Telemarketing Scripts – Should You Use Them?
You’ve got your brand new telemarketing department, all the equipment is in, the staff are keen and ready, but one big question remains. Do you use a script?
Everyone knows scripts, we have all had those phone calls beginning ‘Hello Sir/Madam…’. Scripts can remove all personality and humanity out of a telemarketing call, but they also can keep everyone on message, on brand and primed with the information your customers need.
So we shall examine the benefits and problems of using scripts, to help your decision making process.
The question of whether to adopt a script is not a straightforward one, nor is there a one-size-fits-all answer. The approach that companies take depends on a number of variables, including their industry, the cost structure of the organization, and the time and resources available to train the team.
So what’s the best method?
Reasons to use scripts:
Clarity of the law
The need to comply with legal requirements often leaves organizations with no choice but to provide scripts, at least for part of the conversation. Heavily regulated industries, for example, healthcare and financial services, can incur hefty fines unless they follow established guidelines, making it essential to coach your team members to make sure they say the right thing and don’t leave out any critical information.
Brand messaging & Consistency
Scripting can lead to better consistency across multiple channels of communication. With scripting, you can ensure that the branding messages are delivered in the right way. For example, a company might want its team members to use a particular greeting that gives customers the reassurance that they’ve reached the right place. For example, “Hello, you’ve reached Search SEO, fixing all your SEO problems since 2008“.
Using scripting as a training method is often more cost-effective and allows for higher productivity. It’s well known that call centres usually have high employee turnover, and scripts are a cheap substitute for costly training.
Following a script can also be useful when introducing a new product. The team member might not know enough about the product or service on offer advice to the customer. Also, it can be useful for companies that sell a multitude of products and services, as again the team member might not have enough familiarity with all the combinations of products to make the best recommendations. A script can help mask any potential knowledge shortfalls.
When talking to a customer, the conversation may tend to flow in a particular way, especially if the products are technical. You probably already know how to structure the conversation so the outcome is best for your business, so you will want to ensure that your sales team sticks to it. A Script can help keep customer conversations structured and on-topic.
Also, you may be talking to customers in various stages of the buying process, and if you choose to write a script, it should support every single stage of the conversation. If you are calling somebody who is familiar with your products, you do not need to include the same amount of detail in the conversation as if you were talking to someone who hadn’t heard of your company or products.
Script several versions of the conversation to cater for a number of different customer profiles.
Reasons to not use scripts:
The personal touch
The most obvious benefit of not using a script is that it allows for a more unique and personalised conversation with customers. People are looking for an authentic interaction, and while some organisations tend to favour scripting because it can be cheaper, companies that choose to prioritize customer experience, like Apple, go a different route. They prefer to partner with their customers to deliver the best experience possible. They will listen to the customer and work with them to find an outcome. These companies will give the team more flexibility to do the right thing for their customer, increasing trust and customer satisfaction.
Scripting can give interactions a robotic feeling. In some cases, customers can feel more like a number than a person. In general, customers are looking for more genuine interactions, where they know that a member of the team is speaking with them rather than regurgitating a scripted reply. Scripting can leave some customers disconnected and feeling dissatisfied.
Employee / Customer Satisfaction
Another benefit of a script-free strategy is an increase in employee satisfaction. While reading from a script might make the job quicker and easier, regurgitating lines can leave members of the team feeling disillusioned and alien from the customers they’re speaking with, and the company’s products.
Companies that have scripted interactions in a bid to save money might find that this strategy is a false economy. Using scripts often frustrates customers and can result in repeat calls; while unscripted interactions cost more, they lead to higher customer satisfaction. It’s a longer term investment, but it may just pay off in customer satisfaction.
Is there another way? Using a hybrid approach
Companies aspire to find a balance between customer satisfaction and cost. But even organizations that value customer satisfaction highly might find it hard to get rid of scripting completely. Experts believe that a hybrid approach is the way forward. This allows organizations to use scripts for set interactions, e.g. regarding legal issues, while giving team members the ability to personalise the rest of the conversation. Another alternative is that you could train the team and give them answer samples, which they are then asked to personalize. You can use a similar approach for email communications, where the team are encouraged to personalize their message rather than copy and paste prepared answers. Such an approach also improves employee satisfaction since the team feel more involved with the organisation, brand and products.
A similar approach can also be used to train new team members, asking them to follow scripts until management is confident that they’re able to handle the conversation on their own.
Combining the best of scripted and non-scripted interactions helps to educate and support team members, as well as find a good balance between costs and customer satisfaction. A combined approach leads to a more effective team who are able to personalise interactions while remaining within regulation guidelines.
It’s an age-old business dilemma, but it ultimately comes down to what is best for you and your company!
General consensus seems to be that a mix of both is the best solution; if you manage to get a balance between structure and improvisation in your script, it will improve your prospecting results. Especially for cold calling or conversations where you are contacting the lead for the first time, structuring the conversation properly is massively important.
When you are closer to a sale or if you are calling existing customers, we prefer not to use a script as we believe in tailoring our services to meet our customer’s individual needs.
Whatever you decide to go with, we wish you luck in your telemarketing strategy!
If you wish to talk to one of our team, feel free to contact us here for more advice on telemarketing practices.
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Tags: B2B Sales, sales, script