Customer service goals help your team understand what they need to do to succeed and move forward. Good goals are motivating because they take effort to accomplish, but not unreachable because they are too ambitious.
However, good goals are hard to find. It’s possible, maybe even probable, that the first few times you set goals, you’ll either smash them out of the park, or not come close to meeting them. The good news is that goal setting is a skill - and you can get better at setting the right goals.
Let’s look into the essentials of customer service goal-setting - what we call the Nifty Nine:
Teams work better when they are all on the same page. Setting appropriate goals will allow you to:
Ultimately, teams that set goals improve faster than teams that don’t. Customer service goals will help you bring your customer service experience to the next level.
Before you dive into setting specific actionable goals, take a step back to figure out what’s your customer service vision. This will help you stay focused on what’s really important to your company.
These questions will help you define your support vision:
Once you know what you want your customer service to be like, it’s easier to break the journey down to attainable goals. When you’ve finished setting up your support goals, come back to your vision to check how well your goals align with it.
Most people associate goals with hard numbers for the business. However, goals don’t always have to be tied to revenue or fiscal success. Goals can focus on employee retention, customer happiness, or any other important metric.
Although it’s important to set goals for measuring and making progress, there are a number of other ways goals can help your company. They help to build teamwork, strengthen your executive team, and create knowledge around your company’s weaknesses.
When setting customer service goals for your team, always make sure they track up the work that is done at the company level. Goal alignment is important because it allows you to be operationally coordinated with the rest of your company.
In addition, knowing company goals increases individual team members’ morale. Knowing that the work they are doing is making an impact at a company level gives a huge boost to their confidence.
This can improve employee retention, too. That’s killing two birds with one stone.
SMART is a framework created by MindTools that helps people set goals that make the most sense for them and their company. According to the MindTools site, to make sure your goals are clear and reachable, they should be:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant): create simple, meaningful goals for your team members.
For example, set goals like writing a knowledge base article, or improving email First Response Times.
Measurable (meaningful, motivating): find a way to measure whether people are actually moving towards the goals you’ve set. We’ll discuss customer service metrics in a bit. Rather than setting vague goals with no actual finish line, use solid numbers and metrics. For example, use goals like writing 25 new blog posts this quarter, or getting email FRT down to 3h 30min by the end of the fiscal year.
Achievable (agreed, attainable): make sure that your goals are attainable. There is nothing that will kill your team’s momentum more than having a goal that feels out of reach.
Talk with your team and others involved, look at your history and ensure that what you are committing yourselves to makes sense for everyone. Don’t undersell yourself, but also don’t overpromise and force yourself to come up short.
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based): connect your team metrics with your company goals and you will always be aligned with this aspect of the SMART goals.
Create goals that make sense within the context of your company and your team. Goals should be meaningful outside of the individual completing them.
If you allow your team members to select their own metrics, have them do so in specific areas where work needs to be done. Don’t expect them to pull their goals out of thin air.
Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive): this is similar to the “M” in SMART, meaning that whatever goals you are setting, they should always come with a completion timeline.
You can track goals on a weekly, quarterly or even annual basis. For example, switching help desks could be a biannual or annual goal. If you are working on blog posts or documentation, you can set quarterly or even monthly deadlines, depending on the comfort of your team.
Set SMART goals to make sure you're working towards clear and attainable objectives. These will help you move your team forward.
Goals work best if you have the right tools to measure how you’re progressing towards the target. Customer service metrics give you quantifiable data into how well your team is doing.
Pair each of your goals up with an appropriate KPI:
Take a look at the 15 customer service metrics that are crucial for most support teams and find the KPIs that will help you progress towards your goals.
When you know where your support is heading, which customer service goals will take you there, and which metrics to measure how well you’re advancing towards your goals, then all you need are great customer service benchmarks against which to compare your performance.
How to find benchmarks for your support team’s goals:
Measurable goals with benchmarks are the best kind of customer service goals to have. With a setup like this, you’ll get a clear understanding of how your team is doing and what are your areas of improvement.
It’s definitely easy to set goals around the things that you’re already slaying, but where’s the growth in that?
Setting goals in places where you know you need to improve serves you and your team twofold:
Setting customer service goals allows you to measure the success of your company across a specific metric or target.
When you’ve set a long-term goal for your company, you can break the journey into smaller, quarter-length goals. These help you see how far you are from hitting your targets.
If things aren’t working, you can assess why, as well. If you’re consistently achieving your goals well before the deadline, you need to set more ambitious targets.
Set goals in areas of growth and watch your team excel (or learn something valuable if they don’t).
Let’s say that Klaus the cat runs a hip subscription-based catfood delivery business. Here’s what the company’s customer service goals would look like.
Customer service vision: Klaus delivers excellent customer service to all existing and potential feline customers quickly via phone and live chat with the aim to upsell yearly cat food subscriptions. Customer service goals:
These are specific, measurable, (hopefully) achievable but definitely relevant and time-bound customer service goals that will surely help the team forward if taken seriously.
Knowing how to set good goals and how they fit within the context of your company can be difficult. But it’s worth it. If you align your goals and metrics with those of your company, you set your team up for success.
Tracking your goals gives you powerful information about the impact your support team is making. You’re not just a group of people answering emails and solving customer problems.
Empower your customer service by setting goals they can achieve. Help them measure the progress they’re making.
You’ll be amazed how far your team can go.
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