9 steps to create a customer service plan – TechTarget

At the foundation of any successful business is a well-crafted and defined customer service plan that establishes policies and guides about how to handle customer interactions.
Customer service can be a core competitive differentiator in the marketplace and is often the great equalizer for small and medium-sized organizations to compete against their larger counterparts. Its purpose is to establish, maintain and enhance the relationship between a business and its customers.
Benefits of having a customer service plan include the following:
Follow these nine steps to create an effective customer service plan.
The customer service strategy should include the development of a vision and policy. The vision should identify the type of customer service the organization will use, while the core policies direct how the customer service department operates. Get input from several teams and departments to include various perspectives during development. Multiple perspectives also aid with aligning and embedding the vision and policy across the organization, including expectations and execution.
Goals should be reasonable and identified early. Best practices for setting goals include the following:
Create a customer journey and service design map to clarify the steps to assist the customer. The customer journey should come from a customer-facing perspective and include customer activities, touchpoints and pain points. The service design map should consist of steps from an organizational perspective, such as aligning customer touchpoints, communication channels and interactions between systems and pain points.
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Use the customer journey and service design maps to assess where to improve the experience. This step includes analyzing customer interactions and answering these questions:
Taking action on issues should benefit the customer and the service team alike. Creating an action plan begins with setting strategic objectives and then identifying any outstanding issues. Then, develop a detailed plan that defines the actionable steps, due date and who owns the project. The action plan should also identify what constitutes success and how often to measure analytics. Before any work begins, it’s essential to get alignment from any other teams involved.
With goals in place, determine the appropriate metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to track. The KPIs provide a look into how well the customer service team is doing. Teams should select and follow a few customer service KPIs from primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources
Secondary sources and contact center metrics
Beyond traditional customer service skills, organizations must identify additional skills their teams need, such as product-related training. This process includes the following steps:
Striving for an expanded team can break down operational silos and improve communications and clarity. A customer service toolkit is often used to lay out the approach and clarify operations, including when handoffs happen between groups.
As the product or service evolves, so should the customer service team. The team should innovate based on the changing needs of the customer to meet customer expectations. This process begins by asking questions such as the following:
Customer service teams are at the center of the customer experience and often make or break the perception of an organization and its service or product. As such, creating a robust customer service plan is paramount for long-term success.
The future of customer service: 12 trends to watch
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