Support agents possess different levels of knowledge and emotional intelligence—which can come with risk when dealing with customers. If a new agent is unfamiliar with your company or doesn’t know how to handle a particular situation, they could unintentionally share incorrect information or fail to resolve a customer’s issue during a support conversation.
Call center scripts can help your team stay on track and provide effective (and company-approved) responses to the people who matter most: your customers.
What is a call center script?
A call center script, or customer service script, is a document that clearly lays out what a contact center agent is supposed to say in response to a specific scenario. A script guides agents through customer calls, helping to reduce errors and increase efficiency.
It’s important to note that call center scripts aren’t intended to sound robotic. They’re carefully and thoughtfully written, and agents often adapt them to fit their own customer service voice and sound more conversational.
How to use call center scripts
As with any tool, call center scripts are most effective when used correctly. You can use call scripts as a way to empower your reps and allow them to act as advisors to your customers.
In theater, a script is usually something you memorize and recite word for word. But customer support calls aren’t Shakespeare plays. If you’re hiring awesome customer service reps, then focus on giving them the tools they need to succeed and trust them to create a great customer experience.
Prioritize agent training—and make call center scripts a part of it
Call center scripts can be a useful part of training new customer service representatives, but they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for it. Scripts should provide helpful suggestions for what agents should say when faced with a certain problem. Supplement that information with soft skills training on how to effectively interact with customers on the phone and via live chat.
Train your agents to treat scripts as something they can consult for guidance but not something they should read word for word. Over time, they’ll find it easier to know what to say with just a quick glance or skim and can do so in a way that feels more natural and human.
Turn your call center scripts into knowledge resources that are easy for reps to access
A script doesn’t just have to be a list of lines to say. If that’s what you have now, repurpose your call center scripts—for formats and channels that make the most important information more accessible to your customer service representatives.
Use scripting to build out your internal knowledge base, and make it searchable so agents can find answers quickly. You can also break down a script into macros and tag and categorize answers. This allows call center agents to pull up information at a moment’s notice.
Your agents shouldn’t have to read 500 words to get the solutions they need, all while the customer waits on hold. You can use customer service software to ensure all your resources are well organized and formatted, so it’s easy for reps to surface the right information.
Emphasize the importance of delivering great customer experiences
Using call center scripts can get tricky when customer support agents think they should prioritize following the script over providing the best customer experience. Be sure your agent training and internal processes for your call center make it very clear that’s not the case.
Make sure your call center scripts are accurate
The point of scripting is to improve accuracy. If your agents are getting bad or incomplete information from scripts, they’re hurting more than they’re helping.
Use call center software to study your previous customer service interactions when creating call center scripts. This data will help you identify the main issues customers experience, common follow-up questions and concerns, and responses that yield high customer satisfaction scores. Leverage that information to create data-backed resources that enable your reps to deliver a top-notch experience.
Personalize your call center scripts
According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2022, 90 percent of consumers will spend more with companies that personalize the customer service they offer them. Support agents can personalize experiences by using CRM software to keep all customer data readily available. This allows them to view everything from a customer’s contact details to a customer’s purchase history, so they can tailor each interaction accordingly.
Agents can immediately establish customer rapport by saying the caller’s name, for example. They can also make relevant suggestions and save customers from repeating themselves, resulting in a better support experience.
Train agents to maintain two-way communication
One of the problems with scripts is that you risk talking at the customer rather than talking with them. The difference has a lot to do with whether or not you’re taking time to truly listen to the customer versus trying to jump in with an answer. Agents should be trained to pause regularly and check in with the customer to make sure they’re understanding the issue correctly.
This also prevents agents from droning on past the point where a question has been answered. Shorter responses with frequent pauses give customers the chance to let you know when the problem is solved, so the interaction can end and everyone can get back to their day.
How to write a good call center script
Here are some quick call center script best practices:
- Break down responses into macros so agents can pull up a response at a moment’s notice.
- Focus on organization and formatting so agents can surface the right information quickly.
- Include an introduction, guidelines on how to respond to the scenario, and instructions on how to end the conversation so agents can seamlessly navigate interactions from start to end.
- Describe the type of language and tone to use (and not use) so agents can deliver consistent, on-brand experiences.
- Allow room for personalization so agents can establish rapport and provide a positive customer service experience.
Call center script templates for your team
Call center scripts can be agents’ best resource, especially when they’re faced with a variety of customer service scenarios. From the initial introduction to pricing questions to dealing with angry customers, scripts can help keep agents on track and focused on the customer’s issue.
Call center script for introducing yourself on a call
The introduction will set the tone for the call. You want to be mindful of the customer’s time, so keep your intro brief yet friendly and upbeat. If it’s an existing customer, you’ll likely already have their information in your CRM, so you can greet them by name right off the bat. But if it’s a new customer, make sure to ask for their name upfront. And if applicable, be transparent about any call recordings being made.
Example “introduction” scripts:
- “Hello, thank you for calling [COMPANY NAME] customer support. My name is [AGENT NAME]. How may I help you today, [CUSTOMER NAME]?”
- “Good [MORNING/AFTERNOON/EVENING]! My name is [AGENT NAME] with [COMPANY]’s customer support department. How may I assist you today, [CUSTOMER NAME]?”
- “Hi, [CUSTOMER NAME]! Thank you for calling [COMPANY] customer service. I’m [AGENT NAME], and I’ll be taking care of you today. I’d like to inform you that this call may be recorded for quality assurance or training purposes. How may I help you this [MORNING/AFTERNOON/EVENING]?”
- “Hello! Thanks for calling [COMPANY]’s customer service. My name is [AGENT NAME]. Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?” Customer answers with their name. “Great, thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]. How may I assist you today?”
Call center script for politely putting a customer on hold
When agents need to put a customer on hold, they must be clear about why they’re doing it and how long they think it will take for them to return. After an agent asks to place a customer on hold, it’s crucial the agent waits for a response instead of just pressing the hold button. Agents should be polite—and transparent—when they know a customer is asking for something your company cannot provide. When an agent is unable to meet the customer’s needs, they should do their best to direct them to someone in your company who can.
Example “on hold” scripts:
- “[CUSTOMER NAME], are you able to hold for just a moment while I check on [ISSUE] for you?”
- “I’m confident I’ll be able to help you with that, [CUSTOMER NAME]. Is it okay if I put you on hold for about three minutes while I look into [ISSUE] for you?”
- “I’m not positive we’re able to do that, [CUSTOMER NAME]. Would you mind holding for about two minutes while I find out?”
- “Unfortunately, [CUSTOMER NAME], I’m unable to do that for you on my end. I can connect you with [EMPLOYEE NAME] in [DEPARTMENT], and they should be able to take care of [ISSUE] for you. Could you hold for a moment while I check to see if [EMPLOYEE’S PRONOUN] is available?”
Call center script for upselling customers
When an agent delivers a personalized, empathetic support experience, there’s a greater chance the customer will want to buy additional products or services from your company. It’s important that agents approach potential upsell opportunities from the perspective of making a customer’s life easier—not just to make a sale.
Agents should also use their best judgment to determine if the customer is interested in upgrading their products or services. A poorly timed sales pitch could deter them from purchasing from your company in the future. Most importantly for agents—don’t be pushy. Sometimes you just have to take no for an answer.
Example “upselling” scripts:
- “I’m glad I could help you find what you needed today! Many customers who buy [PRODUCT/SERVICE NAME] also enjoy [DIFFERENT PRODUCT/SERVICE NAME]. Is this something you may be interested in?”
- “Thank you for your business, [CUSTOMER NAME]. Before we end our call today, I wanted to let you know that many of our customers who use [PRODUCT/SERVICE CUSTOMER PURCHASED] also buy [DIFFERENT PRODUCT/SERVICE NAME]. Would you be interested in hearing more about it?”
- “It was my pleasure to help you today, [CUSTOMER NAME]. I wanted to let you know that we typically recommend [DIFFERENT PRODUCT/SERVICE NAME] when users buy [PRODUCT/SERVICE CUSTOMER PURCHASED]. It’s a great complementary [PRODUCT/SERVICE]. Are you interested in learning more about it today?”
- “Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]. We appreciate your business! Now that you’re set up with [PRODUCT/SERVICE CUSTOMER PURCHASED], we highly recommend checking out [DIFFERENT PRODUCT/SERVICE NAME]. May I send you some information about it?”
Call center script for angry customers
When angry or frustrated customers call your support team, your agents need to be prepared with a keen ear and understanding attitude. They should always acknowledge the customer’s emotions and spend more time listening than talking. Agents also need to be cautious of their language when dealing with angry customers—they could unintentionally offend and upset the customer further if they’re not careful.
A few phrases to avoid when dealing with angry customers:
- “I don’t know.”
- “I can’t help you.”
- “Calm down.”
- “That’s not my responsibility.”
- “I’m putting you on hold.”
- “You’re wrong.”
- “We’ve never had this issue before.”
- “I’m going to have to end this call.”
- “What do you want us to do?”
- “You shouldn’t have done that.”
When a customer is angry—whether justified or not—the best thing you can do is communicate understanding and sympathy. Start with a sincere apology, then immediately offer to resolve the issue.
Example “angry customer” scripts:
- “My apologies, [CUSTOMER NAME]. I know that must be frustrating. Let’s go over exactly what happened so I can fix this for you.”
- “I’m very sorry to hear about your experience, [CUSTOMER NAME]. I know we can get this taken care of. Now, let me see if I understand you correctly before we move forward.” Agent recalls customer experience.
- “I completely understand your frustration, [CUSTOMER NAME], and I will do everything I can to resolve this for you as quickly as possible.”
- “I appreciate you bringing this issue to my attention, [CUSTOMER NAME]. I apologize for the inconvenience and will get this resolved for you immediately.”
Advantages and disadvantages of call center scripts
Call center scripts can be incredibly helpful for agents when written and used properly. Companies use call center scripts in the hopes of realizing a few key benefits:
- Support agents can quickly find and provide the right answer during a customer interaction, boosting resolution time and productivity.
- Each customer service representative provides the same answer to a problem, creating a consistent customer experience.
- Agents can’t go rogue on difficult calls and say something inaccurate or, worse, inappropriate.
If you tell customer service reps the exact words to say, surely you don’t have to worry about them ever getting a call wrong, right?
Well, it’s more complicated than that.
Things to avoid with call center scripts
While call center scripts certainly have their advantages, they can also present issues that lead to a bad customer experience and a bad reputation for your call center. You want to ensure you avoid the following pitfalls.
Agent scripting that sounds robotic
We live in the age of self-service. Our 2022 CX Trends Report shows that 89 percent of consumers want to find answers to their questions online without having to contact anyone. So, by the time customers pick up the phone, they want a human’s help—fast. If what they get is someone reading the same answer they could have found online, they won’t be happy. Customers can tell when a support agent isn’t using their own words. So, ensure your agents speak to callers like human beings.
Scripts that don’t solve the customer’s problem
A call center script is meant to make sure every agent provides the right solution. But sometimes, issues are too complicated to be completely covered by a script. Few things are as frustrating as talking to someone who’s convinced they’ve solved your problem but who’s actually gotten it wrong. When agents tackle complicated issues, they need to be able to adapt their scripts to align with the customer’s pain point—even if that means knowing when to do away with the script altogether.
Call center script FAQs
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about call center scripts.
Do all call centers use scripts?
Not every call center uses scripts when dealing with customer issues. Some call centers have scripts available, but agents “play it by ear” to determine if they need to use them. Call centers that do use scripts to guide agents do so to help produce fast, consistent responses to customer questions. Call centers that don’t use scripts run the risk of different agents providing customers with inconsistent information.
How do you open a call center script?
The first step should always be to pull up the relevant customer information, such as a customer’s last interaction or account type. If a customer has to repeat themselves or wait on hold while an agent looks up the details, they're not going to remember the experience as a positive one. Our CX Trends Report shows that 92 percent of consumers will spend more with companies that ensure they won't need to repeat themselves.
Agents should take time at the beginning of each conversation to review all the available details about a customer’s account and history with the company. This saves the customer time and gives you the information needed to find the best solution.
What should a good call center script include?
Good call center scripts include more than just the actual words you use within them. A solid call center script serves as a resource for all contact center agents. All agents must make sure they:
- Introduce themselves
- Ask how they’re able to help the customer
- Know what to do if they need to put the customer on hold
- Are aware of the tone of voice and words that work with customers (and those that don’t)
- Understand how to handle a difficult customer situation or crisis
- Close the conversation effectively
An effective “close” can be as simple as thanking the customer for calling and wishing them a nice day. Have your agents feel it out to determine the best way to end their calls.
Use your call center scripts wisely
Call center scripts serve a purpose, but they can become detrimental to the customer experience if your agents are overly reliant on them. By treating them more like a helpful guide to meet call center metrics, ensuring they’re accurate, and making them readily accessible to your team, you can turn scripts into a tool that enables your agents to provide better, faster support.