Article : To Script or Not To Script
SCRIPTS – Who wants them
The first thing to realise is that we don't have to make a forced choice between scripting and freestyle. Between these two extremes there is a whole range of options for producing guidelines, dialogues, maps, structures, conversation designs – call them what you will – which capture, in generic terms, the desired outcomes of your calls, the discretion available to the call handler, the essential content/message which has to be conveyed, the expected stages of the call, and any other formal standards or compliances that apply. The level of detail will depend on the inherent variety and complexity of the calls. If in doubt, keep it light, keep it brief.
As management, you want call guides to provide -
Customers want -
Designing call guides according to these principles can work beautifully in all sorts of sales and service environments. The call handlers enjoy using them, and the customers can feel the difference. The two key factors in the success are ownership and training. It really makes a difference if you involve people in the initial design and continuing development of the call guide. They will identify it, and care for it, as their own. It is equally important to build it into all the relevant training, so that it becomes simply the natural and normal way of working.
A typical programme would, therefore, look something like this:
The power of this approach is
Twelve Top Tips – Do's for call guide design
Always use a call guide – however brief it may be, it will provide a base and focus for training, self-development, coaching and feedback.
Always entrust the design of your call guide to a small team. Never be tempted to do it all yourself. Remember to include a call handler on the team.
Never be tempted to turn your call guide into a word for word script – the customers will know and you will lose credibility.
Always test the call guide before rolling it out to the call centre team. Try it out in controlled conditions – firstly within-house, and then on real customers.
Always take account of feedback from call handlers, and use it to continuously improve the call guide.
Never ever hand out a typed call guide – call handlers will have no ownership – let them write it out in their own words, based on their shared understanding of the structure.
Always train all staff in the intention and use of the call guide. Let them rehearse and feel comfortable with it before going live.
Always review your call guides regularly – they are dynamic, not set in tablets of stone.
Never let compliance or marketing design your call guides – they don't use them.
Always speak with marketing regularly to keep up to date with any changes in the proposition, so that the call guides can be retuned.
Always use the call guide as a focus for side by side coaching.
Always rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
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Published: Friday, August 9, 2002