When it comes to customer service scripts, practitioners are as divided as people are about pineapple on pizza. The benefits of using customer service scripts are manifold, but there are some serious downsides too, like sounding robotic or not displaying enough empathy. However, when used wisely, scripts can be very helpful to customer service representatives.
In this blog, we cover everything you need to know about customer service scripts. You can use this index below to jump to the section that you’d like to read about:
What are customer service scripts?
Customer service scripts are templates, or rather, a set of guidelines that agents can refer to and use while interacting with customers. Customer service scripts can be used across all support channels, and are also known as canned responses, email templates, live chat scripts or just chat scripts, and call center scripts.
Before we discuss the tips that can help you build the perfect scripts, it’s important to understand the benefits and downsides of using them. Let’s dive in.
What are the benefits of using customer service scripts?
When used rightly, customer service scripts can help agents with customer engagement throughout their careers. Here’s how:
#1 Serve as a handy customer service training material
New customer service reps might be unsure of what to say on their first call or live chat – no amount of training before that can prepare a support rep for the real experience. However, when they have access to customer service scripts, new recruits will know what to say and when to say it. These scripts ensure that agents are able to keep the conversation going without any hiccups.
Pro tip: Create two versions of all scripts – one with the entire conversation listed down and another with bullets or key talking points. The former will help new agents in the initial stages of their role, while the latter will come in handy throughout their careers.
#2 Help in maintaining compliance
In some industries such as e-commerce or healthcare, customer service agents need to ask a particular set of questions and retrieve the required information before offering a solution. However, agents might not be able to remember each and every question that needs to be asked. In such cases, having scripts with lists of questions that need to be asked can be very helpful.
To add on, with an agent-facing chatbot, agents can access these questions/responses right from their helpdesk software. Here’s how Freshdesk’s Assist Bot powered by Freddy AI enables agents to take the conversation forward in the right direction:
Maintaining uniformity during a crisis
There are situations that require the entire customer service team to stick to the message that was given as a part of the crisis communication plan. For instance, when there’s an outage, downtime, or a security breach, using a script that is approved by the management is advisable.
#3 Increase in agent productivity
Talking prompts can go a long way in helping an agent take the conversation forward. Customer service scripts make for great prompts especially through positive scripting, a method where different scripts are mapped to different scenarios (more on this later). Although agents need not necessarily read out from the scripts, they can refer to the talking points to give fast and accurate responses.
Pro tip: Put together green-listed (approved) and red-listed (discouraged) words according to your brand guidelines. Doing this helps in bringing a certain level of consistency to the customer experience you deliver.
What are the downsides of using customer service scripts?
While customer service scripts are quite useful, they also have their own disadvantages. Here’s what can go wrong when customer support agents are forced to stick to the scripts given to them:
#1 Robotic and repetitive customer support
When all agents reply using the same scripts each time they interact with a customer, the conversations end up sounding extremely robotic and repetitive. This can directly impact customer experience.
#2 Restricted customer interactions
Customers who have positive and memorable experiences interacting with an agent are bound to come back, and ask for that particular agent – this serves as a great opportunity for agents to build a strong rapport with customers. However, when agents are asked to stick to the scripts, they have no scope to influence customer interactions with their personality.
#3 Lack of empathy
Sticking to the scripts can prevent agents from showing empathy while interacting with customers. Displaying empathy involves listening to customer requests as well as making sure that customers feel heard, and this can only be achieved when conversations take their natural course.
#4 Poor customer satisfaction
When agents rely heavily on scripts, they might be unable to confidently face a new situation that has not been covered in the scripts. This might reflect poorly on the team, the brand, and directly impact CSAT ratings.
Pro tip to avoid these downsides: Encourage support reps to treat customer service scripts as well-crafted examples of what to say instead of asking them to use these scripts, come what may. By doing this, agents can refer to these scripts, improvise based on the situation, and deliver satisfactory customer experiences without sounding repetitive.
How to effectively build and use customer service scripts?
Customer service scripts can backfire unless they are built and used carefully. Here are the three tips to keep in mind when building and using scripts:
#1 Have a thorough understanding of the customer’s issue
The first and the most important step when crafting scripts is to understand where the customer is coming from. So, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to gauge their mindset. Doing this helps ensure that your scripts don’t sound tone-deaf, miss the customer’s challenge completely, or repeat information the customer might already have come across – all of which can put off customers.
#2 Leverage the power of positive scripting
As discussed, positive scripting – the process of customizing scripts and mapping them to specific instances – ensures agents are able to keep the conversation going. So spend time identifying different scenarios that support agents might find themselves in and build scripts accordingly.
Pro tip: Positive scripting is extremely useful for training new recruits. You can make these scripts easy to access by deploying an agent-facing chatbot. This way, newly joined agents can interact with the chatbot to find the best thing to say.
#3 Listen to past conversations to frame the best customer service phrases
There’s a lot that one can learn from support agents who consistently maintain a high satisfaction score. Listen to the recordings of these customer conversations – notice the nuances in the way they speak and interact with customers and incorporate the learnings in your scripts. You can even borrow words or phrases from these conversations.
We’ve used the tips discussed here to build the following sample scripts.
23 customer service script samples
We’ve provided sample scripts for some of the basic yet important situations that a support agent might find themselves in and built sample scripts.
Greeting a customer
You might think that greeting a customer is as simple as a ‘hey hello, how can I help you?’. However, the way you greet a customer you’re speaking to for the first time is different from how you’d greet a repeat customer – there’s a subtle variation in the tone and personalization. Here are a few different ways of greeting different customers:
Asking for more information
Without gathering complete information about an issue, it’s impossible to offer a satisfactory solution. Here are a few examples of how you can ask for additional information:
Sharing links or resources
Sometimes the easiest and most efficient way to resolve an issue is to share a link to a knowledge base article or a resource. Here are different ways in which you can do that:
Transfer the conversation or put the customer on hold
Putting a customer on hold or transferring the conversation to another team member within customer service or the organization can be quite tricky. There is no easy way of doing this. Here are some scripts that can help:
Dealing with angry customers
When a customer is angry or upset, being mindful of the words you choose is all the more important. A few examples of how to deal with an angry customer is given below:
Don’t know the answer
It’s impossible for you to know answers or offer solutions to each and every customer query that comes your way. In such cases, you’ll need to consult a team member to check if there is a workaround. Here are a few ways in which you can say that you don’t know the answer (yet):
Following up on good as well as bad customer service experiences is a good practice – the former can help you get any additional feedback that you might need while the latter gives you the opportunity to make up for the poor experience. A few samples of what you can say when you want to follow up with a customer have been given below:
Customer Service Scripts: Yay or Nay?
Well, it all comes down to how the scripts are used. When used correctly, they can go a long way in improving agent productivity. The key lies in finding the right balance between being too flexible and being too rigid.
If you’d like more free samples, you can head over to The Ultimate Live Chat Scripts resource – you’ll find scripts for every customer-facing conversation that you are likely to have.
Don’t forget to drop comments if you found our sample scripts to be useful!
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