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Blog

Jun 27, 2017

How to Break Free from Call Center Scripts

contact center agents breaking free from call center scripts

[Estimated read time: 5 minutes]

Think back to the last time you had an issue with something you purchased. You probably tried to find a solution to your problem by navigating through the company's website or reaching out on social media -- only to be directed to a 1-800 customer service line. When you finally reach a human, you're greeted by a robotic-sounding script: "Hello, I apologize for the wait. Thank you for calling [Company Name]. My name is [Agent Name] and I'll be assisting you today. Could you please verify..."

This type of experience happens constantly. Many organizations began turning to a call center script to ensure customer service agents could maintain compliance and provide consistent information with very basic training. But today's consumers want authenticity, not contrived, scripted experiences. And every experience counts -- with social media, online reviews, and word-of-mouth, stories about your company (both good and bad) spread faster than ever.

Brands must be laser-focused on creating meaningful and memorable customer experiences. In the Age of the Customer, there is an expectation for consistent, high-quality service experiences. Organizations have the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by delivering a differentiated contact center experience.

"Taking an unscripted approach to customer interactions avoids running up against customers' innate dislike of being read to from a script." -Micah Solomon

In an article from Software Advice, 69% of consumers said their customer service experience improves when agents don't sound like they're reading from a script. Customers are already increasingly utilizing self-service technology to resolve their own issues, so if they are escalating to your call center, do not greet them with a robotic script. Call center scripts make it near impossible to create a meaningful experience. And customers can and will feel the lack of authenticity. A scripted communication style limits how intimate and inviting the interactions can be, and often can fail to address the individual customer's issue.

But what is the true impact of personal, authentic experiences? In the same report from Software Advice, 51% of consumers said their customer service experience improves either "a lot" or "tremendously" when the interaction sounds unscripted. Ditching the script is not only more natural, but will allow your agents to be more personalized and empathetic to your customers, which will result in increased confidence in your service and customer care.

So how do you make the jump to unscripted customer service?

1. Context

Customers demand a frictionless, immediate journey through the channels of their preference and it is your job to keep track of the information they share, eliminating the need for the customer to repeat their issues to you on each channel. By using smarter CRM software, like Astute ePowerCenter, you will streamline the process and allow agents to become more efficient. Auto-populating case fields and providing customer information alongside case information will equip your agents with a holistic view of the customer history, allowing for a deeper understanding of their specific needs, and giving you a head start to creating a personalized interaction.

2. Guidance

Just because you've decided to ditch the scripts doesn't mean you should abandoned your agents on an island by themselves. The ESP panel on the right side of the ePowerCenter interface provides in-context guidance — not scripted responses — that not only allows for time-saving assistance, but also increases consistency in each customer’s brand experience. System-suggested next best actions allow new agents can hit the ground running, reducing training costs. With additional information at their fingertips, such as order history and loyalty status, agents can provide relevant, personalized service to every customer. This feature can improve training time for new agents and reduce supervisor escalations by up to 49%!

3. Answers

The most important thing for customer service agents to focus on is a resolution to the customer's question. Integrated knowledge management systems place the information for accurate and consistent answers at your agent's fingertips. No longer will they have to try to memorize product information and answers. Without leaving the CRM, agents will have access to the same knowledgebase as customers, allowing them to find the correct answer efficiently.

"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." -Gemma Harding

It might feel like a big switch to make when you've been used to making agents read scripted responses to customers. But in the end, your agents will be more engaged and effective when they can be themselves, offering authentic and genuine help -- which is probably one of the main reasons they went into customer service in the first place!

Power up your agents to resolve customer issues more quickly and effectively than ever before. Astute's CRM software, ePowerCenter, guides your agents through every interaction with recommended steps that anticipate the customer's next move. Personalize their journey with unrivaled accuracy based on a clear and comprehensive view of the customer.

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