Article | 2 min read

Customer service plan template, tips + how-to guide

A customer service plan defines a clear strategy so you can deliver exceptional support with every interaction. Download our free template and create your plan.

By Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Last updated October 31, 2023

The right customer service plan is like the Infinity Gauntlet in the Marvel Universe. The Infinity Gauntlet is more than just a glove—it is the essential object designed to hold and harness the unlimited power of the six Infinity Stones.

Similarly, a customer service plan captures and displays the crucial elements of customer service in a living document. The plan gives your business a blueprint to achieve your customer service goals. It also empowers customer service reps with the information they need to provide an exceptional customer experience (CX).

Delivering excellent customer service can drive revenue, increase customer retention, stimulate business growth, and improve customer satisfaction. But without a plan in place, it’s difficult for teams to align, making it challenging to provide great CX consistently.

Our guide provides tools and tips to help you create an effective customer service plan. We also offer a free template so you can tailor your customer service plan to fit your business like a glove.

What is a customer service plan?

A customer service plan is a detailed strategy guide that outlines how your business intends to deliver an exceptional customer experience consistently.

Simply put, a customer service plan serves as a roadmap for streamlining and strengthening customer support. It gives agents clear instructions, helps your business understand customer needs and where to allocate resources, and provides insights for continuous improvement. It benefits both businesses and customers:

  • Customer service agents get a blueprint to follow when navigating interactions toward a successful resolution.
  • Customers get a consistent experience every time they interact with your business, no matter where they are in the customer journey.

By helping you provide reliable, high-quality experiences, customer service plans enable you to enhance your relationships with customers, leading to loyal customers and brand advocates.

Who uses a customer service plan?

Businesses of any size, type, or industry can use a customer service plan to improve their customer experience.

  • Startups use customer service plans to establish a foundation for building customer relationships and loyalty from day one.
  • Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) use customer service plans to improve customer satisfaction and meet customer needs while scaling their growth.
  • Enterprises rely on customer service plans to maintain consistency across the entire business—like departments and locations.

Customer service plans are also a valuable tool for various roles within a company.

  • Customer service representatives use the plan as a guide for handling customer interactions, understanding performance expectations, knowing escalation processes, and providing solutions.
  • Managers, supervisors, and team leads use the plan to oversee the success of customer service strategies, find areas of improvement, and ensure that teams follow the guidelines and procedures.
  • Senior leadership uses a customer service plan to spot trends, assess how well the business meets customer service goals, and determine whether customer expectations and needs are satisfied.
  • Sales teams use customer service plans to build customer relationships, identify ways to help customer service teams provide better support, and find cross-selling and upselling opportunities that benefit the customer.
  • Marketing teams use customer service plans to understand the target customer better, personalize messaging, and deliver brand consistency throughout the customer journey.
  • Product development teams use customer service plans to identify areas of improvement for the product or service based on agent and customer feedback, reporting and analytics, and ticket information.
  • Training teams use customer support plans to improve customer service training for new hires and refresher training for more seasoned customer support agents.

How to create a customer service plan in 8 steps

Now that you know what a customer service plan is and what it’s used for, let’s dive into how to build one of your own. The following steps detail the elements you need to develop a powerful plan and deliver exceptional CX. Once you download our customer service plan template below, you’ll already be familiar with the sections and ready to start creating.

1. Create customer personas to understand their needs and pain points

The first step in creating your customer service plan is to define your target customers and list their needs and pain points so you know how to serve them better.

Customer personas (or buyer personas) describe the different people who use your products and services. A customer persona includes:

  • Demographics
  • Personal information
  • Needs and pain points
  • Personal goals and motivations
  • Preferred communication channels

Before diving into your customer persona, consider data and analytics from your current customers, review prior feedback and surveys, and interview current customer service agents as a starting point.

2. Outline your customer journey map

A customer journey map is a visual representation of every touchpoint throughout the customer lifecycle and the customer sentiment along the way.

A customer journey map includes steps such as:

  • Awareness: how the customer discovered your brand, product, or service
  • Interest: how the customer realized your product or service could help with their needs or pain points
  • Conversion: the event that resulted in a purchase, like a sale, promotion, or new product rollout
  • Retention: what your business does to support your customers’ needs post-purchase
  • Loyalty: details about repeat business, referrals, customer feedback, and social listening

Additionally, each step should document the touchpoints, areas of interest, pain points, opportunities, and sentiment. This helps you identify where you’re successful and where you need to improve.

3. Align on customer service standards, goals, and success metrics

Delivering an exceptional customer experience starts with defining clear customer service standards, goals, and objectives and how you’ll measure success.

Many businesses set SMART goals to create their objectives. SMART is an acronym that details the five requirements each customer service goal must meet:

  • Specific: Focus on one particular problem or area.
  • Measurable: Define a clear method for measuring progress and gauging success.
  • Achievable: Set a goal you can accomplish.
  • Relevant: Choose a goal that applies to your customer service strategy and mission.
  • Time-bound: Set deadlines and abide by them.

For example, you can use the SMART method to set a goal focused on customer satisfaction.

  • Goal: Improve our CSAT score from 75 percent to 90 percent by the end of Q1 (March 31).

4. Document customer service workflows and processes

A customer service workflow is a sequence of actions for a particular task from initiation to completion. Creating consistent and repeatable workflows and processes boosts productivity and efficiency, reduces errors, provides actionable insights, and ultimately improves the customer experience. Workflows often contain the following steps:

  • Initial contact: The first interaction concerning a customer issue or request.
  • Triage: Assessing the issue, assigning priority, and routing the request.
  • Resolution: The request is handled by an agent or addressed by self-service resources.
  • Follow-up: The business checks in with the customer to ensure customer satisfaction.

Here is an example of a standard customer service interaction workflow:

  1. A customer connects with a business through live chat to report an issue.
  2. A chatbot greets the customer and offers self-service options, including help center articles and relevant FAQs.
  3. The customer requests to speak with an agent.
  4. A ticket is generated, and the conversation is seamlessly handed off to the best-suited agent to handle the interaction.
  5. The agent personalizes the conversation based on the customer data and context collected by the bot.
  6. The agent resolves the issue and closes the ticket.
  7. A customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey is automatically sent to the customer to collect feedback about the interaction.

5. Establish customer feedback methods to amplify the Voice of the Customer

That leads to the next step: collecting feedback to amplify the Voice of the Customer. You must define how you will gather feedback so you can better understand the needs and pain points of customers. You can get feedback and input from sources like:

  • Customer surveys, such as CSAT and NPS®
  • Community forums
  • Focus groups
  • Social media posts
  • Feedback forms
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Agent interviews
  • Customer interactions
  • Ticket data

Implementing customer feedback helps your business create customer-centric products, increases customer retention, and allows you to provide better support.

6. Assess your customer service tools, communication channels, and capabilities to find areas of improvement

Next, review your customer service objectives and list the tools needed to accomplish each one. Determine if the tools already exist in your text stack or if you need to add them.

Some common tools include:

7. Determine your knowledge management process and communication strategy for updates

Define your knowledge management process, where the documentation will be stored, how you will update it, and what documentation you need to serve the customer. A few examples include:

Then, determine how you’ll communicate updates, changes, or improvements both internally (for customer service teams) and externally (for your customers).

8. Measure and analyze the impact and success of your customer service plan

Establish baselines for your customer service metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can analyze the impact and success of your plan. One crucial metric that can tell you how you’re performing—directly from the mouth of customers—is your CSAT, or customer satisfaction score. Set your sights on a CSAT score between 90 and 95 percent, an impressive yet attainable goal.

Finally, use the data you’ve collected and analyzed to improve your customer service action plan. Look for innovations, new technologies, and best practices that can push your business until you’re an industry leader in customer experience and employee experience.

Customer service plan template

Create a clear customer service plan and process so your team can consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Download the free template now to start aligning your business.

Customer service plan examples

Business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies both use customer service plans to enhance the customer experience and to provide guidelines for uniform interactions. Because their customer bases are different, their customers have unique customer service needs and preferences.

B2C companies have a customer base of individual consumers, whereas B2B companies deal with businesses. Here are examples of what a B2B and B2C customer service plan might look like.

Example 1: Customer service plan for B2C

A B2C customer service plan focuses on delivering fast, convenient, and personalized support. Here’s an example of some of the information needed for a B2C customer service plan:

Customer persona:

  • Name: Kamala Khan
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Goals: Improve customer satisfaction
  • Pain points: Customer service team isn’t hitting KPIs
  • Solutions: Add advanced reporting and analytics software

Customer journey map:

  • Touchpoint: Heard about the product via social media ads
  • Pain point: Limited budget
  • Action: Ensure confirmation emails are automated
  • Sentiment: Positive

Customer service goals and metrics:

  • Goal: Improve customer satisfaction
  • Metric: Achieve average CSAT score between 90 and 95 percent

Customer service tools:

  • Feedback forms
  • Reporting and analytics
  • AI and chatbots

Example 2: Customer service plan for B2B

Because B2B companies serve other businesses, the B2B customer service plan might focus on building strong partnerships and tailoring support to meet the unique needs of each customer at scale.

Here is an example of a customer service plan for B2B:

Customer persona:

  • Name: Oscorp Industries
  • Industry: Engineering
  • Goals: Streamline workflows without adding more staff
  • Pain points: Ticket queues are backed up
  • Solutions: Implement advanced AI and automation tools for enterprise

Customer journey map:

  • Touchpoint: Learned about the product at a software conference
  • Pain point: Needs software to integrate into their existing tech stack
  • Action: Ensure confirmation emails are automated
  • Sentiment: Positive

Customer service goals and metrics:

  • Goal: Automate workflows, boost productivity, reduce operational costs
  • Metric: Lower first contact resolution time and maintain a CSAT of 93 percent

Customer service tools:

  • Zendesk AI
  • Self-service portal
  • Voice solution with IVR

Customer service plan benefits


Some businesses may define customer success differently than others, but the benefits of creating a customer service plan are universal. Common benefits include the ability to:

  • Enhance the customer experience: Customer service plans create a uniform process so teams can deliver a consistent customer experience.
  • Increase customer satisfaction: An effortless customer experience means a surge in CSAT scores, increased customer loyalty and retention, and less customer churn.
  • Meet SLAs and OLAs consistently: An effective customer service plan boosts productivity and efficiency, so your business is more likely to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) for your customers and operations-level agreements (OLAs) for internal teams. Continuously meeting (or exceeding) these goals builds trust between you and your customers.
  • Boost employee satisfaction: By defining clear goals and expectations and providing easy-to-follow processes and tools that streamline workflows, you will improve the employee experience. Additionally, continuously investing in your customer service reps through training, upskilling, and promoting an employee-centric culture breeds a positive environment that customers will notice.
  • Reduce costs: An extension of the previous benefit, happy employees are less likely to leave, which means businesses will experience less employee churn. Retaining employees is less costly than hiring and training replacements.

Best practices for creating a customer service plan

Now that you know the benefits and basics of how to create a customer service plan, let’s take a look at some things to keep in mind as you start making your own. Follow these best practices to create an effective customer service plan.

Best practices for creating a customer service plan

  • Invest in the right tools: The right software makes it easy for agents to deliver a top-tier customer experience every time. Zendesk, for instance, is built specifically for CX and offers key features—like a unified omnichannel workspace, collaboration tools, reporting and analytics, self-service, a robust knowledge base, intelligent triage, and AI and automation tools—so you can crush your customer service goals.
  • Set attainable goals: It’s natural to want to set lofty goals, but it’s SMART (see what we did there?) to make them achievable. For example, setting a goal to reach a 100 percent customer retention rate in six months is admirable, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to attain it. Set reachable goals and raise the ceiling a bit at a time.
  • Collaborate with agents and collect employee feedback: Customer service agents are a valuable resource because they’re on the front lines interacting with customers daily. Pick their brains and tap into their wealth of information to create an elite customer service action plan.
  • Meet customers where they are: Customers want fast, convenient service. Offering support on the various communication channels that they’re already using with friends and family creates an effortless experience that boosts customer satisfaction and reduces customer churn.
  • Personalize your customer service: In the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023, 77 percent of business leaders say personalization leads to customer retention, and 66 percent believe it lowers acquisition costs.

Assemble your customer service plan

You’re now armed with the knowledge and elements you need to develop a customer service plan—that means it’s time to slip your hand into the gauntlet. Our free template will help you create a plan that enables your team of customer service superheroes to deliver an experience so good that it might spell “Endgame” for your competition.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of NICE Satmetrix, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

Customer service plan template

Create a clear customer service plan and process so your team can consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Download the free template now to start aligning your business.

Customer service plan template

Create a clear customer service plan and process so your team can consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Download the free template now to start aligning your business.

Customer service templateCustomer service template