The Most Important Elements of a Business Phone Script

Ever wonder how to make a business phone script? Here is where we unpack all the vital information for creating a phone script for a business.

Image of laptops, paper, pens, and two people creating a business phone script

They say you only get one shot at a first impression. That wisdom is especially true when it comes to answering your business phone. Callers may be deciding whether or not to work with your company based on their initial interactions over the phone. Customers calling for support are seeking help. Based on their conversations with your organization, they may or may not decide to return for future purchases and services. Every phone call is an opportunity for your business to create a new customer or take care of an existing one.

For better or for worse, a company’s competence is reflected in the way they handle phone calls. With so much riding on your phone conversations with customers, it’s worth developing a business phone script for your team. A phone script is a series of statements and questions that guide a representative through conversations with callers based on their interests. Phone scripts can range from brief and simple to much longer and more complex. Either way, it should be easy for the person representing your company to follow the script regardless of the reason for the call.

Customer service scripts can provide a framework for your staff or an outsourced call handling partner to work their way through each call to ensure each caller is taken care of in a way that reflects your business. Phone scripts can give these calls structure, allowing for a more streamlined and straightforward conversation with your customers. They also allow for an easy transition for new employees or partners learning the ins and outs of your process.

Of course, the benefits of a phone script for business don’t stop there. A good phone script is a branding opportunity, allowing you to mirror the brand identity you have established for your business. This level of consistency is key for any organization hoping to create a professional experience for people who interact with the business no matter what medium they choose.

The process of creating a business phone script can be immensely helpful in unexpected ways too. By reviewing your current policies and standards for calls, you’ll be able to identify gaps in your customer experience. Since every phone call is an opportunity, there is good reason to invest your time in the creation of a business phone message script. For these reasons, let’s explore the most important elements of a call script and how best to use them for your conversations with customers.

Before the Phone Rings

Believe it or not, the chance to offer stellar customer service begins before the phone starts ringing. Begin by considering the types of calls you most frequently receive. Whether you’re scheduling appointments, troubleshooting tech issues, or answering questions about your services, you’ll want to create a phone script that addresses these typical conversations. Even if you’re not handling calls personally, the script you create should factor in these most common types of interactions.

It’s also best to ensure a real, live human being is available to take calls. When your first impression means the difference between earning new business or losing a lead to your competitor, having a professional, friendly voice on the end of the line is key. People hate automated greetings and menus to select from – it’s the quickest way to get hung up on by your customers or at least irritate them before the conversation even begins. Instead, work with your team to develop a strategy for answering calls quickly and professionally.

Calls should be answered in three rings or less. This can be challenging for small businesses without a dedicated receptionist or even larger organizations that don’t have the resources dedicated to caller support. It’s hard to juggle incoming calls while you’re also attending to the daily operations of a business or another job function you may be tasked with.

Many companies big and small opt to work with a phone answering service to offset the amount of labor associated with incoming calls. It’s cheaper than hiring staff to do it and it ensures that every call is answered quickly by a real person who is dedicated and skilled with it comes to answering the phone. Still, some businesses do choose to employ staff to take calls and other organizations find a balance between in-house call handling and outsourcing that works best for them. Whatever your strategy, get everybody on the same page with a good phone script, and have a plan for who will be answering your phone and when.

When planning your strategy for customer service over the phone, it’s important to consider the challenges that await you. For example, if a person calls in but doesn’t speak English, how will your team handle the conversation? Will you apologize that you can’t understand, hang up, and lose a business opportunity? Will you hire a bilingual receptionist to take over the phones? Will you work with a bilingual call center to help manage such conversations?

Another common customer service challenge is routing calls with efficiency. If someone calls in and needs to speak with your billing department, for instance, how will you forward the call without accidentally hanging up on the caller, or leaving them on hold for a lengthy period? Nobody likes being passed around like a hot potato, so you’ll want to develop a strategy that minimizes transfers and holds. Determine how you’ll handle common challenges before you begin working on a phone script for business.

Of course, you’ll also want to consider the overall message you’d like to convey to callers. With impressions of your business at stake, it’s important to develop a business phone script that reflects your commitment to customer service. Decide on the impression you want to make on your callers and allow it to guide the creation of your customer service scripts.

Now, let’s get into the key components as we walk you through how to make a business phone script.

The Greeting

Once you’re ready to dive into the development of your phone script, start with the greeting. This portion sets the tone for the entire call, so you’ll want to be careful with your phrasing and tone. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers: how would you like to be greeted at the start of a phone call? The answer can guide you through the entire process of creating the script. Decide whether you’d like to introduce yourself, the business, or both. While you might be afraid of overloading callers with information, it’s common to offer both a welcoming greeting along with an introduction of the person speaking. It helps put a face to your business and clarify exactly who the caller has reached.

There are a few other choices to make when creating the greeting portion of your customer service scripts. Decide whether or not you’ll reference the time of day when picking up the phone. While a throwaway “good morning” comment might seem harmless, it can sometimes trip up the employees answering your phones as they reference the clock to see what time of day it is. Additionally, a person may be calling from a different time zone. Streamline communications so that your phone script flows easily no matter what time of day a person calls.

Depending on your company’s overall communication strategy, you may want to think outside the box for the initial phone greeting. A fun catchphrase or slogan can be worked into your greeting with ease and help you stand out from your competitors. Punching up traditional call phrases can be a double-edged sword, though. Even if the fun phrasing works most of the time, you’ll inevitably speak with an irate customer who doesn’t find your overly flowery messaging appealing.

Whatever you decide on for your greeting, this portion of the phone script should ultimately end with an offer of help. People aren’t dialing you up for a casual chat about the weather, after all. You’re there to serve a purpose, to support your customers and provide excellent service. Start on the right foot by asking how you can help the caller.

Flow Charts for Phone Scripts

Once you begin to delve deeper into the development of your phone script, you may want to create a flow chart to guide your progress. These can be easily created in Excel and are immensely helpful in organizing the script you’re writing. The design of your script should feel dynamic – you’ll want to prepare for any kind of question that gets thrown your way! Create a document that factors in the winding road customers often take you down while on the phone.

Image of four men developing a phone script for business using a flowchartFor starters, it helps to determine why a person is calling. The answer will determine which path the customer support agent should follow on your flow chart. Whether someone is calling for customer support, general inquiries, to lodge a complaint or to place an order, you’ll need to create applicable follow-up questions and messaging. Make a list of common questions for each scenario and then answer them in the most professional, clear, efficient way possible.

Next, consider the urgency of the call. Many types of businesses often deal with urgent or emergency matters. In these situations, you want to get to the point as quickly as possible to begin resolving the issue. For general inquiries and other types of non-urgent calls, on the other hand, you may want to take a more relaxed and casual approach. Build out your flow chart to reflect this urgency and take next steps as necessary.

Depending on the urgency of the call, determine what needs to happen next. Create options to revolve an issue right away, to transfer to another department or customer service agent, or take a message as needed. Again, you’ll want to put yourself in the shoes of your customers: if you called with a problem, how would you like it to be resolved? This sense of empathy for your callers can help you create a business phone script that feels authentic.

You’ll also want to consider the information you’re hoping to collect from each caller. Your phone script may need to start off with a greeting followed quickly by a request for an account or confirmation number. In some cases, you may need a person’s name, phone number, email, home address and more. Be careful not to overwhelm callers right away. Instead, opt to collect only the most vital of information necessary to provide efficient support. In many cases, a name and phone number may be all you need to get started. Either way, ask for one piece of information at a time and verify you’ve got it right.

The Art of the Transfer

If you have multiple employees and departments, chances are good that you’ll want to have a transfer policy worked into your script. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to transfer a caller to someone else. Whether you’re escalating the call to a manager or need to transfer them to a specific department, the transfer is more art than science.

Customer service scripts should include language explaining what will happen when you transfer the call. Tell them if there will be a hold period, who they will be speaking with, if you’ll be on the line with them during the transfer to introduce the call, how long they should expect it to take, or any information that can set a proper expectation for the caller. Even a simple explanation about the music that might play while you’re transferring the call can help your customers remain calm. By looping callers into the conversation, you clarify expectations and reassure them you haven’t hung up on them.

In some cases, though, you’ll have to put some callers on hold. Nobody likes being put on hold. A brief hold is usually OK, but people have grown accustomed to fearing the hold since it often means long wait times. Because of this, it’s best to avoid putting callers on hold whenever possible. If you can’t avoid putting someone on hold, asking their permission to do so can help keep things civil. Keep any hold periods short, and always thank the caller for their patience when you return. It’s a crucial part of any successful phone script.

Sharing Information

Your phone script for business should also reflect the next steps required to move forward with the customer’s request. After a lot of listening, your script should shift from receiving information to sharing it. Often times it’s beneficial to outline what they’ll need to do next, share your website address if they may find it useful, or detail your shipping policies. Promotions are another great thing you can share. For example, after attending to the topic at hand, if applicable, let them know about any special deals you’ve got going on. You’ve already got them on the phone, so why not drum up a little more business?

Marketers spend millions of dollars and man-hours every year working to get consumers to talk to businesses on the phone. When you’re taking an incoming call, it’s an opportunity for your business to connect with consumers. Your phone script should take advantage of the caller’s attention and tell them about any special sales or promotions you’re having. While many people will politely decline your offers, many others will be eager to learn about such opportunities. After all, when there are sales to be made, it never hurts to ask!

Closing the Call

As your call winds down, you’ll want to communicate the next steps you anticipate taking. Set an expectation for the caller: someone will arrive at their home by 2:00, they should receive a call within 24 hours, or their manager will meet with them on Tuesday. Whatever the situation, make sure your phone script includes these details.

Image of a team of people developing a customer service scriptWrap up your business phone script by explaining how follow-up messages will be shared. Customers should know whether to expect a call, an email, or a text message with updates. Messages containing private information should only be shared via text or email. Text messages are not considered private channels, so be sure to check the rules and regulations surrounding sensitive data. This is especially true if you’re handling medical information. HIPAA-compliance is necessary for such data, and text messages won’t qualify.

Before hanging up, always check to see if there is anything else you can help with before you say goodbye. Thank the caller for their time and sign off with a friendly salutation. Don’t overthink this portion of the phone script for business – a simple farewell will do it!

Next Steps

Your phone script should also outline how the call will be documented internally. Many managers opt to create logs where customer service agents can keep track of details and share information with colleagues. This is especially helpful when you plan to follow up with a specific caller at a later time.

Consider, too, the impact that taking these calls will have on your team’s productivity levels. Unless you have a dedicated receptionist answering the phone every time it rings, phone calls can be incredibly distracting for your employees. These interruptions are more impactful than you might expect, too. A conversation with a customer can seriously hamper productivity.

While you’re creating your phone script, it’s worth thinking about the policies you have in place to handle incoming calls. Who will answer the phone during especially busy moments? If that person is on a break, who will cover them? Will that person also be trained to follow the phone script you’ve written? Who will cover the phones after you’ve closed for the day? Do you really want to come into the office each morning to check voicemails and wonder who else called and never even left one?

If these questions send you into a bit of a panic, don’t worry: MAP Communications is the simple solution to the most common administrative challenges. With more than thirty years in the industry, we’ve become the go-to company for virtual receptionists, call centers and answering services. If you want to invest in your customer service without paying for a new, full-time receptionist, we have the necessary resources.

What’s more, we’ll help you hone the phone script that’s right for your business. Our account managers work hard to study your industry, services, products, and offerings to ensure they’re knowledgeable about your organization. They’ll help ensure your business phone script reflects both the goals for your future and your commitment to customer service. Affordable, convenient and easy to use, our professional answering services are the cure for the common call center.

See what’s possible with MAP by signing up for a free, week-long trial of our phone answering services! Our experienced team will work with you to develop an ideal script. Click here or call us to get started.