How To Make a CS Plan
We've done the research for the best practice and insight for your preparations.
July 16th, 2020
There's a saying - maybe your Gran said it to you once upon a time - about planning. It goes something like 'fail to plan, plan to fail'. And she was right. When it comes to customer service, a strategic vision couldn't be more vital.
Every instance of poor customer care you've ever experienced was almost certainly the result of poor planning, somewhere along the line. Getting the right people to respond at the right time and in the right way all takes planning. Really, really good planning. So today we're going to walk you through a basic customer service plan, with some actionable takeaways that you can rinse and repeat for your own organisation.
Not got time to read the blog in full? Here's the TL;DR:
1. Decide which channels you'll cover
2. Map out the customer journey
3. Identify potential self-serve opportunities
4. Forecast contact volumes and modifying resource
5. Stay flexible and review the plan often
The first step to take when planning your CS is analysing your current operation. One of the most important things you need to consider is how your business can meet the needs of your customers. Start by figuring out what channels your customers want to contact you on, the times they are active, and the languages they speak. To do this, you need to find out who your customers are, a throwaway phrase in the business world, but easily put into practice by monitoring the age, location, and buying patterns of your customers.
Once you know who your customers are and their preferred channels, languages and opening times, you can implement them as part of your CS strategy. It’s a good idea to advertise more popular and preferred channels on your company social media pages and website.
Fashion retail brands often have a huge social presence; take advantage of this by allowing customers to contact you through social platforms. Conversely, other brands might find their customers are more familiar with getting in touch through email; promote the use of this channel instead.
Another way to promote your channels is by putting deep links through to direct messaging on your website. This is convenient as it allows customers to click directly through to a means of contacting you, such as on Facebook.
By implementing the right channels, and in the right languages, you will notice an improvement in customer satisfaction (CSat) as people can reach out to you through channels that they are comfortable using. Having suitable opening times for your customers also means you’re there when they need you to be, which will be reflected in your CSat.
It’s important to know and understand a typical process for your customers and the reasons behind your queries. Roadmaps and visual displays can help you to understand the way your customers interact with you. They also allow you to identify any pain points with certain queries so you can implement measures to reduce them.
Polishing rough edges will help ease pressure on your customers’ buying journey, leading to higher conversions and increasing the number of sales made. And you can change and tweak out of date processes to make sure they remain fluid and suitable for your business going forward.
A good strategy to help you ease pressure along the customer journey is to introduce self-serving aspects to your CS plan. Self-service means your customers are able to find solutions to certain queries – often common questions – through information or help pages on your website and social media pages.
A great way to encourage self-service is to create knowledge bases. Publish easily accessible answers to common questions (for example: “how long will my delivery take?”) and you will notice customers will start to self-serve and reach the answers they need themselves.
Once a knowledge base has been implemented, the number of contacts you receive will be reduced, freeing up time within your CS department to answer those who need help the most.
After a thorough analysis of the customer journey, and any adjustments to your processes have been made, you can start to forecast your inbound contacts.
Forecasting is a prediction of the number of contacts you will receive in each period, combined with your estimated advisor efficiency (how many contacts they can handle on a given channel in a time period). This allows you to plan your rota for how many people you’ll need at any one time, giving you sufficient time to prepare your resource for busy periods, or channels, or even certain queries.
Forecasting can be ran as often as required, but for larger and more busier operations, we suggest intraday (multiple times per day) to make sure your resource is used as efficiently as possible.
Now you’ve created and set your first plan in motion, it’s a good idea to continually analyse and review your plan so it stays up to date and effective. Conduct interviews with employees to ask their thoughts and send surveys after orders have been made to assess the effectiveness of the plan you put in place.
At first, it may seem daunting to start an in-depth analysis and potential overhaul of your current CS operation. If you’d like any advice on how to make a customer service plan for your business, get in touch today. We have extensive experience helping our clients curate the ideal plan to suit the needs of their business, and their customers.