The following post is part of a blog post series from several of inContact’s partners.
inContact partnered with CallMiner to integrate its leading cloud-based conversational analytics solution for improving agent performance across all contact channels (voice, social, email, chat), by automating Performance Management. Unlike complex analytics that require a sophisticated fulltime analyst, CallMiner Eureka pushes actionable insights directly to the people who need and can act on the data, from the VP who manages contact centers and/or BPOs, the Supervisor who manages a team of agents, and to Agents themselves.
Let’s face it: When it comes to customer support, no one likes to feel like they’re talking to a robot. Most often, customers call in to resolve issues or concerns that couldn’t be addressed via other channels (social or email, for example) – and they want their questions answered immediately.
But, what happens when customers go through several minutes of automated answering machines before they even have the opportunity to speak with a live agent? What steps can companies take to reduce customer frustration and irritation, and makes customers feel like agents are handling their concerns as swiftly and efficiently as possible?
One solution is for agents to leave the robot talk at the door and make every attempt to sound like a real person. Here’s how to do it:
Personalize: Historically, companies have relied on static scripting for resolving customer issues, noted a Smart Customer Service article on call scripting. However, as indicated in the article, recent research from Software Advice shows the majority (69%) of survey respondents say their customer service experience improves dramatically when agents don’t sound like they’re reading from a script.
In other words, the benefits of dynamic scripting can far outweigh the perceived safety net that static scripting provides. “By allowing an agent to provide a personalized, off-the-script experience, customers actually have more confidence in a company and its products and services,” says Mike Pell, director of design services at Interactions Corp., in the article. “Interjecting some of an agent’s personality into an interaction can boost a caller’s faith and make them feel as if they are talking to an agent who knows what they are doing.”
Empathize: One of the best ways for agents to establish a connection with customers is to demonstrate that they truly care about their concerns and are committed to resolving them. Another way to think about this is for agents to put themselves in their customers’ shoes: What really matters to them? What do they want? What are their pain points and how can they best be addressed?
Gemma Harding, Head of Client Services at CallCare, says in a Call Centre Helper article on call center scripting that “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.”
Be Flexible: Harding also notes that forcing customer service agents to adhere to the company script can prevent them from being flexible in responding to individual customer complaints and resolving issues. In other words, focusing on the script can take away from the agent’s ability to effectively listen to the customer’s concerns.
Instead of wasting valuable time and energy focusing solely on static scripting, a better approach might be for agents to view calls on a case-by-case basis – going off script when/if necessary in an effort to create a personal connection that can significantly help to resolve the issue at hand.
While scripting does have its place in the call center environment, industry experts agree that considering individual customer needs can make a huge impact on the overall customer experience. With the above call center scripting tips, companies can instill the type of personal connection that will make customers feel like their concerns matter – and are being acted upon and resolved in a timely manner.
An earlier version of this article originally appeared on CallMiner.