Several brands in the market sell similar products and services, but what marks a differentiation is the quality of their customer service. Customer service can significantly impact your sales and overall profits when done right.
Customers expect brands to deliver service on multiple channels and platforms. 54% of customers want all their experiences personalized while interacting with a brand. They want service agents to respond quickly to their queries and offer help when needed. To meet these expectations, you need a strategic customer service action plan.
Building a customer service action plan is crucial for any business as it helps to beat the competition.
You have to understand the customer’s perception to deliver exceptional customer service. Without that, you will fail to impress your customers. Understanding that there is more to customer service than just getting the job done is essential.
To create a customer service improvement plan, you must consistently consider client feedback. Before diving into creating a customer service action plan, let’s understand what it means.
What is a customer service action plan?
A customer service action plan includes strategies to help your service agents handle consumer interactions. A top-notch customer service action plan will have guidelines to deliver a consistent consumer experience to customers throughout their buying journey.
A well-developed action plan will also help you to train your customer service team. At the same time, it will enable agents to deliver valuable and insightful customer service without needing clarification.
Your plan should have steps to improve customer success metrics like churn rate, customer satisfaction, response time, ticket volume, and resolution time.
A well-developed action plan will help you train your customer service team and enable agents to deliver valuable and insightful customer service without getting confused.
Once a base action plan is established, building up and personalizing customer service becomes easy.
Before creating a customer service action plan
Here’s everything you should do before creating a customer service action plan for your customer support team:
Review what kind of service you wish to deliver to your customers. Be clear about your responsibilities and set practical expectations that you can fulfill. Set timelines for various communication channels and communicate those to your clients beforehand, as that will help your customers to understand what to expect from you.
Organize your workflow
Before creating an action plan to improve customer service, organize your workflow. Instill the virtues of reliability and patience within your customer service representatives, as they will go a long way, irrespective of the customer’s complaint.
Take some time to organize and prepare client experience too. You can do this by reading the company’s manual and product information so that you are promptly ready with a solution when the client is facing a problem. Also, learn how and where to escalate the issue if you do not have an answer.
Set a proper communication channel
A customer service improvement plan is only helpful if you have a rock-solid communication channel for your customers. You’ll need to have mechanisms in place to ensure that you communicate with clients at every stage of the engagement, from inquiry to the completion of the purchase process.
Your client shouldn’t have to ask you for help after every step. Instead, you should be clear about the entire customer journey, including their stage, what’s completed, what’s coming up, and what you can expect next.
Workout the little things
Don’t underestimate the importance of little things. They can make a difference and help you to beat the competition. Set specific general guidelines for customer service agents where you encourage them to return calls and emails in a stipulated time.
Train them to focus on the customer’s issue and provide helpful information. Ask them to acknowledge and appreciate good customers. Also, have a process that helps them to identify VIP customers.
Getting such elements in place before creating a customer service action plan will help you drastically. Once the general guidelines are in place, your customer service agents can always focus on the nitty-gritty of delivering top-notch service.
How to create an action plan for customer service
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can create an action plan for customer service:
Cater to your customer’s needs
Before creating an action plan to improve your customer service, take some time to assess your current customer’s needs. Ask your existing customers to fill out feedback forms or take surveys. You can also review previous customer inquiries and data to help you understand your customer’s expectations.
Study your company’s operational data that helps you to understand customer dissatisfaction with existing clients. Review the status of stockouts, backlogs, or customer complaints. Check if you have any product returns, as that will help you to get a clear idea of where the customer was dissatisfied.
Based on that, you can create an action plan to identify any unmet needs and uncover opportunities for improvement.
Assess your existing processes
Check your internal processes and customer service operations. Create a visual chart to understand your existing procedure when a customer reaches out to you. See if you have enough personalization in customer service or if there is room for improvement. Based on that, note down the changes in your action plan.
Create a customer service strategy
Your strategies should reflect your vision, which will help you identify the type of customer service your organization is looking to use. Also, include policies that will clarify how the customer service department will operate.
Create a detailed customer service action plan that describes your policies so that your customer service reps know exactly what to do in a given situation. Describe various scenarios and their mock solutions in a manual.
Set customer service goals
An action plan to improve customer service is only helpful with goals. You have to define your goals to help you take a particular direction for your customer service. For example, if your clients complain that the wait time for their support tickets is very long, your goal should be to close support tickets within one or two days.
Although, remember to set reasonable and achievable goals. Do not overburden your staff, as that will reflect on the quality of your customer service. For example, if your team can comfortably close support tickets within two days, don’t over-promise your customers to close them in a day.
Set goals that help you to create a good customer service action plan by using best practices like:
- Create goals that are achievable but equally challenging. Also, ensure that your goals align with your business objectives.
- Write specific goals using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) approach.
- Enlist a method that can help you to measure these goals.
Specific goals that you can set for your department are:
- Focus on overall customer satisfaction
For example: We will increase our CSAT score from 70% to 82% by February.
- Decrease cost per contact
For example: We will integrate a live chat tool this month that will help us to reduce cost per contact by 20%.
- Increase employee satisfaction
For example: We will reduce the burnout rate by 10% in the first quarter of this year.
These are some ways of setting realistic goals that will help you create a crisp customer service action plan.
Understand the customer service touchpoints
Customer service touchpoints mean when a customer considers contacting your support staff for buying suggestions, asking queries, or after-purchase follow-ups.
The journey between deciding to buy and finally becoming a customer gives you many opportunities to make an impact on the customer experience. To kick off your customer improvement plan, list down all the touchpoints.
For example, contacting customer service is a touchpoint. Within this touchpoint, there are various other touchpoints. So create and label a journey the customer will take from touchpoint to touchpoint. It should include what the customer is thinking, feeling, and doing.
Identify underperforming touchpoints
Dig through all your communication platforms and go through customer feedback thoroughly. You can compare the different platforms based on their CSAT score, wait time, resolution time, and cost per contact.
For example, imagine a scenario where your live chat has a higher CSAT score than your email. It shows that your email has the scope for improvement.
Break down the touchpoint for a root analysis. In the case of email, find out if there is a higher wait time or if the resolution takes longer because of back and forth.
Once you have found that, create a customer improvement plan around those touchpoints. Your plan should have steps for tackling this issue, which employees will be involved, and what steps you will take to resolve it.
With any new customer service action plan, run a small-scale experiment before training your entire team, as it will help you to measure ROI and impact on your metric.
Sample of an action plan for customer service
You can create an action plan for various reasons. Some of the customer service action plan examples are:
Core Focus – Improve customer satisfaction
- Increase the number of staff across all the touchpoints
- Implemented technology like AI bots which gives answers to common customer questions
- Allowed visitors to schedule a time to speak to a customer agent during busy days
Reduce customer wait time by 5 minutes which will increase the CSAT score
Core Focus- To improve the performance of the customer service agent
- Focus on listening to the customer and presenting them with a solution that is acceptable to the customers
- Conduct listening skills training for the staff
- Treat customers with courtesy and respect at all times
- Have a customer churn of lesser than 4% every month
- A team member should complete the listening skills training in 3 months and achieve a score of 75% or more
These were some examples of customer service action plans. Although you can write the action steps in as much detail as possible, it will help your reps implement the plan more efficiently.
Top tips for creating a customer service plan
It will help if you remember certain things while creating an efficient customer plan.
Use crisp and concise language
When rolling out a new customer service plan or updating your existing one, use simple language to convey the changes. Remembering precise language can help you craft straightforward guidelines that are easy for your team to remember.
Analyze your key performance indicators (KPIs)
Identify your KPIs and use them to track your progress. You can measure the average time it takes to finish a customer inquiry, analyze your customer retention rate or check your customer satisfaction score to track your progress and determine your success.
Give incentives to your customer service agents
You can motivate your team by offering them rewards when they deliver personalized customer service. You can give them anything from an extra vacation day to bonuses or gift cards. It can encourage your team members to adapt to your new customer service action plan and work more diligently to provide top-quality customer service.
Practice listening actively to your customers by paying attention to their feedback forms and offering solutions that cater to their concerns. On the other hand, listen appropriately to the feedback of your customer service representatives, as they might have some valuable insights to improve customer service as they deal with buyers regularly.
Customer service is the critical element of any successful business. It allows you to increase brand awareness and beat the competition. Making an effort to know your customers will help you build a loyal fan base, which will keep giving you business repeatedly.
Tweaking your customer service action plan after some months is necessary as it will help you to evolve continuously and meet client expectations. It will also challenge you to think of different ways of connecting with a customer personally, which will ultimately help you close sales and improve your revenue.
Build a solid customer feedback loop that will regularly help you understand whether you are meeting customer expectations. Regularly create small action steps and update your customer improvement plan.