How Playbooks improve customer service delivery, agent productivity

  • Abhi Rele
  • Solutions
  • Customer Experience
  • 2021
November 09, 2021

Customer service delivery: A businessman wears a headset while working on his laptop.

Kathy Neff, director of Customer Workflows product marketing at ServiceNow, co-authored this blog.

We all know one bad experience can impact a customer’s perception of—and even willingness to deal with—an organization going forward. That’s why so many companies, in virtually every industry, have made investing in customer experience (CX) a top priority, according to

The problem is, for any given organization, there are a number of customer service processes along the entire life span of an interaction that need to be looked at and made great.

These processes are often complex, encompassing multiple siloed teams and departments across the organization. That makes it difficult to visualize and orchestrate the entire process at a glance—and allows inefficiencies and delays to persist. These, in turn, prevent organizations from delivering a great end-to-end digital experience.

In general, the main difficulties organizations struggle with fall into four categories:

  • Fundamental – “I can’t see the entire process lifecycle in a single view. The vital data I need to help understand and resolve an issue is trapped in other systems or scattered across other teams.”

  • Operational – “I don’t know where the process is currently or who’s working on it. I have no way of identifying where we have bottlenecks.”

  • Functional – “I can’t provide my agents with all the necessary data to complete their tasks. I don’t know how to guide agents through the steps required to resolve a customer issue.”

  • Strategic – “I don’t know how likely it is we’ll meet or breach our service-level agreements.”

The specifics may vary by organization and industry, but one thing remains constant: Unless work flows seamlessly across the process, customer experiences and subsequent business performance suffer. A lack of visibility and control over customer service workflows creates inefficiencies that drive up the cost of service and decrease customer (and often employee) satisfaction.

Break down silos and gain visibility

Playbooks for ServiceNow® Customer Service Management solve these challenges. By enabling companies to define, visualize, and orchestrate complex workflows, Playbooks help deliver the experiences customer service agents want and customers expect.

Playbooks empower agents to view all the necessary steps to solve a customer’s issue or complete their request. They provide visibility into the status of tasks, including those assigned to downstream teams, so that everyone knows where the process stands and what’s still needed from both colleagues and systems.

This also enables executives to “see” why work doesn’t flow across all service processes, quickly identify bottlenecks, and make improvements to speed completion.

Organizations can create multiple Playbooks, one for each process, to define the data, tasks, and automation necessary to digitize processes. Playbooks provide agents with a visual guide of the various tasks required to complete the process, along with the sequence in which they need to be executed (either serially or in parallel) to resolve the customer issue or request as quickly as possible.

Improving the agent and customer experience

In the Now Platform® Rome release, we significantly enhanced Playbooks to deliver a focused layout experience. This makes it easier than ever for agents to understand the task at hand and accelerate the resolution of issues or the completion of work, thereby increasing their overall productivity. The focused layout (see Figure 1):

  1. Optimizes the real estate on the screen to help agents focus on their current task, starting with the creation of a new record.

  2. Displays dynamic, contextual data and resources within the Playbook in a collapsible side panel—including activity stream, case details, and related records—making it easy for agents to find what they need, when they need it.

  3. Empowers agents by allowing them to view the entire process lifecycle, determine which step they’re on, and get visual cues to indicate the progress of the phase, etc.

Customer Service Playbooks: Focused layout

Figure 1: Customer Service Playbooks: Focused layout

With these enhancements, companies can streamline their processes to accelerate service delivery and increase customer satisfaction and agent productivity. Playbooks help make work better for people, combining customer engagement and operations to make work flow naturally throughout the company—the way it’s supposed to.

Experience the power of Playbooks firsthand. Download one of our packages from the ServiceNow Store today:

© 2021 ServiceNow, Inc. All rights reserved. ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


  • Uncertain times: man standing in front of open laptop looking out a window
    AI and Automation
    4 ways to future-fit your business to thrive in uncertain times
    Uncertain times are often a catalyst for important innovations. Find out four tech trends that are resonating with ServiceNow customers.
  • Disability pride flag with 5 ServiceNow employees representing the 5 stripes
    Raising awareness through the disability pride flag
    Did you know there’s a disability pride flag? Watch a video of five ServiceNow employees' stories in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Digitizing customer experience: woman looking at a smartphone
    Customer Experience
    3 benefits of digitizing the customer experience
    Digitizing the customer experience remains a key initiative for many organizations—even during a tough economic climate. Find out why and the benefits.

Trends & Research

  • 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management Platforms
    IT Management
    A Magic Quadrant Leader in ITSM Platforms for ninth year in a row
  • Total experience companies outperform: prism refraction with an arrow pointing to the right
    Employee Experience
    Survey says: Total experience-focused companies outperform
  • Customer service: smiling businessman on phone walking outdoors
    Customer Experience
    Survey: 3 tips to deliver world-class customer service