When people call our call center, our reps don’t have scripts, and they don’t try to up-sell. They are just judged on whether they go above and beyond for the customer and really deliver a kind of personal service and emotional connection with our customers.” – Tony Hseih, CEO, Zappos.com
This quote by Tony Hseih is often cited as a central argument against agent scripting, or using text scripts for agents. On the flip side, agent scripting provides an effective guide, and a consistent interaction that can be easily replicated across the agent workforce. So, who’s right? To script or not to script?
In order to understand an agent’s perspective, we spoke to a Blue Ocean veteran named Nick. His feelings on the subject were quite clear. Nick has been with Blue Ocean for several years, working on various projects supporting companies in the technology and automotive industries. As Nick sees it, and as many other agents we’ve talked to see it, there are clear pros and cons to agent scripting.
Pros of Agent Scripting
Cons of Agent Scripting
Is there a middle ground in the scripting debate? Nick said this, “Yes, I think there is a way to compromise and get the best from both a script and an experienced agent.” One potential solution could be a incorporating a training probation period for agents. An agent can pass out of the training by demonstrating competency in handling the call with or without a script. “Customers appreciate when you are considerate of their time,” Nick added, “I can remember one customer was in a real hurry and I knew exactly how to help him resolve the issue. I decided not to use the script and the customer wrote back to say how appreciative he was that he didn’t have to jump through hoops to get an answer.” Nick modestly admitted that this customer of our client’s had invested well over seven figures and was considering making a change, until his service experience with Nick cemented his loyalty.
Before you decide what’s right for you, ask yourself some questions about agent scripting. If agents will be using a script, how strictly will you enforce its use? Will you empower proven agents to deviate from the script to deliver a more ‘human’ experience? Which metrics are important to you and will scripting have a negative impact on those metrics? Goals vary for each customer service environment, but agents will work within whatever guidelines you set.