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Customer Service Call Scripts for IT Help Desks: 7 Best Practices

Customer Service Call Scripts for IT Help Desks: 7 Best Practices

Customer service call scripts are a tried-and-true way to improve performance and provide a consistently good experience.

But using them successfully isn’t always easy.

As you develop your own IT help desk customer service call scripts, these best practices (from our very own Service Desk Manager) will get you big results.

Best Practice #1: Use a Formal Script for Answering the Phone

There is a time and a place for being informal with callers, but your greeting isn’t one of them. Every caller who reaches out to your help desk should be greeted in the same way, using the same words. The greeting that your callers hear sets the tone for the entire interaction … and the customer experience.

To be consistent, use a formal script. By formal, we mean the script is one that your agents recite word for word. There is no room for ad libs, or for tweaking the greeting. Create a formal greeting so your agents greet every caller with the same language. Here are some sample greetings:

  • Thank you for calling [company name]. How may I help you?
  • Thank you for calling the help desk. This is [agent name]. How may I help you?
  • Welcome to the [Company Name] help desk. My name is [agent name]. How can I help you?
  • Hello, this is the help desk! How may I help you?
  • Good morning/afternoon! You’ve reached the help desk. What can I help you with today?

Best Practice #2: Follow Greetings by Establishing the Caller’s ID

After you have formally greeted the caller, the next best practice is to capture the caller’s information, consistently, every time. Of course, you want to learn as quickly as possible about the caller’s reason for reaching out to your IT help desk, but before you can dive into the weeds, you must capture some basic facts about the caller. To do this properly and consistently, give your agents a script to follow.

Your primary goals are to get the name and phone number of the caller so you can get back to them in case the call gets disconnected. Again, this needs to be a formal script that your agents follow word for word. Say something like this:

  • May I have your name please? [Pause] Thanks. Just in case we get disconnected, what phone number should I use to reach you? [Pause]. Thanks.
  • Before we discuss your issue, can I get your first name please? [Pause]. Thanks. And what is your extension number, just in case we get disconnected? [Pause]. Thanks.

Best Practice #3: Discover the Issue Using the 5 Ws & 1 H

Once you have greeted a caller and discovered their name and a way to get back to them, it’s time to discover their technical issue and the reason for their call.

Some callers explain their issues clearly and in-depth, and don’t require agents to ask many probing questions. Other callers require your agents to dig deeper to uncover the nature of the technical issue the caller is facing.

One way to hep your agents help their callers is to encourage them to use the 5Ws & 1H. These are the six questions that reporters ask when covering a breaking news story. They are:

  1. What?
  2. Where?
  3. When?
  4. Why?
  5. Who?
  6. How?

These six questions are helpful ways to get to the bottom of a caller’s issue, particularly when the caller is confusing, non-technical or unclear. Each call will be different, of course, but a typical call will sound something like this:

  • What is your issue, exactly? Describe what is happening.
  • Where is this issue happening (working from home, for example)?
  • When does this issue typically happen? When did it start?
  • Why has this issue happened now? Did anything notable happen beforehand (such as a software update)?
  • Who is this issue affecting besides you?
  • How have you tried to fix the issue until now?

Best Practice #4: For Some Issues, Use a Knowledgebase, Not a Script

There’s a time and a place for formal help desk calling scripts, but there’s also a time for letting your agents have some autonomy, so they can use their best judgement to provide the best support. One of these occasions is when they are troubleshooting a known technical issue.

For example, when a user phones your help desk with an issue that you resolve regularly (like a password reset), there is no need to take the caller through the 5 Ws and 1 H. Instead, give your agents the autonomy to use your knowledgebase, explain to the caller what needs to be done and then resolve the issue for them.

Best Practice #5: Use a Script when Escalating Tickets

When your agents are at a loss for how to help a user, they shouldn’t be at a loss for words about what to say. Escalating a ticket to the next tier of support is a tremendously delicate area. You don’t want your agents to sound as though they are clueless, incompetent or uncaring. And you don’t want to raise the anxiety (or anger) level of your users, either.

This means you need a ticket-escalation script that communicates two things:

  1. Why you are escalating the ticket
  2. What the caller can expect to happen next

The key with this script is to communicate that you are escalating the ticket to resolve the user’s issue as expeditiously as possible. If necessary, be polite yet sufficiently vague when describing next steps. You don’t want to overpromise what the next tier of support is going to do, or how quickly they are going to get back to the caller, unless you have service level agreements in place that allow you to make these promises.

Here are two scripts to use, one generic and one specific.

Generic Escalation

[Caller name], because of the nature/complexity of this issue, I’ll need to escalate your ticket to a technical specialist on the [name of team] team. They handle things as they come in. So, your call will be handled as soon as you reach the front of the queue, and the agent will already have all the details you’ve shared with me.

Specific Escalation

[Caller name], because of the nature/complexity of this issue, I’ll need to escalate your ticket to a technical specialist on the [name of team] team immediately. They will get back to you within [number] of hours, and will already have the information you’ve provided to me today.

Best Practice #6: Use a Formal Script when Ending a Call

How you end a call is almost as important as how you start a call. You want to be sure that you deliver the best possible user experience, and this means ensuring that your agents have dealt with each issue adequately, and that callers are satisfied with their experience.

To ensure that you are professional, caller-focused and consistent, create a formal script for agents to use when wrapping up calls. It can be as simple as this:

I think we're all set. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

One caveat: Make sure the script sounds like something a living, breathing human would say naturally in a conversation. If an agent has done a great job building rapport with the caller, it can be off-putting for the caller to then hear, “Thank you for calling [company] name today – please call again.”

Best Practice #7: Memorize Your Scripts

The primary goal of scripts is to accelerate conversations.

Scripts help your agents sound professional, knowledgeable and caring (which they should be – if they’re not, here’s how to find some who are).

Scripts help your agents gather the information they need to help each caller quickly and efficiently.

But scripts get in the way of good conversations when agents read them word for word in a staccato rhythm, recite them from memory in a monotone, uninterested voice, or use them instead of empathy.

What this means in practical terms is that your “formal” scripts are only formal in the sense that they are company policy – they’re required, not optional. But even a “formal” script can sound informal over the phone. Your goal is to train your agents to use your scripts with a natural tone of voice, with natural intonation and inflection. Avoid sounding aloof or robotic. Aim to sound friendly and human.

Customer Service Call Scripts That Deliver Great Service

As odd as this may sound, one of the best ways to sound natural on the phone is to read from a script. Or, to be more precise, to follow a script. Don’t read a script, exactly. Instead, craft a script that tells you the words to say, then deliver those words in a natural way over the phone.

IT help desk customer service calling scripts helps your agents gather essential information, sound professional, and be consistent on every call. If you need help in this area, consider outsourcing all or part of your help desk. Read about the Top 10 Help Desk Challenges—and How to Overcome Them.

Top 10 Help Desk Challenges - and How to Overcome Them