Although call center scripting isn't the sexiest topic in the market, it does play a vital role in increasing customer satisfaction, boosting sales opportunities, and winning loyalty. Such success can depend on the type of script agents use.
Historically, companies have used static scripting, in which agents read word for word from a script to callers; the result is that they come off sounding stilted and impersonal. However, organizations are increasingly embracing the concept of taking a more personalized approach and using dynamic scripting, which can turn a bad experience into a good one or cement an already positive relationship.
In a recent survey from Software Advice, 69 percent of respondents said that their customer service experience improves when agents don't sound like they are reading from a script. "More than half of those surveyed, fifty-one percent, said it bettered their call experience either 'a lot' or 'tremendously,'" according to Craig Borowski, a business telephony researcher at Software Advice.
"We've all had those calls where an agent is reading from a script, and it would be laughable if it weren't so painful—not only for the person listening but for the agent too," says Deborah Navarra, senior analyst at DMG Consulting and a former contact center agent, supervisor, and manager.
Static Scripting Still Holds a Place in the Contact Center Market
Despite its negatives, static scripting is still useful in specific scenarios, including outbound calls in areas such as collections, where there is a directed outcome. Another situation where scripting works is with banking and insurance companies that must make specific disclosures and obtain permissions from customers in order to adhere to compliance laws.
Mike Pell, director of design services at Interactions Corp., sees such examples of situational static scripting when companies are trying to sell products and services.
"In sales, some companies have tweaked and tweaked an exact pitch for a product to get the absolute most sales, and in some cases, they require exact adherence to a script because they know that it works," Pell says. "By relying exclusively on a script, agents who aren't necessarily the best salespeople can show much improved results."
Some companies are also holding on to static scripting because of budget constraints that prevent them from replacing older scripting systems with dynamic scripting technology.
"The situation is one of installed base and momentum," says Terry Redding, vice president of marketing and product development at CFI Group. "New software to support dynamic scripting costs money that oftentimes companies simply don't have. The other obstacle that companies face is the time and effort to rip and replace already-installed software."
The Benefits of Dynamic Scripting
As much as some companies want to keep a tight leash on their agents, the benefits of having dynamic scripting in place far outweighs the perceived safety net that static scripting may provide.
By allowing an agent to provide a personalized, off-the-script experience, customers actually have more confidence in a company and its