Tips for Writing a Call Center Script that Works

Call centers can be a great opportunity for colleges to grow their enrollments affordably.  One of the most important elements of a successful call center enrollment campaign is writing the call script.

Writing a call script can be very challenging. The script needs to be functional, conversational and be natural to the Agent using the script.

We recommend all colleges review their script to make sure it covers these areas, regardless if you outsource your call center efforts or not. Writing a script allows the school to step into your prospective student’s shoes and create a number of customer-driven scenarios to help guide the conversation.

An Agent should use the script to help keep them focused and on task. They are not meant to be verbatim, resulting in an awkward and unsuccessful conversation. Training your agents to use a script should be a part of your regular training with your team. Plus, continual training and monitoring should also be apart of your on-going training efforts.

Address Any Points of Resistance Before Moving On

One of the keys to writing your script is to address any points of resistance the prospective student might have. The agent needs to have the tools and language to address these fears or issues and overcome them.

Here are the three primary fears the perspective student has on the call:

  1. What does this agent want from me?  [Introduction]
  2. What if I make a bad decision and regret it? [Pre-commitment insecurity]
  3. What have I done? I regret my decision. [Buyers remorse]

Here are the steps to writing a great script:

The agent needs to quickly address the purpose of the call to overcome the prospective student’s fear, “what does this agent want from me”. This is handled by writing a stellar introduction.

The introduction needs to include:

  1. Who you are
  2. The college you represent
  3. How you acquired their information
  4. Follow up with the purpose of the call
  5. Thank them for their time

Here is a suggestion on how to start the conversation, “Good afternoon, I need to speak with Amanda, please. [This is Amanda] Hi Amanda, how are you? [I’m great, thanks for asking.] This is Eli from Baymore College. The reason I am calling you is because your name came across my desk as someone who is interested in pursuing a degree. I see that you are interested in pursuing a degree in business administration. Is that correct?”

[caller says, yes it is]

“I want to see how I can help you with that. How does that sound?”

“Great, Amanda let me schedule an appointment with Baylore College. This way you can visit the college and meet with an Admission Representative. I’m sure you have lots of questions about the career, school, and if the environment is right for you, do you agree?”

This last part is important, it shows the prospective student that fit is important and you’ll only find out if you’re a good fit, if you visit the school. (in other words attend the appointment)

Then close out the script with the appointment specifics. And, reinforce their pain points discussed during the call with them to help increase their likelihood of attending the interview.

Your Higher Education Call Center Agents Need To…

One of the most important elements of running a successful call center campaign is training the Call Center Agents.  

Callers Don’t Have the Script

Call Center Agents must know their script well. The prospective students they are calling will naturally deviate from the script since they don’t have one. They will ask questions, share concerns and have reservations.  And, the caller will most definitely interrupt the flow of the conversation. If a Call Center Agent knows their script well, then they can carry on the conversation and still go through all the needed elements with the script and not sound robotic.

Callers want to feel heard and understood.

The Agent needs to keep the caller on point, but take their time to answer the caller’s questions. The Agent shouldn’t focus on getting through the script, but instead helping the caller make a decision to visit a school.

Agents should listen and acknowledge the caller’s questions rather than run through the script to get an appointment. Often times, the caller may just yes the Agent through the call with no intention of showing up to the appointment at a campus.

It’s About Getting the Caller to Show Up for the Tour

The goal for the Agent should be scheduling appointments that show up to the campus, which is different than just setting an appointment.  The Call Center Agent needs to spend more time on the phone with the caller to build trust and rapport. They need to motivate them to take the next step in their lives. The prospective student needs to feel that the Agent cares and not ever Agent can convey caring and concern. That’s why it’s important to build empathy language into your script.

Motivation

The Agent needs to focus on the prospective student’s needs versus their own needs. When listening back to a call, you can see this when the Agent encourages questions versus trying to rush the prospective student through the call. Agents can’t focus on only hitting their own numbers whether it’s dials per day or scheduled appointments. The Agent need to focus on helping the prospective student take the next step in their lives; if they do this correctly, then their numbers will work out.

It is important for Management not to focus so much on the Agents’ numbers during team and individual meetings. Otherwise, the Agents start to lose focus on the prospective students. Generally, we’ve seen this issue start and stop with Management. If hitting numbers are the only things your Supervisor talks about, and then of course, that is the only thing the Agent focuses on.

Politeness Isn’t Always a Good Thing

A caller might be polite and yes the Agent through the call.  Unless they feel the Agent is genuine, caring and has listened to their concerns. If the prospective student attends their on-campus tour and feels the Admission Representative is also caring, like the person who scheduled them for the tour, then they are more likely to enroll at the school. Empathy and concern need to be carried through all the interactions with the prospective students from the Call Center Agent to the Admission Representatives and Student Services.

Check out our other articles:

Improving Call Center Retention

Call Center Gamification 

Reducing Call Center Turnaround

Running a call center and managing Call Center Agents is incredibly challenging and not for the faint of heart. One of the most challenging aspects of running a call center is managing the staff turnaround. This one key performance indicator (KPI) can negatively affects the culture, conversion rates, and your overall profit margins.

Why do some call centers turnover rates as high as 30% and others below 10%? What separates them?

Here are number of ways to reduce call center turnover.

Agents Need to Understand the Purpose of the Script 

Call Center Agents tend to fail when you just hand them a script. When you do not give your Agents enough attention, they slowly start to struggle and then you lose them whether through turnover or under-performance.

Agents need to understand the purpose of the script. They need to understand that they are helping people make a positive change in their lives by going back to school. Show them the big picture and help them understand how their role fits in the big picture.

Train Your Agents

It’s important that you set up on-going training with your Agents. One of the best tools is role-play. You can have your agents do peer role-plays and discuss what was great about the role-play and what can be improved. The more your Agents practice the more the script will become routine to them.  You will also find which Agents shine during these exercises as possible candidates for future promotions.

Also, it’s important for Managers to listen to phone calls with their Agents to point out positives and areas of improvement for the call. We recommend using a Y cable.  We also recommend recording the calls and evaluating the calls as a group during team meetings. The goal isn’t embarrass anyone, but to learn from the calls and provide additional training to your entire team.

If Agent’s know their script extremely well then it’s easier for them to handle the uncontrollable moments, which happens during every call. The prospective student doesn’t know to follow a script ;)

Call Center Script 101

In the past 20 years, our team of experts have noticed that one of the biggest problems with scripts is that they don’t put enough focus on the flow of the script. Too many Directors feel that’s why they hired the agent to fill in the gaps of the script. In the Higher Education space, many Director of Admission have told us, “it’s the agent’s responsibility to get the prospective student to commit to a campus visit. That’s what they get paid for”.  However this isn’t possible when the agent is new, which can cause new agents to underperform and lower morale, which further exasperates call center turnover.

Check out our other article on Writing a Call Center Script that Works

Empowering Your Agents

Trust the people that you hire. Empower them and show them that you trust them, until they give you a reason not to. People live up to the expectations you have of them. Set higher expectations of them and not just reaching call objectives. It’s important that you set an office culture of trust.

Be Fun

Make your environment fun. Doesn’t always focus on the numbers, focus on the people too. Get to know your staff and what is important to them.  Organize potluck events, outings, and movie days. Not ever Call Center Agent is motivated by money. Some like to have fun and want to stay in an environment that is fun.

There is no silver bullet to improving call center retention rates. It takes running at all these points in tandem to improve

Call Center Gamification

“By 2014, 70% of the largest 2,000 global companies will use gamification.” – Gartner

“Organizations that engage customers and employees see a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes.” –Gallup 2012

Ok, so what is gamification?

Can you believe that data can motivate people even more than sales quotas and bonuses? Gamification collects data on Call Center Reps and shares that information so everyone can see how their numbers compare to their peer; it makes hitting your numbers more of a game. It is imperative to be transparent and clearly showcase everyone’s stats in real-time. This allows people to be competitive through all the additional transparency created through this program.

Employees can achieve badges for hitting their goals. Through gamification, you can improve morale, increase your call center sense of community and collaboration.

One large call center that has rolled out gamification is LiveOps, with over 2,000 call center agents. At LiveOps, gamification looks like this:

  • Agents could get badges and points if they completed additional training and certifications (this takes care of the autonomy, mastery, and progress motivators).
  • They received reward points for increased call conversion, and all points were tracked on public leader boards. (ditto)
  • Sharing knowledge, coaching, and networking were also rewarded with badges and real-time feedback (social interaction and contributing to a greater good).

“Paharia reports that within a week of launching the program, 80% of LiveOps agents opted in and three-quarters of them return on a bi-weekly basis. Participating agents outperformed peers by 23% in average call-handle time and boosted customer satisfaction by 9%.” –FastCompany

Gamification allows:

  1. Friendly competition between Reps and teams
  2. Peer acknowledgment and recognition for their hard work
  3. Increased job satisfaction

Benefits to Managers:

  1. Allows mangers an opportunity to improve individual and team metrics
  2. Can lower turnover
  3. Cost savings

is gamification right for your call center?