Customer Service Playbook: Simplifying Scaling Efforts

Simplify scaling efforts with our customer service playbook. Unlock strategies for efficient growth. Explore now!

Jon Tucker
CEO HelpFlow
Customer Service Playbook: Simplifying Scaling Efforts

Navigating the complexities of customer service management during growth phases presents unique challenges. The customer service playbook is a strategic tool that can streamline the training of new agents, a task that becomes increasingly demanding as the team expands. Without a well-defined playbook, the quality of customer service may decline, adversely affecting sales and overall business growth. Therefore, a playbook is not just a training resource; it’s a critical component for maintaining service quality and sustaining growth.

In short, it’s critical that you must have strong systems for managing customer service as you scale.

But how do you do it? What do successful big brands do to break through the customer service bottleneck as they scale?

These brands use some variation of a customer service playbook to define how great customer service is done for their brand. They define everything from processes to templates and tone, and then they use the playbook to train and manage the team as they grow.

Having a playbook enables you to rely less on special skills when you hire and focus more on culture fit. In addition, the people you hire will be able to learn how to run customer service based on the playbook. This makes scaling WAY easier.

At, we run 24/7 live chat and customer teams for over 100 e-commerce stores. Our team works deeply in the systems of the brands we support, and we get very involved in helping them improve their customer service operation.

In this post, which will likely become a series, you'll learn what a customer service playbook is and how to think about using it in your business. Then, in later posts will then go much deeper into specific parts of the playbook.

Let’s get into it...

Customer Service Playbook:  The Basics (What It Is, How It's Structured)

A customer service playbook serves as a centralized guide detailing the operational aspects of your business. It’s particularly useful in customer service, where the playbook would encompass training materials on the systems in use, summaries of critical procedures, and a compilation of resources that support the execution of these processes. This playbook ensures that all team members are aligned and equipped to deliver consistent and effective service.

The playbook can be structured in many ways, either as an online wiki that the team uses or even a complete process documentation software suite.

  • What we have found to work best is a well-structured Google document that leverages multiple different forms of media to communicate information.
  • Using a Google Doc means it will be familiar to the entire team and also will be easy to update over time.
  • Google also provides a wide range of permission features to effectively share the document without errors or edits

It’s also important to understand that the playbook evolves over time. There are specific types of information that should be included from the beginning, but the playbook is never really "done". Instead, it’s something that gets edited and added to constantly so that it’s a more and more effective asset for your team.

What to Include In Your Customer Service Playbook

As I mentioned, the playbook gets updated over time but below are the initial sections that should be included.

  • An overview of the customer service software the team uses. For example, where are orders processed, where is customer service communication happening, etc.
  • The specific information of how your team uses the customer service software, such as specific tags used on customer service tickets, specific format for order notes, etc.
  • The high-level process outlines how to handle specific customer service situations. For example, the most popular customer service questions, daily or weekly recurring processes, etc. These do not need to be in-depth videos at the start as those can be added the first time you use this playbook to train a new employee.
  • Templates and content snippets your team can use to answer certain situations. Often these will be references to an external tool where the templates are stored. More on that later.

The document should be structured with a clear table of contents that can be clicked to navigate to specific sections and have effective headings, subheadings, and bullet points. This makes quickly navigating the document easier.

Those are the basics of what to include in a playbook, we will go much deeper into specific sections in future posts.

Updating the Playbook Constantly

Maintaining an up-to-date customer service playbook is crucial for ensuring its ongoing relevance and utility. By regularly refining your team’s workflow, the playbook becomes a dynamic tool that actively contributes to your team’s performance, rather than a static document that requires occasional updates. This approach keeps the playbook as a valuable resource for continuous improvement in customer service practices.

This could be covered deeply in another post, but here are the basics:

  • Start with a well-thought-out playbook. Spend the time to include the above items to start out as a strong resource. That way you’re updating an already strong foundation rather than creating a hodgepodge of information over time that the team will give up on eventually.
  • Have someone own the content of the playbook and updates. This is typically a customer service manager but can also be a lead agent on the team as a growth opportunity for them.
  • Anytime there’s a situation where someone realizes the playbook should be added to or edited, they can flag this to the owner. The flagging of additions or edits only needs to communicate what needs to be changed or added, it’s not expected that the team member creates the entire documentation. This constantly feeds the playbook owner with information to update without overwhelming the team or the owner.
  • Periodically, the playbook owner can choose the most impactful updates to make and create the actual playbook content and other documentation to update the playbook. On a monthly or quarterly basis, the entire team should review potential edits and additions to make sure that they are prioritized and progressing.

What Now?

Establishing a customer service playbook and designating an owner for its maintenance forms a robust framework for managing your customer service team. This approach not only streamlines the management process but also facilitates the scaling of the customer experience that contributes to your success. The playbook becomes a living document, continuously refined to reflect the best practices and processes that define your service quality.

Because this topic is so in-depth, we will definitely dig into specific sections of the playbook in future posts. To get updates as these posts are published, be sure to follow us at

If you have any questions as you start to create your playbook, feel free to reach out. Even if we never end up working together, we’re happy to share additional tips as you build this resource for your business.

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