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Seb Anthony

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Call Scripts


We have a very senior manager in our organisation who is trying to impose very lengthy call scripts as a way of improving customer service within our call centre.
My main worry about this is that I feel it is the complete opposite of Customer Service.
Customer Service to me is tone of voice, listening, empathy, skilled questioning etc, none of which I feel would feature in a script.
I would appreciate some advice on this if possible. I fear that this maybe like rolling a grenade into the office and then waiting for it to explode

Howie Pearson

5 Responses

  1. use of call centre scripts..
    Hi Howie
    I seem to recall from a seminar some years ago that the success of scripts was inversely proportional to the complexity of the product or service being sold – sorry I do not have the academic references.
    If the senior managers wants to do this – :
    1) measure current performance stats
    2)get the script from him
    3) confirm in writing any training requirements and exactly how the script is to be used
    4) let the scripts run carefully measuring all the criteria you measured before
    5) have the evidence to say – told you so after the collapse

    I have learnt in the past – challenge when you think things are wrong – but at the end of the day we are paid to do as we are told – if the organisation chooses not to use our expertise it is their choice – just cover thy back side.

    Good luck

  2. You can script that call … you cannot script the customer
    Normally the best way to improve customer service it to ensure that the front line advisors have all the necessary tools and techniques to carry out an interactive conversation with the customer. One of the main problems with using a script is that whilst you can tell the advisor what to say, you cannot script the customer response. If a customer raises a question during the call that does not fit into the script being used it can throw the conversation, and customers can pick up on this.

    I agree with a lot of what Mike has said and it would be worth ‘pinning down’ with the senior manager what performance indicators he is looking to improve with the script. If he is insistence that a script is used, maybe the training team and the senior manager can write it together and then test it in a controlled way to see what impact it has on the service provided to the customers.

    However, it is important to remember that the business should be looking to improve service from the customers prospective and it would be worth seeing in your company has had any feedback from their customers as to how they feel the service can be improved.

    If I can be of any further help Howie, please feel free to drop me an email ([email protected]) and Ill see what I can do to help.

  3. How about a call structure?
    Hi Howie

    I agree with what has been said about the disadvantages of a script. If you don’t already have one, could you ‘sell’ a call structure or call protocol to the senior manager. Decide what elements need to be included (eg
    * opening/greeting,
    * establishing reason for call,
    * open and probing questions to delve further
    * summarising to check understanding
    * next steps
    * close
    (just a few ideas)
    and then introduce this to the staff, getting them to personalise each call to the customer’s needs, but basically following each of these elements.

    Hope this helps. Happy to discuss further off line.

    Good luck


  4. Is there a compromise?
    As an insurance call centre, we have the same issues with call scripts, but have reached a compromise through colour coding the scripts. Anything related to FSA compliance is obviuosly non negotiable, but the scripts do indicate where the call handler can use some flexibility and respond to individual customer needs, eg tailoring features and benefits to individual customers. It also allows the call handler to develop their telephone personality and build rapport with the customer. Scripts can still seem lenghty, and we still receive negative feedback, but have acheived a balance of service vs compliance.

    And building on a previous point – the scripts themselves were developed by those doing the job, Team Leaders and call handlers, before being signed off by Compliance – which went a long way to gaining buy-in to the whole process. They are also a working document, subject to change from feedback as well as external forces.

    Good luck with it,


  5. Structure wins every time
    Hi Howie

    Having used and trained scripts more years ago than I care to remember or admit to, I have to admit to an aversion to them. I think you can always tell as a customer when someone is reading from them and I totally agree with the point about not being able to script the customer as well.

    I feel that ensuring the front line staff have all the tools and techniques they need to handle calls professionally and knowledgeably and giving them a structure to work to as previously stated should suffice.

    You need to get them to buy in to the principles of great customer service – I don’t think giving them a script is enough to make that happen.




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