Nothing will drive customer satisfaction down faster than an uninformed agent, or an agent that is passing along bad information (I’m looking at you, cable provider who shall go unnamed.) Ensuring agents are trained, informed and up to speed on product, process and procedure is an ongoing and significant effort that contact center leaders find as a critical piece to keeping agents fresh and engaged.
One method that is regularly debated is the idea of “scripting” agents. We’ve all been on a call where we know we’re being read to. It sounds robotic, unempathetic and reduces our trust in the agent to virtually zero. However, more and more contact center leaders are embracing the idea of scripting and upleveling the quality of the scripting. Here’s why.
A good script should result in the customer not knowing they are being read to. It provides a useful scenario-based guideline to agents on appropriate responses and lets departments bring in help to resolve a customer issue. Take billing for example, there are a number of scenarios that would prompt a call, chat or email to a contact center. Where is my bill? My bill is not accurate. I’m late on a payment. Each of these scenarios have specific workflows that come along with them and likely have certain phrases and/or legal disclaimers you want your agent to read to the customer, or teams that you want the agent to engage. A well-executed script would enable agent the to do just that, saving the customer (and the agent) valuable time while also reducing frustration to both.
Balaji Venkatech Bala, Senior Director of Customer Support for Sum Total Systems, sums up the importance for scripting in his organization.
“If you do your scripting properly and correctly and if you make it simple at the same time, this will make sure your customer experience is smooth and your agent is experience is also better,” Bala said.
The first step to building a comprehensive scripting program is to know your variables. Why are clients contacting you? Identify the big buckets, like billing. Perhaps service outage is another and setting a service appointment is another. Then using those broad categories, start to break down the questions that an agent might encounter in each.
Next, you need to identify the agent response and appropriate action. The key to scripting an agent response is conversational writing. As a former tv news reporter, I had to learn about how to write conversationally. Hint, it isn’t easy. When you craft scripts using conversational writing, the best way to test it – is to read it out loud. You’ll quickly know whether you have a script that will go unnoticed by your clients.
Scripting is a process, one that requires up to date product and process information, so that as your products and processes change, they are reflected in what your agents are sharing with your customers.
Hear more from Balaji Venkatech Bala on what NICE inContact customers are doing to drive a positive customer and agent experience and improve the customer journey and read on about how SumTotal continues to drive excellence in its contact center.