advisors trying to find relevant information mid-call.
Limiting the amount of text displayed on each page of a script can help to make it quick and easy for advisors to find the information that they need, keeping the conversation flowing with the customer.
2. Ask Closed Questions to Keep the Conversation on Script
The conversation can become awkward if a customer goes off on a tangent following an open question. This can make it difficult for advisors to know how to rein in the conversation and decide which question to ask next.
Designing a script with closed questions can help keep the conversation on script.
The wrong judgement call, in this scenario, can highlight that the advisor is using a script. This is likely to break any rapport which may have been developed with the customer.
Designing a script with closed questions can help keep the conversation on script, moving logically from one question to another.
3. Avoid Paper Scripts to Reduce Delays and Unwanted Background Noise
Some contact centres rely on paper scripts to guide their advisors through different call scenarios.
However, this approach can cause additional delays and unwanted background noise, as advisors shuffle through their paperwork to locate the next question.
A scripting tool can help to streamline the process by giving advisors the information they need in just a few clicks.
4. Include Annotated Images of Products in the Scripts
It can be good practice to display versions of your organisation’s products around the contact centre, so that advisors are constantly exposed to them, as this helps to build the team’s product knowledge. Using images in the script can work to the same effect.
For example, if the customer is having trouble putting together a product, the advisor can just go to the annotated image of each product and give step-by-step instructions for how to make the attachments.
Images will make the script much more engageable. Flicking through a document consisting of big blocks of words can be disheartening.
Also, images will make the script much more engageable. Flicking through a document consisting of big blocks of words can be disheartening.
How to TEST a Positive Scripting Experience
Testing is a crucial part of positive scripting. If you choose to roll out your new scripts onto the contact centre floor without prior proof of quality, you cannot be sure of how your customers will react.
Remember that scripts have a reputation for making advisors sound robotic, so they must be tested for tone as well as thoroughness.
Here are our three pieces of advice for testing your contact centre scripts.
1. Role Play and Look for any Information Gaps
A new script will most likely be created in a virtual environment by a single person, away from the reality of customer conversations.
It is therefore important to have a few role-play scenarios to test your script with your advisors, to help spot any problems, before it goes live on the contact centre floor.
Remember to get members of the team who have not been involved in the scripting process to mimic the customer. This will help to identify any unexpected questions for which the current script doesn’t provide the necessary support.
2. Give Advisors a Chance to Look Through the Scripting Tool Before They “Go Live”
While scripts can reduce the need for in-depth training, it is still best practice for advisors to have some familiarity with the script before they have to use it on a live call.
This should lead to a more natural conversation with the customer, as the advisor will be reciting familiar information and not trying to read it through for the first time.
It will also improve their confidence if they are more familiar with the overall process.
3. Compare the Quality Scores of Scripted and Non-Scripted Conversations
It is perhaps best to implement the script with a small number of advisors to begin with.
Once the script has been role-played and advisors have become familiar with the process, it is time to implement it. But it is perhaps best to implement the script with a small number of advisors to begin with.
This approach will highlight any issues with the script before it comes the norm, while providing detail into how satisfied your customers are with your script.
How to REVIEW a Positive Scripting Experience
The final stage of positive scripting, once you have designed, tested and consequently implemented a script, is to review its impact on contact centre performance.
There are three crucial steps that you must take when doing this, as highlighted below.
1. Regularly Review Scripts to Remove Awkward Silences From the Conversation
Don’t just roll out a new script and hope for the best.
In the early days of a new script, it is important to regularly review its performance to help eliminate any “teething problems” and maximise success.
It is important to regularly review its performance to help eliminate any “teething problems” and maximise success.
How frequently you review the script depends on how much it is being used.
For example, if all of your advisors are using the same new script for every call, you should have sufficient data for review after half a day. However, if the script is only being used for a handful of calls each week, it could take much longer to gather and act on any insight.
2. Talk to Your Advisors About How They Are Experiencing the Script
Advisors are an undervalued source of customer insight and you can gather a lot of beneficial feedback by talking to your them about their experiences of using the script.
For example, do they feel that there is too much information on the page? Or that the conversation would flow more naturally if you swapped the order of the questions?
Talking to your advisors about their experience can help gather insight early on, before it shows up in your deeper analysis further down the line.
3. Look at Where Customers Are Exiting the Conversation
You should also analyse where and when your customers are exiting the conversation, especially if you notice a trend of customers exiting the conversation after Question 3.
A trend for mid-way exit points could highlight a customer engagement issue in your script. For example, your sales script could be introducing prices too early on in the conversation.
Look at what is happening at key points in the conversation, then alter and review anything that doesn’t seem to be working well.
Thanks to William Hare at QuickScripts for sharing his advice on how to design, test and review your scripts for maximum success.
For more tips on what language you should be using in your contact centre scripts, read our articles:
- The Right Words and Phrases to Say to an Angry Customer
- The Right Words and Phrases to Use on a Sales Call
- How to Write an IVR Script – With an Example
- Positive Words to Increase Customer Satisfaction
- Best Tips, Phrases and Words to Use for Building Rapport
Originally published in October 2016. Updated in June 2018.