Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (2023)

A bi-weekly "little gem" for CX & support leaders

On average, your customers will tell 15 people about poor customer service, but will only tell 11 people about a good one.

Like bad news, bad experiences travel faster and further than good ones.

This means it's vital to stay nimble and customer-centric. A focused and continuous customer service improvement plan can help you achieve this goal and is a must-have for any contact centre team.

There are three basic fundamentals of a customer service improvement plan.

  • It should be data-driven
  • The plan itself should be continuously improved
  • It should focus on metrics that impact your customer

In this blog post, I'll take you through the steps we've seen used to build an impactful customer service improvement plan.

Let’s dive right in.

On this page:

  1. What is a customer service improvement plan?
  2. Why do you need a customer service improvement plan?
  3. Pre-planning: What to do before you get started with planning
  4. The 5 step guide to customer service improvement planning
  5. How to use AI automation tech to improve your customer service?

What actually is a customer service improvement plan?

A customer service improvement plan is a set of strategic steps that need to be taken to achieve a measurable goal. It's based on solid research into what needs improvement, what should be prioritised, and how you plan to go about achieving those steps.

Your improvement plan should read like a plan of action that, if followed, will move the needle on customer success metrics like customer satisfaction, churn rate, ticket volume, response time and resolution time.

Four examples of a customer service improvement plan

Example 1:

Metric to measure: customer satisfaction / resolution time

Strategy: Streamline the communication channel between customers and more senior customer support professionals. Make it so customers with complex queriers can connect directly with a figure of authority, without first going through the frontline.


  1. Managers have a deep understanding of the problems faced by their customers (Metric: increased resolution time)
  2. The customers were convinced that their problem was heard by an authority figure and it made them happier (Metric: CSAT)

Example 2:

Metric to measure: Employee attrition rate / customer satisfaction

Strategy: Implement an internal leadership program for customer support representatives.

This program was designed to recognise customer service representatives with superior results. Top performers were given a bonus and were also asked to mentor new employees in the department.

Results: This was successful in two ways:

  1. The top performers became even better after recognition and added incentives.
  2. New employee training improved because they were trained by the best.

Example 3 (a theme park):

Metric to measure: Customer satisfaction

Strategy: Their leadership team did three things to improve their customer service quality.

  1. Increased the number of staffs on all pre-ride touchpoints
  2. Implemented technology that allowed all visitors to schedule a time on busy rides
  3. Implemented a streamlined restaurant that increase the speed of food service


  1. Average wait time at each ride reduced by 5 minutes (increased CSAT).
  2. 30% of more visitors scheduled and visited the high traffic (busy) rides (increased CSAT).
  3. Visitors rated their satisfaction with food services at a +60%.

Example 4 (SentiSum):

Metric to measure: Increased check out rate and basket size.

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Strategy: Implement customer service AI analytics to understand customer experience. Know what's reducing checkouts by analysing survey results, support tickets and reviews. Tackle those issues at the root cause.


• Clarity on which issues were driving the biggest issues for customers (a clear "to-do" list).

• Increased basket size thanks to reduce customer pain points

This example is based on a case study with the British high street and eCommerce retailer, Schuh.

They had a problem of dropping customer sentiment because of their website experience. Schuh’s CX director had more than 50,000 survey results and other pieces of feedback but no time to manually analyse those results. They used Sentisum’s natural language processing (NLP) to analyze the written responses of all the surveys and convert it into daily reports.

Why do you need a customer service improvement plan?

75% of people would return to a business with excellent customer service and that fact is not changing anytime soon.

But, a CS improvement plan is important because it can go beyond delivering excellent customer service.

With the right infrastructure, a great customer service project could lead to cross-functional change that prevents customers needing to contact customer service in the first place.

Or it could support the work of sales and marketing teams by implementing support-driven growth tactics that upsell product, build deeper relationships with customers and generate word of mouth awareness.

This is why we think customer service improvement plans should not only be linked to cost efficiency outcomes, but also to revenue generating outcomes that align with wider business goals.

If you can reduce the number of agents needed by implementing a new technology, that's great. But, is it really better for your customers? And is it just feeding into the old way of doing customer service (cost centre thinking) rather than the future of customer service (profit centre thinking).

Before you get started: pre-planning research

Before you start generating customer service improvement ideas, there are two steps you must follow.

1/ Assess your strengths and weaknesses

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (2)

Every team has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. So kick off with a SWOT analysis to identify the places you are strong versus those you are weak.

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses can give you a whole lot of leverage to put together a sound action plan. It opens up your world to a variety of options.

Here are metrics to measure to support your SWOT analysis:

  1. Find your average resolution time:

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (3)

You will be loved by your customers if your resolution time is low—solve my problem fast and you'll have a customer for life.

You'll most likely already have a historical record of this metric since it's a critical KPI for most customer service department leads. You can find this by adding the total duration of all Customer resolution calls and dividing it by the total number of cases.

  1. Find your customer effort score (CES):

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (4)

This score helps you rate the quality of your service from the Customer’s perspective.

It allows them to give you a score based on the amount of effort they had to put in to connect with your support team. If you don't already track CES, create a quick survey and ask a handful og agents to track the metric to give you a baseline.

  1. Find your customer satisfaction score (CSAT):

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (5)

Like CES, CSAT helps you identify your customer’s level of satisfaction after connecting with your executive. You can run a set of questions to identify CES and CSAT from one survey.

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  1. Find your Net Promoter Score:

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (6)

Honestly, we aren't a fan of NPS. Most customer feedback surveys suck and it's misguided to track one metric like many companies do with NPS scores.

But you can use your NPS score as a benchmark. If it's particular bad, perhaps, this is a weak area that needs digging into.

  1. Run a sentiment analysis:

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (7)

You can identify your customer’s brand sentiment by running the results of all these through a NLP tool like Sentisum. You'll be able to understand 100,000s of free text survey results, support tickets and other feedback in minutes.

Are your customers finding their experience positive, negative or neutral? A sentiment analysis will tell you.

Interested in sentiment analysis? Book a no-obligation demo with the SentiSum team here to get shown what's possible.

2/ Define your goals

Just like your business, your department also needs a set of goals for the following reasons

  1. To manage and measure your team’s performance
  2. To give a direction and laser like focus for your team
  3. To align everyone’s action for the company’s success

The core idea is to set SMART goals for your department and SMART translates to\:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (8)

Before you actually set any goals, it’s better to make sure that they fit within these five SMART characteristics.

With all that said here are some goals you can set for your department (with examples).

  1. Increase overall Customer Satisfaction

Example: We will increase our monthly CSAT score from 77% to 85% by then end of March.

  1. Reduce Customer wait time

Example: The time taken to reply to a customer on live chat will be reduced from 1 min to 30 seconds by the end of the next two months.

  1. Reducing Cost per Contact

Example: We will enable an active live chat this month to reduce cost per contact by 25%.

  1. Reduce CPO

Example: We will identify the largest ticket drivers and prioritise reducing the top three by from 10% by the end of March.

  1. Improve your employee happiness:

Example: We will reduce burnout rate by 15% this year.

Seehow each one is measurable? That clarity and measurability will keep you focused and accountable.

Five steps to building a customer service improvement plan

1/ Identify your customer service touchpoints and do a journey map

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (9)

Your customer service touchpoints start from the moment a customer considers contact support through to after care and follow up.

Within that journey, there are so many ways for your team to impact the customer's experience. To kick off your plan, start by listing all those touchpoints.

Here's an example of 15 customer service touchpoints to get you started.

In our recent podcast with Annette Franz CCXP on customer journey mapping, she explains the difference between touchpoint and journey maps:

"A lot of people confuse them and use them interchangeably and call it a journey map when it's a touchpoint map.
In a touchpoint map, we take a look at the life cycle stages for the customer within your organization and then inventory capture all the different touchpoints. Touchpoints can be, for example in an airline experience, it's signs, it's the TSA, it's your ticket, it's the app, it's the gate agent, the plane. All of these different things are all different touchpoints, right? The pilot, the flight attendants, your seat, the magazine on the plane, all different touchpoints, all different ways that the customer touches the brand or the brand touches the customer.
So, that's a touchpoint map.
A journey map is when we pick an interaction and we map the steps that the customer takes from the moment that there's a need to the moment that they complete whatever job they're trying to do. So for example, an interaction might be making a purchase, calling customer service, downloading some information from your website, creating an online account, those kinds of things.
So a journey map always contains what the customer is doing or the customer's thinking and what the customer is feeling and if you don't, if you're not capturing those three things along with that experience, then it's not a journey map. You can see, you can capture other things as well, but those are the three main components of a journey map."

So to crystallise this, contacting customer service is a touchpoint. Within that touchpoint is many other touchpoints. You can create a journey by labelling the journey a customer takes from touchpoint to touchpoint and it must say what the customer is: thinking, feeling and doing.

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2/ Identify underperforming touchpoints

Ask your executives to run an audit and get an estimate of your performance on all touchpoints. Which ones could be driving down your key metrics?

Once you have a solid understanding of all your touchpoints, we'll be able to build a goal around the underperforming ones.

How can I identify underperforming touchpoints?

You must measure customer feedback.

The beauty of being in the contact centre already is that customers are continuously giving feedback—in the conversations themselves!

Dig through you chat logs or use an AI chat analytics tool like SentiSum to automate the process.

Customer research is vital if you're planning to improve CSAT. They know best.

However, you can also find other ways to identify underperforming touchpoints.

Take a look at contact channels, for example. What is the CSAT, resolution time, wait time, cost per contact on each channel? How does live chat compare to email?

Imagine for a moment that live chat has significantly higher reported CSAT compared to email. This shows email is underperforming and you take the opportunity to dig deeper.

Why is email underperforming? Is it because it takes too long to reply? Is it because people can't ever find an email address? Is it because it takes 10 emails back and forth which is frustrating?

Breaking down the touchpoint like this allows you to get to do a root cause analysis of why it's underperforming. Indicating that your customer service improvement plan should possibly focus here.

Do this for all your touchpoints. We then suggest picking the low hanging fruit—which improvement areas are easy to do and high impact? Which best align with your ultimate strategic direction?

Set your SMART goals around those.

3/ Define the action steps you will take towards improving the touchpoint

Customer Service Improvement Plan: Hit KPIs in 2021 (10)

Now that you have identified your goals and your areas of improvement, it’s time to define the action steps to attain that goal.

Your action plan will be highly personalised to the goals and touchpoints you identified.

Your action plan should include: how you will approach tackling the issue, who needs to be involved, what steps must be completed and when must everything be finished by.

It's also important to keep an eye on your golden metric as your plan unfolds. When do you expect to see it change? What's the soonest you can know what you're doing is having an impact?

We recommend running a small scale experiment before rolling out projects to your entire team. This way you can measure ROI and impact on your metric.

4/ Take action, now

This is common advice for all leaders.

Don’t get stuck in planning mode, get out and start experimenting.

The quicker you get started, the faster you learn what is and isn't working.The quicker that happens, the faster you can adjust your plan and start hitting goals.

The world is too fast to stick with one customer service improvement plan from the start. If you want to provide exceptional customer service, you need to start acting rather than planning. You need to create small steps of action that will help you craft a terrific customer improvement action plan.

Don’t just rely on your hunches and past data. Always seek to collect more data with consistent action. This will help you deliver exceptional customer service.

5/ Measure performance at continuous intervals

You should take one of two steps after you initiate or change your customer service strategy.

The crappy route takes no action at all. That is, never again looking at your plan and calling it a day.

And the best way? Build a consistent customer feedback loop so that you can continue to improve the way you treat your customers.

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You should focus on two sources of information to collect feedback:

  • Feedback from your customers to your customer service reps
  • Feedback from your customer service reps to you

Listen to your customers through chat analytics, polls, surveys, social media, focus groups, and interactions with your reps. This helps you to enhance your goods, functionality, positioning, and all business communications.

How does SentiSum AI analytics and automation platform help you improve your customer service?

SentiSum is an automated ticket tagging, routing, prioritisation platform that uncovers granular insights from every conversation and feedback channel.

We make customer service reporting and complaints root cause analysis simple for support directors.

Here are two ways in which you can use Sentisum to deliver exceptional customer service

1. Reduce customer churn:

With SentiSum, every customer conversation is turned into topic and sentiment insight in real-time.

You'll know what's driving tickets at every moment in the day. So if there's:

  • A bug that appears in your app
  • A discount code that's failing to work
  • A payment portal that's stopped working
  • A partner of yours giving poor service

You'll know about it. Quickly.

These issues frequently cause customers to fail to checkout or to leave you to go to a competitor.

Armed with quantitative data, without any effort you'll have the evidence you need to email the department head in charge and say 'this needs to be fixed, pronto!'

2. Route and prioritise tickets

With SentiSum, tags are applied at a granular level with high accuracy. But, they're also applied in real-time.

That means that as support tickets start coming in, they can be routed to the relevant team or individual based on their content.

Furthermore, if a ticket is deemed high urgency (e.g. it's frequently linked to a churning customer) then we can prioritise it in the queue. Making sure your time to resolution is much quicker on more important interactions.

These are just two ways we can help you become a customer support hero.

Want to learn more? Reach out to our team and book a demo here.

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What are the 4 metrics of customer service? ›

The 4 Key Metrics for Customer Service
  • The Customer Feedback metric.
  • The Service Efficiency Metric.
  • Quality, Consistency and Compliance.
  • Employee Engagement.
  • All together in real-time.
24 May 2019

What are customer service performance metrics? ›

Operational customer service KPIs, as the name suggests, provide data on your customer service team's performance in terms of efficiency and speed. These metrics focus purely on numbers, such as how many emails you receive per day, how many calls you answer, the rate of response, and so on.

What would you suggest to further improve the customer service? ›

Here are a few customer service tips for identifying ways to better serve customers:
  1. Strengthen your customer service skills. ...
  2. Look at every touchpoint. ...
  3. Improve your customer interactions. ...
  4. Enhance your customer service strategy. ...
  5. Make sure your reps are engaged. ...
  6. Give your customers a way to provide feedback.

How do you measure customer service efficiency? ›

Tallying up the number of complaints you receive from customers in a given period is a straightforward way to measure customer service effectiveness. It also is useful to count complaints that make it to the managerial level.

How customer service excellence is measured? ›

The net promoter score is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures how willing your customers are to recommend your company to others. It does so with one simple question, asking customers to rate their likelihood of recommending your company on an 11-point scale (ranging from 0 to 10).

What are the three 3 critical metrics in an inbound customer services channel? ›

Speed of answer, average handle time and after-call work time are key performance indicators in this area. Your inbound call center metrics can be a rich source of insight into your overall operational efficiency.

What is the best KPI for measuring customer satisfaction? ›

Here are the most important customer satisfaction KPIs and when—and how—you should use them.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • Net Promoter Score®
  • Customer Effort Score.
  • Overall satisfaction.
  • External and industry benchmarks.
  • Brand attributes.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Take a customer-centric approach.

What is a leading indicator of good customer service? ›

The most important KPI to look for is the Customer Satisfaction Score or CSAT. To do so, you must directly ask each customer to rate their satisfaction with your product, service and the quality of their interaction with the agents.

How do you scale customer service? ›

How to scale your customer support
  1. Embrace automation to strategically free up your team's time. The foundation for modern, scalable customer support is automation. ...
  2. Empower customers to find answers quickly with convenient self-service. ...
  3. Prioritize the right customers.
21 Jul 2020

What are the 3 most important things in customer service? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

What are the 10 things you can do to improve service quality? ›

How to Improve Customer Service
  1. Understand customer needs. ...
  2. Seek and promote customer feedback. ...
  3. Set and communicate clear service standards. ...
  4. Delight your customers by exceeding their expectations. ...
  5. Capture and share examples of great service. ...
  6. Create easy and effortless customer service. ...
  7. Personalise your customer service.

What are the 7 qualities of good customer service? ›

7 Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep
  • Problem-Solving Skills. The number one skill you need to excel in for good customer service is problem-solving. ...
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Friendly Attitude. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Business Acumen. ...
  • Product/Service Knowledge. ...
  • Strong Time Management.

How do you measure KPI for customer experience? ›

It can be calculated by dividing the total time taken to send the first response by the number of tickets responded to in a given period. Average 1st response time – customer experience KPI. Focusing on reducing your first response time can help you retain existing customers.

What are key performance indicators? ›

What is a KPI? KPI stands for key performance indicator, a quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific objective. KPIs provide targets for teams to shoot for, milestones to gauge progress, and insights that help people across the organization make better decisions.

What are the five ways to monitor your customer service? ›

Analyze service interactions across all channels
  • Ask customers for their feedback. Asking your customers for feedback on their preferred channels is a great start. ...
  • Consult with agents to improve practices. ...
  • Offer regular employee training and mentoring. ...
  • Provide regular channel maintenance.

How do you measure improved customer experience? ›

To measure customer experience, most CX professionals rely on metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores to gauge performance.

How do you measure customer experience improvement? ›

CX metrics are the key to effectively measuring the customer experience. You can use a combination of surveys, retention and churn rates, and customer trend data to determine how satisfied your customers are at every step of the journey — and whether or not they're willing to come back or refer your brand to others.

What is a CX measurement framework? ›

Customer Experience Measurement is the practice of measuring customer experience at all touchpoints along the customer journey. It includes all customer actions. Before we start with the nits and grits of measuring CX, it is important to understand the importance of measuring customer experience.

How do call centers improve metrics? ›

Tips for how to improve call center customer service and metrics
  1. Use real-time metrics. ...
  2. Add features like pop-up chat windows. ...
  3. Quantify customer feedback for continuous improvement. ...
  4. Watch user session replays. ...
  5. Identify and prioritize low hanging fruit. ...
  6. Pinpoint problems with anomaly detection and quantification.
13 Jul 2021

What is the most important metrics in call center? ›

Top call center metrics and KPIs
  1. Average Call Abandonment Rate. ...
  2. Percentage of Calls Blocked. ...
  3. Average Time in Queue. ...
  4. Service Level. ...
  5. Average Speed of Answer. ...
  6. Average Handle Time. ...
  7. Average After Call Work Time. ...
  8. First Call Resolutions.

How is call center KPI calculated? ›

In order to track this KPI, use the following formula:
  1. The number of customer issues/inquiries resolved in a single call ÷ the total number of incoming calls that have had their issues resolved.
  2. The amount of calls per month or year ÷ the operating costs plus average agent salary.
9 Sept 2022

What types of metrics measure customer satisfaction? ›

Commonly used metrics for assessing customer satisfaction include Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES).

What are the metrics for quality of service? ›

The five service quality dimensions are tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy.

What are customer service measures? ›

Customer feedback is another good measure of your service. To collect information on customer satisfaction, you could use survey cards where customers rate aspects of your service (e.g on a scale of 1 to 5). You can ask for feedback on specific aspects of your business or leave forms open-ended, like a suggestion box.

What are the six measures of customer experience? ›

According to The State of the Customer Experience survey that we did earlier in 2018, all companies track customer experience using one or several of the 6 worldwide recognized customer experience metrics: Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Churn rate, Retention rate, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) ...

What are the KPI of customer experience? ›

There are eight key CX KPIs that you need to measure. These are the average resolution time, first response time, customer satisfaction score, customer effort score, net promoter score, customer lifetime value, customer health score, and customer churn rate.

How do you measure improved customer experience? ›

To measure customer experience, most CX professionals rely on metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores to gauge performance.

What is the best indicator of customer satisfaction? ›

5 Key Indicators for Easily Measuring your Customer Satisfaction
  • Satisfaction rate. ...
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) ...
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) ...
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) ...
  • Intention to buy again.

How do you measure customer satisfaction 4 metrics? ›

By using perception of quality and product satisfaction as a guide, we can better measure customer satisfaction as a whole.
1. Overall satisfaction measure (attitudinal)
  1. Overall quality.
  2. Perceived reliability.
  3. Extent of customer's needs fulfilled.
8 Nov 2021

What is customer service index? ›

The Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) is a versatile analytical tool for measuring customer satisfaction with a product, service or company. It offers help in finding reasons of customer satisfaction or rather dissatisfaction. •

What are the 7 dimensions of service quality? ›

Specifically, an item analysis is performed to measure the internal consistency of the seven dimensions (assurance, empathy, professionalism, tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, and availability).

What are the 10 determinants of service quality? ›

(1985) identified 10 key determinants of service quality as per- ceived by the service provider and the consumer, namely, reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding/ knowing the customer, and tangibility to formulate a service quality framework, ...

What are key performance indicators? ›

What is a KPI? KPI stands for key performance indicator, a quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific objective. KPIs provide targets for teams to shoot for, milestones to gauge progress, and insights that help people across the organization make better decisions.

What are the five ways to monitor your customer service? ›

Analyze service interactions across all channels
  • Ask customers for their feedback. Asking your customers for feedback on their preferred channels is a great start. ...
  • Consult with agents to improve practices. ...
  • Offer regular employee training and mentoring. ...
  • Provide regular channel maintenance.


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