January 16, 2015
For customers, calling into most contact centers is seen as something akin to going to the dentist: You really don’t want to, but sometimes you just have to.
Surveys show that customers can always tell when the operator is reading off a script, and they rightfully resent it. After all, they’ve called in for a specific reason, and feel that no scripted response can adequately address their concern. They’re not far from being right.
So it makes sense to give your call center personnel the freedom to go “off script’ when needed, to assure a good customer service experience and make the customer feel valued.
In a recent blog post, Gavin Gustafson, Communications Manager at inContact, addressed this very same issue.
“Let’s face it: When it comes to customer support, no one likes to feel like they’re talking to a robot,” Gustafson noted. “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.”
So what to do? “One solution is for agents to leave the ‘robot talk’ at the door and make every attempt to sound like a real person,” he said. Gustafson then went on to outline some suggestions on how call center agents can better engage customers.
Personalize: Historically, companies have relied on static scripting for resolving customer issues, Gustafson said, citing a Smart Customer Service on call scripting. “However, as indicated in the piece, research from shows the majority (69 percent) of survey respondents say their customer service experience improves dramatically when agents don’t sound like they’re reading from a script,” he said.
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,” Gustafson said. “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?”
Be Flexible: 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,” Gustafson said.
In short, while scripting does have a place in the call center environment, industry experts believe that “considering individual customer needs can make a huge impact on the overall customer experience.” And after all, isn’t that what you should be aiming for?