In most businesses each new year brings a fresh set of customer service goals. The purpose of customer service goals is to improve your customer loyalty, boost customer retention, reduce customer acquisition costs, and generate strong team support for the company's marketing strategy.
If properly developed, these are also an effective method of ensuring the entire company remains focused and united.
Knowing how to state those goals so they are clear and attainable is essential. Smart goals will motivate your team, poorly planned ones will most likely backfire.
The aim of this article is to give you examples of effective goal-setting for customer service teams and how to set SMART customer service goals that will achieve the results you want them to.
Examples of Effective Customer Service Goals
Having tried-and-tested examples of effective customer service goals is helpful when trying to set goals for your own customer service team. Here are some tactics applied by organizations getting it right.
1. Focus on Personal Emotional Connection (PEC)
Zappos is a clothing and footwear brand that is renowned for great customer service. They have a customer service initiative known as “Personal. Emotional. Connection.”, sometimes abbreviated to PEC. As an example, Zappos exemplifies PEC by sending handwritten thank-you notes to customers. This goes above and beyond expectations, particularly in the age of automated email and SMS marketing.
In order to measure PEC, Zappos had to define its own customer experience metrics and KPIs. For example, they measure an employee's PEC track record through their self-developed 100-point Happiness Experience Form. The form asks questions like:
- Did the agent try twice to make a personal emotional connection (PEC)?
- Was the agent able to keep the rapport going after the customer responded to their PEC attempt?
- Did the agent address any unstated needs?
- Did the agent deliver an above-and-beyond “wow factor”?
The takeaway from Zappos is that when setting goals that are difficult to track (ie. emotionally-based goals or subjectivity-heavy goals), CX leaders should spend some additional time coming up with an actionable rubric with which to measure success.
This may mean going against the grain of industry expectations. For example, Zappos measures total call time rather than per-call time for their call center reps. Why? An 8-hour call is fine, so long as the customer is happy!
2. Reduce Customer Data Errors
ViaSource is a great example of how stating a simple goal can change your customer service trajectory. Their goal was to reduce, if not eliminate, human error and improve the overall quality of the service offered by the customer support team. After all, how can you adequately serve your customers when you have mistakes in their order history, sign-up date, contact information, and so on?
ViaSource updated their contact center with Connect First— a piece of software designed to capture call data and combat data entry mistakes. In doing so, ViaSource automated manual data entry and found a way to track customers who somehow became abandoned during interactions. This helped to improve their customer satisfaction score and provided 18% in cost savings each month.
Data entry error reduction might sound like a company-centric goal rather than a customer-centric goal, but it can also:
- Ensure customer data accuracy for better follow-up interactions
- Leave agents more time for customers by reducing their administrative burden
- Reliably record and track customer interactions for review and training purposes
- Prevent data loss so that no customer falls through the cracks
After employing call center software to tune-up their customer data, ViaSource was able to better meet customer service needs with reliable, accurate data supporting every interaction.
3. Increase Communication with High Value Customers
Mention, a social and web listing application, set their customer service goal to improve communication with their most valuable customers and reduce churn. After a growth spurt, customers were leaving but the company wasn't sure why. They wanted to reduce that churn through improved communication within the customer service team.
The first step was looking at user demographics. Mention pinpointed their high value customers: current free trial customers and paid subscribers, rather than those using the freemium plan. These two groups were the most likely to spend money on a product and are also the most likely to walk away if they aren’t getting enough value from the service.
To increase communication with these customers, Mention devised “Pro Tip” email campaigns that worked to point out added value measures paying customers could take to get the most out of the tool. Additionally, they streamline ticket requests so that paying members were serviced faster than non-paying members. Finally, Mention also created a Master Class webinar that focused on successful use cases of their service. After all this, Mention’s customer churn rate dropped 22% in a single month.
4. Empower Your Employees
Ritz-Carlton is all about supreme customer service. To ensure this, their goal was to empower all their employees, not just customer support, to resolve customer issues independently.
They asked all their employees to look for times when they can improve a customer’s experience and authorized each employee to spend up to $2000 per day as needed to achieve this.
In doing so they removed the need for advanced managerial approval, greatly reducing issue resolution time and increasing customer satisfaction (CSAT) rates. The full $2000 was rarely needed in order to achieve this. However, empowering the employees through resource allocation enabled them to respond quickly without barriers.
Ritz-Carlton’s empowerment of employees was both financial and symbolic. Elevating the message “We trust our staff to do the right thing” improved employee morale and this positive momentum is passed on to customers in every interaction.
5. Diversity Support Technology
Wistia is a video marketing software company that established a customer service goal to better address different learning styles. While some customers were comfortable with phone call support, others respond better to text or video-based problem solving and feature support. As a video-centric company, the obvious next step was to build out a library of video tutorials to assist customers with common concerns.
The How-To videos were a hit and Wistia found that even GIFs could be useful in text-based support channels like email or live chat. They found that the videos dramatically decreased the time it took to resolve issues. In fact, many customers found that they could address problems on their own using the visual self-help material made available to them.
Wistia leveraged the power of different technologies to better address customer concerns in a variety of engaging ways. Agents were empowered to provide support using phone, live chat, email, video, GIFs, and screenshots. This variety made it easy to pivot between teaching techniques until the customer service agent found a solution that resonated best with the customer.
6. Customer Convenience Comes First
Warby Parker was doing DIY, virtual service before the COVID-19 pandemic made it a necessity. The eyewear company’s mission is to make it as easy as possible for customers to try their products risk-free without leaving the house.
First, they offer augmented reality imaging that lets users try on frames virtually using a video-filter-like app. Second, they let users pick out 5 pairs of glasses to try on at home and only keep and pay for the one(s) they love most.
A winning customer service goal is: Make Customer Convenience Come First. Consider what barriers-to-entry your customers are facing and then work to remove them. Warby Parker addresses this in a few ways:
- Travel Barrier - Make it easy to try-on glasses at home
- Cost Barrier - Offer competitive prices
- Social Consciousness Barrier - Outline community support initiative
- Knowledge Barrier - Provide DIY support pages and FAQs
By tackling the presumed inconveniences your customers face, you automatically respect their boundaries and create engagement on their terms. Consider what’s stopping your ideal customer from making a purchase right now, then set goals to remove that barrier for a smooth and seamless customer experience.
7. Emphasize Generosity and Sincerity
LEGO has long been associated with excellent customer service. If a customer contacts them because of a missing part a new one is quickly shipped along with a letter of apology. No questions asked. The goal is to be personable and engaging with a fast first response time.
Offering replacement pieces costs LEGO money but it builds respect and loyalty with the customers who will buy again. Giving away a free product with a note is the company investing in the long term relationship with their customers.
Generosity and sincerity in the face of customer problems is one of the best ways to turn a hater into an advocate for your brand. Consider free and easy returns, personalized apology notes, bonus items for dissatisfied customers, and other ways to emphasize these values.
Tips for Setting Effective Customer Service Goals
The above are great examples of how effective goal setting can dramatically improve your company’s customer experience strategy. Beyond that, it’s also important to think about best practices when it comes to goal-setting itself.
Here are some “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) best practices when it comes to setting the right business goals for your customer support team.
1. Make it Specific
Make sure your customer service goals are sufficiently narrowed down and precise. The goal should be worded so that it can be understood clearly and the team knows what is expected of them.
Comprehension of a precise target is critical so all members are on the right track to achieving it. There is no way to meet a goal if it isn’t clear what it is or how you are getting there as a team.
Examples of specific goals:
- Raise net promoter score (NPS) by dedicating more time to each customer ticket
- Increase positive social media mentions through customer contests and giveaways
- Identify and engage with our high value customers
2. Make it Measurable
The goals you set should be easily measurable. It is always helpful if there are milestones so you can track the team's success. Looking at pre-goal numbers versus post implementation can help you and the team assess how the goal is progressing and note where adjustments are needed to make reaching it easier.
Examples of measurable goals:
- Raise net promoter score by 5 points
- Increase positive social media mentions by 25%
- Increase customer email newsletter open rates by 5%
3. Make it Attainable
There is no point in setting a goal that is not achievable. Doing so will frustrate and demotivate teams. Attainable goals are about growth, not perfection. Teams need the opportunity to meet goals so they can constantly be improving without feeling like it's pointless. Challenge is great, but not ever being able to attain a goal can feel hopeless.
Examples of attainable goals:
- Test outlined NPS strategy for 3 months and report back on what’s working and what’s not
- Give customer service team a budget of $200/month for giveaways that include a tag, follow, hashtag, or other engagement action
- Start by increasing email open rate by 2-3% and make note on headline strategies with the best results.
4. Make it Relevant
Tip number 4 is to always make sure your goal is relevant. This means each goal has to have a purpose that is understood and works with the company’s values and mission. If employees don’t understand why they are pursuing a goal it’s unlikely to be connected to the brand.
Examples of relevant goals:
- Our company values turning customers into advocates; therefore, our goal to drive up the NPS score is relevant
- Our customer base is primarily on Instagram and Facebook, therefore our social media goals are relevant
- Half of our repeat sales come from email marketing, therefore newsletter open rates are relevant to revenue goals.
5. Make it Time-Based
Lastly, setting deadlines over a specific time frame is needed. Open-endedness takes away any sense of an actual goal and creates no urgency for change. Without a deadline, motivating employees is more difficult. Each goal should have a time frame when the goal will be assessed, adapted or changed. Without being time-based there is extraordinarily little accountability.
Examples of time-based goals:
- Raise net promoter score by 5 points...over the course of one year
- Increase positive social media mentions by 25%...per quarter
- Increase customer email newsletter open rates by 5%...for each weekly email campaign
When you set customer service goals for your CX, more goals do not mean you will accomplish better customer service. The above examples show that if a whole team, or ideally a whole company, is focused on a one goal accomplishing it can make a big difference to customer loyalty.
Pick a goal for your customer service teams, set a timeline, and then begin to make positive changes both for the employees and the customer. Building attainable customer goals for the workday, and the long term, make all the difference.
And remember, without a way to properly visualize their goals your customer service reps are likely to get discouraged and give up. A clear definition or time-bound customer service metric gives your service reps a target to aim at and keeps your team members motivated.
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