Scripts are incredibly important to the agents working in any type of call center. At the moment when an agent connects with a customer, the agent has no idea where or how the call is going to go. But what they do have is the script to serve as a framework or at least a jumping off point that will get the call moving in the right direction. Indeed, for agents of all levels of experience, the script provides a safety net that they can rely on to make sure the call moves forward in a productive manner. That said, there are circumstances in which it can be beneficial for agents to set the script aside and go off-book in order to ensure that the call comes to a productive and satisfactory conclusion. Here, some common instances when call center agents should stick to the script, plus some in which it is helpful to go off-book.

Always stick to the script when…

  • Processing transactions: Whether you’re completing a sale, processing an exchange or a return or filing a claim, there are set steps that need to be followed in the correct order to guarantee that the transaction is processed correctly. Especially when there are payments or refunds involved, you need to make sure that you’ve collected and entered all the necessary information in order to get those money matters processed in a timely manner.
  • Recording issues or complaints: One of the most frustrating things for callers is when they have to call back a second time regarding an issue that hasn’t been dealt with—an issue that is only compounded and made worse when there is no record of the issue in their file. If customers do have issues or complaints, or if you’ve reached a point in the call at which it’s clear that the issue won’t be resolved that day, it’s critical to follow the steps of recording these issues in the proper places and identifying the steps that need to be taken in the future in order to resolve the issue.
  • Scheduling appointments: Whether you’re working in an internal call center and scheduling appointments for techs and installations or you’re working in an external one and scheduling customer or patient appointments, you must follow the script when setting and confirming these dates and times. If not, you risk an appointment not being entered in the system correctly and one or both parties involved not being aware of it, leading to irritation on both sides and customer trust lost.

Step away from the script when…

  • Empathy is required: A good call center agent knows how to build a rapport with the customer and one of the fastest ways to build a rapport is through empathy. This is key on all types of calls, but especially on calls when customers are reaching out because they are disappointed or are experiencing a problem. On these calls, agents need to know when to pause from the script and give the customer ample time to express their frustrations, followed by a moment of understanding from the agent. If you skip this moment and go straight to the next step in the script, particularly if the next step calls for collecting more information from the customer that does not directly connect to their problem, the only result is increased exasperation in the customer and doubts that their problem is going to be solved.
  • Creative problem-solving or explanation are needed: Simply put, not every customer inquiry is straightforward, so not every call is going to proceed as such. Sometimes a customer has been given incorrect information in a previous interaction with the company and you need to take the time to explain what was off about that information, what the correct version is, and then offer a creative solution for how to move forward. Sometimes a customer has not been given false information by anyone but simply thinks they know how something works when they don’t. These situations may take even more finessing to bring the customer to a place of understanding and agreement before you can make progress towards addressing their inquiry.

No matter the situation you face as a call center agent, having a solid script there to back you up is crucial. At CallShaper, we offer an easy-to-use and easy-to-edit scripting interface that can do just that. To learn more about it, request a demo today.