To Script or Not To Script

Customer Strategy
Customer Experience
Contact center interactions can have a big impact on the customer experience. The decision of whether to script agent conversations can highly influence the final experience.

Contact centers provide an essential service and are often the first point of contact for customers who need to ask a question or require help. What happens during a contact center interaction can shape a customer's lasting impression of the company.As we mentioned in this article earlier this year, several organizations are using scripts to manage their contact center interactions. While there might be valid reasons for this, for example regulatory concerns, there is a risk that these interactions appear impersonal and don't really solve the customer's specific problem.

Further, employee engagement can suffer when agents are restricted in how they interact with customers, leaving them feeling like parrots only able to read from a script. Shanakaran Nair, president for strategy, consulting, and delivery at Servion warns that not all calls should be treated equally and are appropriate for scripting. Nair notes that 90 percent of service interactions tend to be routine questions. "Having agents well scripted and trained for these kind of interactions helps the organization to deliver a consistent and predictable service experience," he says.

But what about the other 10 percent of non-routine interactions? According to Nair, organizations should steer clear of scripts in these cases. "Nearly all poor customer experience comes in from this kind of interaction--and almost by definition it is very difficult to script an agent for the non-routine calls," he says.

As Nair stresses, organizations need to "recognize and respect" that these two different types of interactions require different approaches and understand the negative impact misdealing with non-routine calls can have on the brand. "Perhaps companies should try to have a set of agents who have better interpersonal skills are able to deal with customers without being scripted for the non-routine calls and. And set some rules where such calls are moved to this "elite" team whenever they occur," he recommends.

Further, organizations need to determine which approach is best suited for their brand. For example, a luxury car manufacture might want to steer away from scripts to give its customers a more personalized experience.