While there’s a lot of debate over whether or not to use scripting in an answering service setting, the simple fact is that you need to maintain a consistent approach and high levels of customer service for your audience. Some degree of scripting is required for that, but you also don’t want your answering service agents sounding like robots and ignoring customer requested.

Comcast learned this the hard way last year when a scripted agent refused to go off script and really communicate with the caller. The call recording, which made the rounds after being posted by the consumer online, is a case study in how scripts can steer someone wrong.

However, there is necessary information that needs to be conveyed to incoming callers and standard way of taking caller information. Scripts are necessary, but they don’t have to be robotic or cold.

Use these three ideas to improve the quality of your answering service script and make customers feel more valued:

Make scripts engaging for answering service agents

Agents are more likely to use – and becoming familiar with – scripts if they are easy to use. Although your primary goal for working with an answering service is to help your end customers, whatever benefits the agents will benefit them in the long run. You can integrate color and pictures into your script so that key elements are highlighted and the script is easily scannable for agents on the phone. In addition, you can add links to regulatory guidelines, product info and other essentials that an agent may need to have in order to help the customers. When your agents are engaged with the script, they feel more comfortable with the information and are better equipped to handle unique calls.

Add in empathy

Answering service agents need to establish a connection with your callers from the start and empathy is a great way to do that. In addition to training agents to put themselves into their customers’ shoes through asking important questions, you can also add empathy into the script. There should be a procedure in each script that is followed by every answering service agent that encourages them to reflect back what the caller is saying. By demonstrating that they care about the caller’s concerns and are ready to help, callers feel more supported and valued.

Add sections for personalization

Answering service agents should have some freedom to personalize the script according to their personality and approach. This makes the entire conversation more natural and flowing than reading from a line-by-line document. Keep the scripted questions and call procedures short and easy for the answering service agents to convey. From there they can add personalization based on their department, their team or their individual preferences – within reason of course!

Don’t let a script hold you back! With these three tips you can improve your script and get better results.