To Script or Not to Script? Positive Live Chat Support Scripting

Posted: March 11, 2019

The word ‘script’ can strike fear into the hearts of agents and managers alike. Nobody wants chat agents to sound robotic or to take away their freedom to express their personality and demonstrate their expertise.

Having said that, your agents are the voice of your organization. Because of this, it’s important that your agents can speak appropriately to your customers, providing an experience that’s cohesive and consistent no matter who in your company your customer is speaking to – and effective call center and live chat scripts can help you to do that.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • Why Script?
  • Scripting Sins – Are You Guilty?
  • How to Implement Really Effective Scripts

Why Script?

If scripts are so easily misused, why have them in the first place?

Simple. Scripts can save time, act as a knowledge bank, and reinforce your brand.

Let’s explore this a bit more.

Saving time is important to everyone involved in customer service, and certainly important in live chat too. Customers don’t want to be tied up on chats for any longer than they need to, and you’ll certainly be concerned with ensuring handle times are kept low, freeing up agents to take more chats.

Even if you’re a hardcore anti-scripter, consider the impact of agents manually typing out the same greeting and closing message on every chat they take. Even if this takes only 30 seconds per chat, and even if you only take twenty chats a day, this adds up to ten minutes of wasted agent time per day. Multiply over the course of a year, and you’re looking at around 60 hours of paid agent time lost to ineffective processes, when a canned message could have done the job for a fraction of the time.

Scripts can also act as a knowledge bank. A well-organized live chat script library can contain ready-made solutions to common customer problems, reducing the need for agents to be reliant on their own memories or external documents to find the answers they need.

Reinforcing your brand is vital to appeal to your target market. Scripts can help to set the appropriate tone of voice for your company, ensuring that all of your agents are speaking to customers in a positive, helpful and appropriate way.

Scripting Sins – Are You Guilty?

Given the benefits of scripts, many businesses jump to use these without considering how to implement them in a way that doesn’t compromise the customer experience. There are lots of ways scripts can be misused – make sure you’re not guilty of these sins.

Deadly Sin #1 – Using Canned Responses Which Don’t Answer the Question

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being listened to. Agents skimming chats and firing off canned responses which don’t fully answer customer questions can derail chats and damage relationships. Take this as an example:

Kyle: Can you tell me how much the ultimate plan will cost and whether I can keep my old phone?

Tom: Our Ultimate Plan is $39.99 per month and includes unlimited calling to numbers in the US and Canada. It also contains free texts and 4GB of data. Data above this limit is charged at $5.00 per 100MB.

Kyle: What about my old phone?? I don’t need to know about data over my limit. Are you a robot?

How to Fix This: Train your agents to fully respond to all customer questions in a seamless way, blending canned messages with free-form input to craft responses which hit the mark first time.

Deadly Sin #2 – Agent Style Doesn’t Match Style of Canned Messages

Your customers expect a service which is personalized and makes them feel they’re being given time and consideration by a real person. If your agent’s writing style doesn’t match the style of your canned messages, it’ll be obvious that canned messages are being used.

This inconsistency of communication can look really unprofessional, as well as making customers uncomfortable about the ever-changing tone of the chat.

Cara: Hi, the taxi I called hasn’t showed up, why is this?

Liam: Please accept our apologies that the taxi you called has not arrived. I will look into the details right now for you.

Liam: what time did you call the taxi?

How to Fix This: Make sure your agents have access to a style guide which sets the tone for written communication on chats and target this communication style through ongoing quality assurance.

Deadly Sin #3 – Canned Messages Are Just Plain Terrible

Remember the “Three C’s” when creating scripts – they should be ClearCorrect and Concise. They should sound just as if they’re transcribed from a person who knows your product, audience, and culture really well.

Although this point sounds obvious, it can take some skill. Let’s explore what canned messages can look like without this consideration.

Jim: I want to close my account.

Rachel: I am sorry to hear you would like to close your account.

Rachel: I will certainly help you today in this regard.

Rachel: I would like to inform you that we are limited in the information to give over chat, cancellation involves your verbal agreement so please contact on the telephone 936 835 7112 (8am – 11pm PST Monday – Friday or 9am – 9pm PST Saturday/Sunday) and one of my associates will put in effort to do the needful today.

There’s a few things wrong with these scripts. Probably one of the most glaring is that they are not written in proper English phrasing and style, with phrases like “Do the needful” creating barriers between the agent and the customer. Another issue is that it takes a long time to get to the point, with canned messages almost contradicting themselves by offering to help then stating that help can’t be given.

How to Fix This: Review your customer service scripts to ensure they’re correct in language, tone and phrasing. Identify areas where scripted canned messages can create confusion and ensure clear guidance is given to agents on how to handle this. Train agents to get to the point quickly, using canned messages to help save time, not add to it.

How to Implement Really Effective Scripts

Start by asking your agents what type of scripts could help them in their work. Your staff on the front line will know all too well the situations where they wish they had a canned message to save time and provide guidance, and a quick focus group will allow you to pinpoint these scenarios and start drafting some scripts.

Next, plan how to organize your scripts. Scripts which aren’t simple for your agents to access and use are just as bad as no scripts at all. Our guide has some suggestions for categories you may wish to use.

Finally, look at some free call center and live chat scripts and think how they could be adapted to your business. The best scripts aren’t cookie-cutter responses which will be perfect for every business – they may need some tweaking to suit the tone and style your organization speaks in. However, many customer service best practices are applicable across organizations, so some scripts might just be perfect to help make your chat service even more friendly and efficient.

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