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2 Out of 3 Agents Want to Change Their Script
Presented By: Balto
At their best, call scripts provide agents
with a way to guide their call in a consistent and clear way to achieve optimal
call outcomes. Scripts or talk tracks are meant to provide avenues for agents
to respond to objections and provide a top-notch customer experience. At their
worst, however, they can be prescriptive, clunky, and impersonal.
That being said, scripts remain one of the
widely used tools in today’s contact centers, so how can we make them better? Balto, for example, reimagines scripts as
dynamic, data-driven Playbooks that only surface talking points to agents when
they need them — no memorization needed.
But what about the remainder of the contact
center industry that still relies on traditional scripts? The Conversation
Excellence Lab conducted a survey of 568 agents to discover what they thought
about their script, how often they adhered to it, and more.
We asked agents: What, if anything, would you
change about your script?
Approximately 64% of agents wanted to change
their script, whether with something as specific as changing the phrases they
use to open a call, or as broad as the general tone and vocabulary throughout.
34% of these respondents wanted to change the length of their script, followed
by 17% who wanted to improve the overall naturalness and tone, and 17% who
wanted their script to be more flexible and dynamic.
These numbers are telling on their own, but an
analysis of agent script-writing involvement, agent tenure, and industry differences
better illustrates novel trends within these answers.
with Script Writing
While the majority of agents want to change
something about their script, 36% do not. That is not a low number. More than
one third of agents would not make a change to their script if given the
Agent involvement is a major mediator in this
number. We asked agents how involved they are on a scale of 1-5 in writing or
updating their script, and agents who reported the lowest involvement in writing
their company’s script (2.19) were the most likely to want to change everything
about it. Those agents who reported wanting to change nothing at all about
their script had the highest rate of involvement (3.53).
Interestingly, the next highest category in
terms of script involvement belonged to those who said they wanted more
ownership over their company’s script (3.5). This suggests that involvement
begets more involvement. Once agents are given the opportunity to provide
feedback on their script, they want to keep doing so, perhaps in increasing
This is a good thing. It shows initiative,
buy-in, and an ownership mentality, all of which lend themselves to better performance
and retention outcomes. To better understand other factors that impact
agent attrition, check out our 2022
The Effect of
Those agents who had been at their contact
center the longest were most likely to want to make their script more flexible
or dynamic, followed by making the tone more natural. This makes logical sense:
The longer that an agent has worked for a company, the more they’ve
internalized the call script. But more than that, they’ve also had
opportunities to uncover their own best practices and objection responses.
Giving more tenured agents flexibility to sway
from their script or respond dynamically to customer objections is, then, an
apt method to increase agent satisfaction with their script and otherwise. Read
more about agent tenure and satisfaction in our recent report.
Those agents who had been at their job for the
least amount of time were most concerned with changing the length of their
script, perhaps because they were in the mindset of learning or memorizing it
rather than evaluating its contents.
After script length, agents with lower tenure
were most likely to list “everything” as a response to what they would change
about their script. They may resent the presence of the script to begin with,
both as an aspect of their training and as something they are evaluated on in
their new role, or they may not understand the reasoning yet behind different
aspects of it.
Differences in Sentiment Towards Script
In terms of industry, which agents thought
their scripts were the best-suited? 50% of our respondents in the Home
Improvement industry reported wanting to change nothing in their script,
followed by 42% of those in Collections and 39% in Constructions.
On the other end, only 9% of respondents in
Travel & Hospitality reported that there was nothing to change about their
script, followed by 20% in Utilities and Healthcare, and 21% in Professional
Services, Financial Services, and Insurance.
This is just a sample of the population and
scripts vary widely both within industries and across them. However, there are
still insights to be gleaned from these numbers.
Industries like Home Improvement, Collections,
and Construction lend themselves to more predictable calls, and therefore more
straightforward scripts. Home Improvement and Construction calls generally seek
to either provide customer support or set up appointments, while Collections is
concerned with collecting funds.
On the other hand, Travel & Hospitality
contact centers may see a plethora of call types: bookings or reservations, cancellations,
service issues and other complaints, sales, concierge-type services, general
questions, and more.
It may be more difficult to align a script
with all of these disparate scenarios, leaving more room for improvement from
the agent’s point of view. This variety can be found in Utilities, Healthcare,
Professional Services, Financial Services, and Insurance as well.
As our surveyed agents pointed out, there are
a lot of areas where a script can go wrong, from being too lengthy and
prescriptive to being too narrow and not relevant to the caller’s concerns.
Although we have our own take on scripting at
Balto, there is no denying that traditional scripts remain widely used across
the industry. While it's true that the majority of agents want to change their
script, this number varies depending on their involvement in writing or editing
it, their tenure, and the industry within which they operate.
How do managers adjust accordingly?
If you employ a script, take into account
agent feedback about its length, tone and naturalness, and how flexible or
dynamic it allows agents to be. Make sure to check in with agents — especially
those who have been at your contact center for multiple years — and involve
them in the script-creation process. Regularly source feedback and refine your
script based on the measures above (Figure 1) to ensure that your agents are
not among those who express discontent.
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