12 Best Practices For Writing a Call Center Script
Every style of writing has its own set of rules.
In grade school, you may have relied on the MLA format. As a journalist, I relied on AP Style. And for social media, well, social media is constantly updating its “style guide” and allowing people to make writing their own.
Like any type of writing, when you write call center scripts, there are certain rules you’ll want to follow.
Working at ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software than makes it easy to write and share call center scripts — I’ve learned that not all call center scripts are created equal. Depending on how you write your call center scripts, they can be an enabler or a deterrent for your agents.
I’ve assembled 12 best practices so that your call center scripts can fall into the enabler category.
First, I’ll set the groundwork for what a call center script is. Then we’ll dive into the best practices for writing your call center scripts. These 12 best practices will help you write scripts that will improve employee performance and increase their productivity.
What is a call center script?
Call center scripts are both a conversational and operational tool that helps your call center agents communicate with callers. Call centers use scripts to provide the optimal path of a call as well as exact phrasing so that callers can reach a resolution quicker.
There are a lot of different scripts you can write for your call center. From intake scripts to troubleshooting scripts to compliance scripts, your scripts help your call center agents know what to say and do.
The goal of a call center script is to make it easier for your call center agents to do their jobs, to know what to say, and in the right order to say it. Call center scripts help make calls more efficient and decrease average handle time.
12 call center script best practices
There are many different approaches to creating a call center script. If you want to decrease average hold time, prevent agents from putting customers on hold, and improve overall agent performance, follow these 12 best practices for writing call center scripts.
1. Keep the language simple
This isn’t a scientific dissertation on the beginning of time. You don’t need elaborate words and compound sentences.
The purpose of your script is to help your agents clearly communicate with your customers. Use words and phrases customers will recognize and understand.
If you use language they don’t understand, your agents will need to repeat themselves more and may need to deviate from your script to explain things to the caller.
Don’t use internal jargon. That is something only your employees understand. A good practice is to read the script out loud after drafting it. This helps you catch and edit out awkward phrasing.
2. Keep it short
Don’t write long sentences and paragraphs. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Your instructions should be direct. (Just like the sentences in this paragraph.)
Remember your agents are on the call with a customer when they are using this script. They don’t have time to read long explanations while they are on the phone.
You don’t even need to write complete sentences, which brings me to the third point.
🔎 Related: How Long Should My Written Procedures Be?
3. Use bullet points
Along the lines of keeping it short, use bullet points. When you use bullet points, it helps you write shorter sentences.
Plus, bullet points naturally help you format your script. The indentations help move your call center agents’ eyes through the script and progress in a particular order.
Alternatively, you can use a numbers list. Just remember to follow best practice #2, to keep your sentences short.
4. Replace if-then statements with questions
One common mistake we see when people write call center scripts is they use if-then states. These if-then statements stand in place of a decision tree where the situation warrants a choice.
If-then statements are wordy. They require more text than asking a multiple-choice question in your script.
Instead of writing, “If the caller has poor credit, tell them…,” write:
“Does caller have poor credit?
- Yes – Inform them …
- No – Send them …
5. Make scripts personal
Nobody wants to talk to a robot. Many call center managers hesitate to use call center scripts because it makes their agents impersonal. However, if you write a script like a human, your agents will sound more human.
That involves addressing the caller by their name. Add suggested verbiage for expressing empathy for the issue the caller is facing. Have the agent reiterate what they are helping the caller resolve throughout the call.
6. Adjust the format for skimming
When it comes to writing scripts, it’s not just about the words you write. Formatting is a key part of creating a call center script.
Use bolding, italics, indentations, highlighting, etc. to make it easier for your call center agents to skim your scripts for the information they need. Using these formatting elements helps move your agents’ eyes through the scripts.
Ultimately, it helps them avoid skipping over vital information or making mistakes.
With interactive software, you can include formatting elements such as expandable sections. This allows you to provide more information for agents requiring a deeper explanation.
7. Make it flexible
There are situations where you’ll want your agents to say what you write verbatim. Often, all an agent needs is a prompt to help them move quickly through a script. Typically, we call this approach a call flow.
As you write your call center script, you want to offer guidance — not necessarily require that they say exactly what is written. However, example phases of what to say can help your call center agents avoid getting stuck on a call.
You can input “Suggested Verbiage” and format it so agents can skip that section if they know what to say. It’s to help the reps get a general idea of what to say.
If scripts must be read verbatim, make sure to clearly state that. For example, you may have phrases you have to share exactly for compliance.
8. Have top performers and subject matter experts help
Who are your top-performing call center agents? Who are your subject matter experts?
These are the people who perform your procedures in an ideal manner. They know the ins and outs of a particular procedure. They know how to troubleshoot. They know all the possible outcomes of the procedure.
Have these people write call center scripts for your team. They will help you optimize your procedures. Plus, you can replicate your top performers’ work across your whole team by having everyone follow the experts’ guides.
9. Link scripts
As mentioned above, there are a variety of different scripts. It is confusing when all of those scripts are smashed together into one script. In that case, you essentially have a manual-length call center script.
Instead, interlink your scripts if you are using web-based software to manage your call center scripts.
For example, you can link to a troubleshooting guide from your intake script.
10. Cover all possible outcomes
Take time to brainstorm possible outcomes in your processes and procedures. By outcomes, I mean that you cover every possible scenario in a procedure. These situations in a call are called decision trees. It is a crossroad in the conversation that requires a choice.
For example, if your call center agent is helping a caller that received a broken product in the mail, your procedure needs to include multiple options. Do they want to:
- Return the product for a refund?
- Return the product for store credit?
- Exchange the product?
Make sure you have a script for every procedure and it is easy for your call center agents to access them.
11. Test the scripts
Once you’ve drafted your scripts, you’re going to want to try them out. The point of having call center scripts is to create a consistent conversation for customers and to help those conversations run smoothly.
That doesn’t happen if your written scripts aren’t clear, have awkward phasing, or don’t flow correctly. Before sharing your call center scripts with your agents, test them out. Read them out loud. Watch agents use them on live calls.
This helps you catch mistakes, identify confusing parts, and check if you’ve missed an outcome. You can edit the scripts for clarity before sharing the scripts with your entire customer service team.
12. Use interactive scripting software
There are many different approaches to writing call center scripts. Most commonly, people create a script with a basic Word document or PDF. Other options include creating a flowchart or using interactive software.
Because call center agents need real-time guidance with call center scripts, it helps to have your call center scripts in cloud-based software. This allows your scripts to be interactive and your company to be agile.
If you want to use web-based software for your call center scripts, there are multiple options. Some of these options include:
These software systems help document interactive scripts. They include the ability to write, edit, store, and share your call center scripts across the cloud. It makes scripts more accessible and easier for agents to read while on a call.
Write clear call center scripts and call flows that empower agents
Writing scripts for your call center takes a lot of planning and discipline. You want to provide your agents with all the information so they can handle the calls seamlessly.
With a ScreenSteps knowledge base, you can create scripts for your call center in less time. Workflow articles are interactive articles that walk your agents step-by-step through a procedure without making agents sound robotic.
Plus, the robust ScreenSteps search engine makes it fast and easy for agents to find the script they need in as few as two clicks. Agents won’t need to put callers on hold to find the information they need.
Ready to incorporate these best practices into your call center scripts and call flows? Use this template to outline your call center scripts and call flows.