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Best practices & tips for effective call center scripts


The Team at CallMiner

June 16, 2020

portrait of beautiful and cheerful young woman telephone operator with headset working on desktop computer in row in customer service call support helpline business center with co-worker in background
portrait of beautiful and cheerful young woman telephone operator with headset working on desktop computer in row in customer service call support helpline business center with co-worker in background

Updated March 6, 2024

What is a call center script?

Call center scripts are documents that help guide agents in their interactions with customers. A good script streamlines these conversations and ensures fast and efficient customer service.

Call center agents must be ready to handle a variety of situations and customer interactions, making scripts for different purposes a must for some companies.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of using call center scripts. We’ll also review a curated collection of best practices for developing effective call center scripts and how to best utilize them to your advantage.

In this article:

  • What are the benefits of using call center scripts?
  • The downsides of rigid adherence to call center scripts
  • Tips for developing effective call center scripts
  • Best practices for using call center scripts
  • Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of using call center scripts?

Call center scripts offer several advantages to both agents and customers during interactions. Here’s a look at some of the benefits companies can gain by leveraging call center scripts.

  • Ensuring legal and regulatory compliance: Whether you employ scripted language for greeting customers or closing sales or offer special guidance for agents who handle difficult customer interactions, such as agitated customers, scripts can be useful for ensuring agents comply with all legally required language, such as the mini-Miranda for collection agency compliance.
  • Facilitating training: Call center scripts can be used as training material for new hires, helping new agents get accustomed to common scenarios and the kind of responses expected from them. Call center leaders can use call recordings to analyze the techniques employed by their top-performing agents, integrating those techniques into scripts to improve performance across the board.
  • Guiding agents: Particularly for new or less-experienced agents, scripts serve as a valuable guide. They offer structured guidance, making it easier for agents to navigate the call and ensuring that important points are not missed.
  • Ensuring consistent messaging: Scripts help maintain a consistent tone and message during customer interactions. Every agent can provide similar information and guidance, ensuring that customers receive uniform responses regardless of who they interact with.
  • Improving efficiency: Scripts allow agents to handle calls more efficiently, as they have predefined responses and guidance available. This can help in reducing the call handling time and improving the overall productivity of the call center.
  • Maintaining quality control: Having a script helps maintain a certain level of quality in customer interactions. It assists in avoiding unnecessary or off-point information from being shared, thus improving the overall quality of the conversation.
  • Boosting customer satisfaction: By following a script, agents are more likely to provide accurate and complete information, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction. It also ensures that customers receive swift responses, improving their overall experience.
  • Reducing agent error: Scripts reduce the likelihood of human error as they provide specific guidelines on what to say and ask, leading to fewer mistakes or omissions during customer interactions.

The downsides of rigid adherence to call center scripts (and what to do instead)

While there are many benefits, it's also crucial to consider the potential drawbacks of using call center scripts too rigidly. Strict adherence to scripts might make conversations sound robotic or impersonal.

Agents might also feel limited in their ability to empathize and adapt to unique customer needs and emotions. Therefore, it's beneficial to use scripts as guidelines and allow agents some flexibility to personalize conversations based on the customer's situation and emotions.

In addition to creating scripts to guide agents in communicating with customers, the use of conversation analytics can aid QA and compliance teams in making sure that agents are acting in compliance with call center regulations, following required scripts, and that the scripts are achieving desired results (such as de-escalating customer frustrations or converting prospects to buyers).

In fact, conversation intelligence tools like CallMiner provide a more flexible way to maintain quality control and compliance, improve efficiency, boost sales effectiveness and increase revenue, and enhance both agent experience and customer satisfaction. The Eureka platform analyzes 100% of customer conversations across channels and provides real-time agent guidance to improve the outcome of every customer interaction, in addition to a wealth of other valuable insights to drive performance improvement.

To help you develop effective call center scripts – and understand when and how to use them wisely – we’ve rounded up 25 valuable tips from call center experts and customer service thought leaders.

Read on to learn more about the key elements for effective call center scripts, when to give agents leeway to go off-script, and how to best leverage call center scripts to boost performance.

Tips for developing effective call center scripts

1. Avoid creating rigid scripts with no flexibility. Instead, provide real-time performance feedback and agent guidance.

“One of the most significant challenges in a call center is offering feedback to agents promptly so they can adjust how they handle conversations with customers.

“In the past, call centers had to produce their own scorecards based on manually reviewing a handful of recorded calls. The problem with this approach is that it didn’t provide an accurate review of the agent’s performance and the delay didn’t benefit the call center or the customer.

“By purchasing an interaction analytics platform that includes automated scoring, call centers can identify metrics they want to grade agents on, assign weights to different categories, and the system scores every call. With real-time analytics, agents receive next best action guidance while on the call so that they can adjust during the conversation. When agents get assistance without having to go to a supervisor they feel more confident in deciding on their own and customers are happier in the process.” - Leveraging Best Practices to Empower Your Agent Workforce, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner

2. Hire for customer service excellence, because you can’t script sincerity.

“It’s not that hard to notice when you’re dealing with a customer support rep who is less than sincere. They tend to say some of the same things over and over, such as, ‘I can understand why you would feel that way and we are sorry for your inconvenience.’ It’s as if they are reading from a script… because most of the time they are. I actually had one customer service representative repeat that phrase so many times that I asked them to not to say it anymore.

“They aren’t really sorry. At least they don’t appear to be. What they appear to be doing is regurgitating the responses they learned in their customer service training classes or what’s printed on a piece of paper. Maybe they really are sincere; but their company forces them to appear to be insincere, because they are required to go by the script.

“The bottom line is this: You can’t script sincerity!” – Shep Hyken, You Can’t Script Sincerity in Customer Support,; Twitter: @Hyken

3. Call center scripts aren’t always suitable for every customer interaction.

“For many customer service organizations, call center scripts are essential. They help to ensure consistency in detail and messaging, reduce errors, fill in gaps in training and the lack of in-depth product knowledge, and help new reps build confidence. Scripts also help to deal with the high employee turnover rate that plagues some customer service organizations – there isn’t always time for in-depth training. Scripts are training wheels, guides to proper customer interaction, and a valuable internal knowledge base.

“But what about the customer experience? With the focus on taking a people-first approach to customer service and building better customer relationships, do call center scripts really have a place? Reciting scripts and sticking to a predefined path through the customer experience often comes off as rigid and frustrating, and using them may just prevent reps developing any rapport with or empathy for the customer.” – Anton de Young, You don’t always need call center scripts, Zendesk; Twitter: @zendesk

4. Use call recordings to develop effective and natural-sounding scripts.

“Many companies use call recordings to identify problems, evaluate performance, collect statistical data, and so on consumer conversations. You can also use it to build and refine scripts, so they sound natural and conversational.” – How to Create the Perfect Phone Script, Unicom; Twitter: @unicomcorp

5. Transparency and clear, detailed instructions are essential.

“It’s important for agents to be tactful when sharing advice or a solution. Whether walking a caller through complicated troubleshooting steps or explaining why they may need to purchase another product, transparency and clear, in-depth instructions can go a long way.

“Reps should also know the limits of what they can and can’t offer and receive training on when to route a conversation to their manager for additional help.” - Court Bishop, Call center scripts: Script openings, best practices, and template, Zendesk; Twitter: @zendesk

6. Develop scripts that feel authentic.

“What makes a great call center script?

“A script that doesn’t sound like one.

Sixty-nine percent of customers say they hate it when a call center agent reads from a script. So, the key here is not to let your customers know that they are read to from a script.” - Disha Bhuyan, 15+ Super-effective Call Center Scripts for Agents and Tele Callers, LeadSquared; Twitter: @LeadSquared

7. Use call center scripts to provide a consistent customer experience.

“A call center script will ensure that your customers will get the same response when they call with a question or issue, no matter which agent answers the phone. Scripting ensures that your brand’s core messages, values, and goals are the foundation of every interaction. By maintaining this level of consistency, all of your customers will have a similar, positive experience with your brand.” – Brittany Wilhelms, 6 Benefits of Call Center Scripts, Call Forwarding; Twitter: @call_forwarding

8. Write multiple possible scenarios into every script.

“What might callers want when contacting your business? Create easy paths for every possible scenario. Is someone calling for an appointment? For information on a product? For your address? For an emergency? For pricing? You get the picture.

“The fact is, sometimes people call your business unsure of what it is they really need. Or they may be calling for one thing, but then realize they need something else while they are on the phone. This makes writing multiple possibilities into your script essential.” – Nick DAlleva, Don’t trip on your script! 6 call center scripting do’s and dont’s, Specialty Answering Services; Twitter: @SpecialtyAnswer

9. Understand customers’ primary fears before writing scripts.

“Before a good script can be written you first need to understand what the primary fears are of the receiver… the customer. Whether you are making an inbound or an outbound call, they both require careful step by step planning on how to help your agent get through the call professionally, personably and results oriented.

“Throughout the years I have had many opportunities to visit various companies and assess their call center. Many of my assessments have identified two primary weaknesses in the agent’s call guides (scripts) that need greater attention. Most scripts do not provide enough focus in the flow to allow agents to easily channel from Introduction to their Post Close. Typically it’s expected that the agent, “think out of the box” but in reality that is not always possible particularly when the agent is new. A poor delivery will ultimately cause a bad reflection on your company and thus causing a decline in sales and in your customer retention.” – Kathy Sisk, The Art of Script Writing, Contact Center World; Twitter: @rajwadhwani

10. Scripts that are too flexible can result in miscommunication.

“On the other end of the spectrum is the new trend in the contact/call center. Instead of a formal script, write a loose set of guidelines to nudge the conversation down a certain path. These guidelines give ample flexibility to the agent to use their judgement when responding to the customer’s questions, complaints, and concerns. Generally, a flexible call script will sound more natural and fluid, but that is not always a good thing. Without clear responses to questions, agents can distribute misinformation, stumble over their words, and portray the company in a less than favorable way.” – Writing A Contact/Call Center Script For Business Goals, Mindsight; Twitter: @GoMindsight

11. Leverage scripts for agent training but do so lightly to avoid creating dependency.

“If you or someone on your team is new to the role, positive scripting can be an incredibly useful training tool. Scripts serve as a starting point, helping new customer service or customer success professionals learn the ropes and better understand the flow of a positive customer interaction.

“But even at this early stage, scripts should be used lightly. To prevent dependency, you might provide general bullet points instead of a long, phrase-by-phrase document. This ensures that the person has enough information to provide an accurate, helpful solution, while limiting the level of standardization.” – Carly Stec, The Do’s and Don’ts of Positive Scripting for Customer Service, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot

12. Develop scripts that include key elements from greetings to thanking the customer at the call’s conclusion.

“Customers and potential customers of an organization frequently call designated customer service telephone numbers to make inquiries about a company’s goods, services or operation. Here’s a simple customer service telephone script to ensure customer service personnel are efficient at collecting relevant customer information while remaining friendly and professional.

  • Greet the caller (based on the culture of the organization or region e.g. Good morning, Hello)
  • Say the name of the organizations (e.g. ABC Industries)
  • Introduce yourself (e.g. Elizabeth speaking)
  • Find out why the customer is calling (e.g. How may I help you?)
  • Listen to the customer. Take note of key information. Repeat information to the customer to clarify if unsure.
  • Provide the requested information or offer to call the customer back when you have the information.

Thank the customer for calling. Add a pleasantry.” – Chinazom Elizabeth Izuora, 4 Customer Service Telephone Scripts for Professionals, Woculus; Twitter: @Ayo_Oyedotun

13. Develop scripts that lead to action.

“Design your script so that it leads to action. Ask yourself: do you want to book an appointment, make a sale, or simply respond to a phone call from your office. If you are a medical call center or medical provider, define your emergencies clearly so that the call center agents can respond appropriately.” – How to Craft an Effective Answering Service Call Center Script, Answer Excellence

14. Use positive reinforcement.

“Beginning a script with positive reinforcement can assure the customer that they made the right decision and that the representative can take care of them. Start your script with positive response questions to create a friendly beginning for the call. Prompt customers to make ‘yes’ responses by asking to verify their name, date of birth or address. Establishing a positive start to the call can create a calm atmosphere and set the tone for the rest of the conversation.” - Call Center Scripts (Purpose, Examples and How To Create Your Own), Indeed; Twitter: @indeed

Best practices for using call center scripts

1. Reword negative phrases into positives.

“In your call center script, consider rewording negative phrases into positive action. For example: ‘The product will be available in January. I can go ahead and order it for you right now if you’d like so you’ll be one of the first to receive it.’ Call center best practices include using more positive language and finding ways to give more information to the caller.” – Call Center Best Practices: 6 Things A Rep Should Never Say, Salesforce; Twitter: @salesforce

2. Highlight important commands and instructions to aid compliance.

“When you add key bits of information into the script that the advisor must say, e.g. for regulatory reasons, it’s good practice to highlight these. This is because advisors will likely get to the stage where they use the script as a guideline, but the highlight will reinforce the important of the text.” – How to Develop the Best Contact Centre Script, Call Centre Helper; Twitter: @callcentrehelp

3. Tone is everything.

“You could have the best-written script in the world, and it won’t mean much if you’re not energized, positive, and empathetic in your tone. Take cues from these customer service tone tips to make sure you’re acing it.” - Call Center Scripts, Gladly; Twitter: @gladly

4. Have agents practice delivering scripts until it feels natural.

“Some scripts need to be read word-for-word. It may be a necessity to avoid confusion, to handle complex info, to cover legal requirements, etc. Those situations aside, mostly we try to ensure that agents are able to deliver the script in their own words. After all, the point is to make specific points and follow specific best practices, right? Verbatim or not, the best way to come across as sincere and engaged with customers is to practice the delivery so that tone of voice, pacing, and word emphasis all sound natural.” – 6 Tips for Delivering an Authentic Call Center Script, The Connection; Twitter: @TheConnectionCC

5. Provide agents with empathy statements.

“Effective customer service agents of any type need to be empathetic. And that’s not something you can teach. You have to hire for it.

“But you can teach your call center agents effective ways to signal their empathy.

“There are many ways to do this. Call Centre Helper has a great list of 18 empathy statements to use in your call center training. You may notice that they have a lot of things in common:

  • They’re helpful
  • They express gratitude
  • They emphasize respect
  • They focus on solving problems quickly

“If your call center agents can do those things, you’ll have a great customer service team.

“Of course, just teaching these phrases and concepts in training isn’t enough. Your team needs to actually use them. Which means you’ll need good scripts as well as practice.” – Dann Albright, Embrace Active Learning (and 7 More Call Center Training Tips), Continu; Twitter: @continu

6. While you can provide guidance in the form of empathy statements, keep in mind that you can’t script empathy.

“’You can’t script empathy,’ says Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, an omnichannel customer experience consultancy in Boston. ‘The right way to do it is to teach the agents about why you’re trying to show empathy, what is it, and why is it important.’

“For empathy to be genuine, Temkin says. the agents must have autonomy over how they respond, and choose what course of action to take and what words to say. After all, even the best actor will sound wooden after 10 repetitions of a similar script.” – Bruce Temkin, as told to Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Dear Customer Service Centers, Please Stop It With the Scripted Empathy, Fortune; Twitter: @FortuneMagazine

7. Continuously adapt and improve your call center scripts.

“Customer needs and company policy may change over time, and your call center scripts may evolve accordingly. Consider your scripts as works in progress and regularly revisit your scripts to make changes, add language or make other revisions. Make sure to revise any time a product or service changes and whenever there's a change in brand messaging.” - Call Center Scripts (Purpose, Examples and How To Create Your Own), Indeed; Twitter: @indeed

8. Always ask for more information when you need it.

“You can deliver customers the best experience only if you know their problem inside out. If you don’t have the necessary information, it will be difficult to fix their issue in the way it should. For that reason, you should not hesitate in asking for more information from customers as and when you feel like it.” - Praveen Singh, 15 Powerful Customer Service Scripts for Your Team, REVE Chat; Twitter: @REVEChat

9. Rely on customer service technology rather than expecting agents to memorize many scripts.

“Investing in customer service technology will help your agent to work efficiently. There are some software platforms in which you can create a script which can easily be accessed and used by agents. Memorizing all scripts for all cases won’t help.” – Rafi Chowdhury, Things to Improve your Call Center Script,

10. Empower agents to problem-solve during nuanced interactions.

“Basic call center training should prepare employees for the new customer service normal: where agents deliver more personalized interactions. Avoid training agents to solve common problems with common solutions or call center training conversation scripts. Instead — empower agents to relationally connect with unique customers with unpredictable issues. This means training on ideas including emotional intelligence, active listening, and problem-solving to prepare agents for deeper, more nuanced interactions.” – Rethinking the Call Center: Customer-First Training, Seismic; Twitter: @SeismicSoftware

11. Compare quality scores and other metrics of scripted and non-scripted conversations to identify shortcomings and refine scripts.

“Once the script has been role-played and advisors have become familiar with the process, it is time to implement it. But it is perhaps best to implement the script with a small number of advisors to begin with.

“By doing so, the contact centre can compare the quality scores, Customer Satisfaction (CSat) scores and handling times of the scripted advisors with those who have stuck to the old methods.

“This approach will highlight any issues with the script before it comes the norm, while providing detail into how satisfied your customers are with your script.” – Positive Scripting for Customer Service, Call Centre Helper; Twitter: @callcentrehelp

Frequently asked questions

What makes an effective call center script?

A good call center script is well-organized, concise, and customer-focused. It should guide the agent through the call flow, providing helpful prompts, possible responses, and probing questions to navigate the conversation effectively. The script should also allow flexibility for the agent to personalize the conversation, adapting to the customer's unique needs and emotions.

How do you convince customers in a call center script?

Convincing customers in a call center script involves empathetic communication, active listening, and providing helpful solutions. The script should guide agents to acknowledge the customer’s issue, reassure them of assistance, and present beneficial solutions or alternatives that align with their needs and interests.

However, scripts should be flexible enough to allow agents to personalize customer interactions and have authentic conversations. Conversation intelligence solutions like CallMiner analyze 100% of customer interactions and provide real-time agent guidance, which ensures quality control and drives better outcomes without the need for rigid call center scripts.

How do I start a cold call script?

Starting a cold call script involves a brief and compelling introduction. For example: “Hello, [Customer's Name], this is [Agent’s Name] from [Company Name]. I hope you're having a good day. The reason for my call is to share some information that could benefit [a specific need or interest of the customer]. May I take a few minutes to discuss this with you?”

What is an example of a warm call script?

A warm call script is designed for a conversation with a customer who has previously interacted with your company.

Here’s an example: “Hello, [Customer’s Name], this is [Agent's Name] from [Company Name]. We had interacted previously regarding [mention the context of the previous interaction]. I’m calling today to [mention the purpose, e.g., follow-up, provide an update, or introduce a new opportunity]. Do you have a few minutes to discuss this further?”

What is the opening script for a call center?

An opening script typically involves a warm greeting and a brief introduction of the agent and company.

For example: “Hello, thank you for calling [Company Name]. This is [Agent's Name]. How may I assist you today?”

What is the best closing spiel for customer service?

A great closing spiel thanks the customer, ensures all their issues have been addressed, and offers further assistance.

For example: “Thank you for contacting [Company Name]. I'm glad I could assist you today. Is there anything else you would like help with? We appreciate your business and are here to support you whenever you need assistance. Have a great day!”

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