This post explains what a Playbook is, the benefits they provide your company and customers and will outline the steps to effectively create a playbook.
The core purpose of a playbook is to create a standardized way to document and share what you know about your customer's experience. The ultimate benefit is that they help deliver a consistently great CX because it creates a shared understanding amongst your team, peers, and customers.
Their content maps your customer interactions and can help train your team on your business's Known-Knows. It's crucial to understand why your team is interacting with your customers because what gets measured can be improved.
To highlight a few benefits that creating playbooks provide, I'll use Uber as an example because it's a service most of us have used, and if you've used it you've likely had an issue (or 10 of them).
Financial Think about when you used Uber in the early days and had an issue with a ride cancellation. You would have to reach out to Support via email, hope to get a reply and the correct action in a few days. If they didn't take action in the right way (refund or credit) then you would have to go back and forth until it was resolved.
Today, the process is incredibly streamlined and you can get a refund instantly in the app without ever talking with a Support Agent. How cool is it that Uber did this entirely on purpose!?
They likely calculated that it costs less to resolve the issue via self-service than it does to serve you in 1:1 email interaction. Additionally, you're a happier customer, do not churn, and might even refer more friends to use the service. It's very likely that they looked at all this data, and more, to calculate the positive financial impact of self-service. It all started by understanding the reasons why customers contacted their team.
Customer Experience Now, if you're thinking that because your company isn't at Uber's scale that you can't implement this, then I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. In fact, because you're not at Uber's scale means that you must implement this type of process.
Why? Transport yourself back to 2015 when Uber's support was inconsistent and then fast-forward to today when there's a lot of viable competition. Would you put up with sub-par support or would you switch to Lyft? So, think about the massive amount of customer churn that you would face simply because you didn't focus on creating an understanding of your customer's experience.
Product Changes I hope that I have your attention now because we're getting the top benefit that playbooks provide your company: Free user feedback that will drive product changes.
The CX team is not solely responsible for your product's experience. They do play a large part and to be most effective they should help drive improvements. In effect, they are the canary in the coal mine bringing you the Voice of Customer. Fail to listen to their feedback and you'll eventually die.
So, instead of your CX team repeatedly answering the same questions or receiving multiple contacts to solve a single issue it's time to address these issues to positively change your product. Playbooks give you a standardized way to listen, measure, act, and change your product.
Contents of a Playbook
Here is a proposed outline that you can follow to build a playbook for your company. I advise that you follow each step in order as well as the intent of each step because they're crucial to improving your overall CX. Of course, you will inevitably customize the contents to meet your needs, and that's ok!
- Step 1: Mapping Customer Interactions: Understand why your customers interact with your company
- Step 2.0: Data Grouping: Specific categorization of contact reasons
- Step 2.1: Data Grouping for Technical, Multi-Product Companies: How to categorize contact reasons in a technical company and/or one that has multiple product lines.
- Step 3: Creating Visual Workflows: Visually map out your customer's journey as it relates to the topic Content that's coming soon
- Data Reports Deeper: Analyze and group the data together, link to dashboards.
- Macros & Canned Responses: Content and actions that address your customer questions
- Knowledgebase: Public content to answer FAQs
- Product Documentation: Details about how your product works (happy path)
- Flag it Fix it: When you're asked a new question
Lastly, here are a few things that I've learned about playbooks:
- Fully document the scenarios that your customers face, and when you encounter something new you must create/edit your playbooks
- Publish them internally in a wiki so that everyone in the company can view and/or edit them
- Make the policies publicly available. They should be: searchable on your site, appear during the ticket creation for deflection, and indexed by Google
- At the end of the day, playbooks are a guide but do not guarantee satisfied customers. There is still the hard work of delivering a great experience, fixing issues, and empowering your team members to do what's right to make the customer extremely happy.
TLDR for Executives
- Will tell you what's happening with your customers and where the work is happening
- They create a structure to your entire company to build workflows around (Ex. Escalations or Voice of Customer Programs)
- Once they're built, you can provide specific, rather than general feedback to your front-line teams - “improve this” or “this is missing/wrong”
TLDR for Operators
- Show that you're strategic and lead to excellent cross-functional conversations
- They allow you to show what your team does, create career paths
- Are not a substitute for having great customer interactions
- Need constant maintenance