For many companies, call centers are where the rubber meets the road. They're where corporate strategies get tested between agent and customer on a chessboard of human emotion. They're where sales are won and lost and where customers get to hear the real voice of a company, including all of the good, the bad and the ugly.
The bottom line is that call centers—specifically the agents within them—present the company's face to the public and do so at many of the most important points along the customer journey. Despite extensive training, monitoring and coaching, agents can still slip up when faced with a good question, a bad situation or an ugly customer.
Call center scripting software is an inexpensive, scalable solution to many of these problems. This Buyer's Guide will help you better understand and evaluate call center scripting software. In it we cover:
Call center scripting software is software that provides written prompts to call center agents, telling them what to say and when to say it. It can provide basic prompts based on general questions and answers, specific statements to repeat verbatim or some combination of the two. Most call center scripting software allows for a high degree of customization.
Scripted agent prompts and interface in the NICE inContact call center solution
The most basic call center scripting applications simply refresh the same script at the beginning of each call. More advanced offerings can select in real time from a library of prewritten lines, dynamically changing the agent's script based on voice recognition of the call's content. The most advanced offerings can even factor in the caller's emotional state, using artificial intelligence (AI) to listen for impatience, frustration and anger, then dynamically change the script as the situation requires.
Call center scripting software can be installed on-premise—on a local server that connects to each agent's workstation—or deployed from the cloud as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It's available as a stand-alone tool or can come as part of a call center platform or even a small business phone solution.
Call center scripting software offers a variety of tools and applications designed to improve both call outcomes and call center management. Various solutions may offer some or all of the following features and applications. As always, buyers are encouraged to carefully research their options before making a purchase decision.
|Drag-and-drop script builder||Provides a graphical interface to help design complex, multivariate and branching scripts. Script designers can add to scripts by simply dragging and dropping new question or answer options and can follow the logical flow of a call at a glance.|
|CTI integrations||Computer-telephone integration (CTI) is basic call center functionality that lets agents manage (place, receive, transfer) calls directly from their workstations and helps ensure on-screen scripting prompts stay in sync with each call.|
|Software integrations||Call center scripting software can integrate with other back-end platforms—your CRM for example—to suggest particular scripts for particular customers, helping tailor customer experiences to individual customers.|
|Pause, resume and transfer||These functions help maintain continuity when a call is paused, resumed or transferred between agents. When a customer calls back (or is transferred) the script resumes where it left off, rather than infuriate the customer by always starting from the top.|
|Script library||Provides a selection of commonly used scripted interactions. Rather than repeatedly entering, for example, a call-conclusion dialogue, script designers can just choose from a list of previously written script dialogues.|
|Analytics||Connects the dots between individual scripts and call outcomes. They can show, for example, which scripts lead to the fastest resolutions or the highest customer satisfaction scores.|
Implementing call center scripting software can bring many benefits, including:
Most agree that these benefits greatly outweigh the potential issues of using call center scripting software. Nevertheless, there's one potential issue that should be noted. Namely, agents should never sound like they're reading directly from a script.
It's important to note that consumers prefer it if agents don't sound like they're reading from a script. In other words, there's nothing wrong with having agents use scripts. The problems arise when agents sound monotonous and robotic—when they sound like they're reading from a script and nothing more.
Keep in mind that this problem is easily overcome with proper training. Agents should be trained until they're familiar enough with the content of scripts that, when on actual calls, they don't need to read each one word-for-word. While call center scripting solutions can be a huge benefit to operations and to the customer experience, they need to be implemented intelligently and not seen as a "set it and forget it" solution.
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