on December 7, 2021 (last modified on May 4, 2022) • 14 minute read
About 50% of consumers say they’d switch to a new brand if they experience bad customer service. while 80% even say they’d go to a competitor.
Meaning: you simply can’t afford to put improving your customer service on the backburner.
So, what’s an effective way to better your service? Setting actionable customer service goals. In fact, these goals can make the difference between excellent (or, at least, satisfactory) and poor customer service.
It’s why in this guide, we’ll tell you how to offer exceptional customer service by aligning your team with challenging yet achievable customer service goals.
Briefly, you need to be setting these goals as they:
With it being clear that having well-defined customer service goals is key to improving your overall service, the question now is: what should you be looking at before you set these goals.
To find out, we talked to experts including 27.3% of folks from the SaaS industry, 24.2% from the eCommerce field, and 18.2% from marketing agencies.
Others include 9.1% from professional services and 3% each from the healthcare, education, and manufacturing industries. The rest, 12.1% are from other industries.
Most of these people, 58.8% to be exact, have a customer service team of 2-5 people. 20.6% have teams of 6-10 members with 17.6% having teams of more than 10 people. Only 2.9% have a one-person customer service team.
These experts say that it’s essential to track the following factors before setting your customer service goals:
It’s essential you find out these challenges such as common feature requests, common product complaints, and more so you can well-equip operators to deal with these issues. As you review and track chat history, customer service calls, and talk to customer service operators, you’ll be able to create a list of these common challenges.
Some metrics to look at include the total number of tickets received, first response time, total number of chats received, average ticket (and chat) resolution time, customer satisfaction score, and operator performance score.
In fact, 79.4% of our respondents say it’s crucial you monitor your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). 55.9% also agree that the First Response Time (FRT) is a key metric to track.
To add, 50%, 41.2%, and 32.4% say you should look at First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Effort Score (CES), respectively.
These will give you an idea of your customer service’s state and what needs work immediately.
Studying your chat transcripts will help you understand the common issues and questions customers ask. It will also give you an idea of how well representatives are solving these issues for customers and how long it typically takes them to do so. By reviewing the conversations’ end, you can also understand how satisfied customers are with the service team.
Unearthing challenges your service team members face helps you understand the obstacles that can make it difficult for your team to work on the goals you set for them. The best ways to learn operator challenges? Talking to representatives in one-on-one meetings and monitoring real-time conversations.
No matter your role in customer support – agent, manager, or VP – your core focus is to ensure that customers’ issues, complaints, and information requests are always dealt with promptly and efficiently. But to stay on track, you probably have to log into multiple tools and spend hours manually compiling data into a comprehensive report. Now you can quickly monitor and analyze your customer service performance data from HelpScout and Stripe in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our customer support experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring and analyzing your customer service performance and its correlation to churn rate. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in customer service reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Let’s dive into the meat of the matter now: how exactly can you set meaningful and achievable customer service goals.
Here’s a primer, followed by the details:
Goals are only as effective as the actionable planning you put into them. They’re going to be pretty useless if you set them up without agreeing upon how you’d measure them, how long you have to achieve them, and other such details.
So to make sure you’re putting in the needed legwork for setting measurable customer service goals, Eden Cheng from PeopleFinderFree suggests you set SMART goals.
“As per this approach, customer service team goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound,” Cheng defines.
In fact, Cheng shares: “For my start-up, we follow the SMART philosophy for setting goals for the customer care team. For measurable goals, we make sure to assess traits that are easy to track.”
Here’s an example: “track the number of tickets closed and a customer engagement after facing an issue,” Cheng writes. “These two things help us to find out how efficient customer care service is happening.”
“I prefer avoiding tracking the occurrence of issues in a certain period and keeping it as a success mark as customer needs evolve with time and no matter what, certain displease occurs at customers’ end.”
And, a heads-up on this note: “If you’re dreaming of receiving no complaints at all then you’re away from reality.”
Meaning: instead of whisking up a list of random customer service goals, aim to only set goals that showcase your business value.
For example, if you say you care about your buyer’s time, you’ll want to set goals to make sure you actually do that by working on metrics like reducing customer query response and resolution times.
Case in point: Simple Solar Living. Eric Thomas from the team highlights, “One KPI I would particularly pay attention to is FRT (First Response Time). At Simple Solar Living, we highly value a high speed of response to customer inquiries, something I think many businesses should pay high attention to. Speed is the name of the game these days, and if you delay on responding to customers then you’re going to lose them.”
Keeping this example to the front, Thomas advises, “The goals you set for your customer service team should be reflective of what areas you need to work on as a company.”
“Ideally, you are using monitoring software to let you know what KPIs you are not meeting. These KPIs should be factored into the setting of new, measurable customer service goals,” says Thomas.
Annie Gray of LiveHelpNow agrees. “It’s very important that your goals are achievable but also useful. There’s no point in setting a goal for your team that doesn’t actually support the overall goal that the department is working towards.”
“For example, if the bigger goal of the customer service team is ‘to provide the best support possible’ you need to work out how to make that tangible,” Gray outlines. “In this case, the smaller goals for your team would include speeding up the average response rate, increasing average survey scores by 1, and, perhaps increasing the retention rate by 2%.”
Remember, the “key is knowing how your team is performing in those areas before you set the goals. This way, you can track the improvement but also establish how and when you are going to measure the improvements. If you don’t fully understand the current situation, it’s going to be very difficult to set achievable goals for any team.”
Hence, the tactical way forward is to first write down your big goals. Then, break down each big goal into smaller goals – write down how you plan to achieve each and what metrics you’ll monitor.
Once done, walk the extra mile: write down the steps your team members can take daily to knock down the small goals. Eventually, by tackling these small goals, your team will achieve those big goals.
Related: Goals Based Reporting: Everything You Need to Know
This one’s a hat tip to Lasting Trend’s Tim Absalikov. “Your team knows what it can do. [So] come up with your own versions of goals and get feedback from them.”
“Explain why the goal suits your business. Share your thoughts on how you chose goals to gain support from the team,” Absalikov elaborates.
To add, “Be open to change. Reevaluate your customer service goals until you and your team agree that they are ambitious enough, achievable, and move your business forward.”
Not only does taking this approach help you set better, more achievable goals, but it also assists in motivating your customer service team who feels valued. They are also more likely to be enthusiastic about accomplishing goals that they set themselves.
Jon Bennion of Online Marketing Gurus goes on to say: “The most effective approach to setting goals for a customer service team is to coordinate them with the rest of the company [not just your team].”
“Although goals of customer service specifically focus on customer satisfaction and retention, they should also be directly related to the large marketing and business goals set by other teams,” Bennion explains.
“This way, it will be easier to measure the success of your customer service team. In addition, such an approach will help increase the motivation and responsibility of your customer service agents. They will work harder if they know that their efforts could have a big impact on their own team, other teams, and the company.”
And, finally, “it’s important to set realistic goals for your customer service team to motivate all team members to contribute to your business success,” according to Charles Cridland from YourParkingSpace.
“That’s why you should always start by examining and identifying the challenges faced by your customer service agents and how these challenges impact your business. For example, callers may ask questions that agents cannot answer or can’t clearly convey technical details of their issues, leading to repetition, confusion, and frustration.”
It also helps to analyze common complaints customers make about your service team. For example, slow response time or a lack of thorough solutions to their problems.
And, while you’re at it, also source all the questions that customers frequently ask. This will help you prep your customer service team. You can also create (or update) your knowledge base so that representatives know where to look for answers when customers ask for a FAQ.
That said, by setting realistic customer service goals, you also end up empowering your team. Cridland points out that they do the same. “Our agents focus on making every customer experience personalized, building emotional connections, and creating long-term relationships with customers.
That’s why we encourage our customer service agents to use their judgment in different situations and do what they feel will be best for the customers and our company rather than just use given scripts.”Related: 11 Tactics for Effectively Measuring Your Customer Service ROI
Now that you’ve learned why customer service goals are important and how to set them, let’s walk you through 6 proven tips to achieve the goals you set:
Setting actionable goals alone isn’t enough. It’s crucial you map out a plan to achieve the goals too. Want to reduce your First Response Time? Consider automating responses to commonly asked customer questions.
Related: 12 Customer Support Tools for an Unstoppable Service Desk
In fact, 91.2% of our contributors have defined methods to achieve their team’s goals. Only 2.9% don’t with 5.9% being unsure.
Even though not all customers are equal (some may be paying for a higher subscription, for example), it’s essential you attend to all customers in the same way.
The reason? Customers are highly likely to share stories of excellent customer service, which will grow referrals to your business. In fact, customers rating a business’s service as “good” are 38% more likely to recommend it.
Plus, 3 out of 5 customers say good customer service helps them feel loyal to a brand.
This helps save customers from inconveniences in the future, which gives operators brownie points. In fact, sharing a bonus tip or two on how to make the most from their subscription/purchase is also an effective way to win customers’ trust.
Instead of making every operator-customer interaction robotic, consider personalizing it. Small things like a warm greeting or a question like ‘is there anything else that I can do for you’ humanizes the process.
In fact, acknowledging customers’ (legit) problems, for example, difficulty in setting up their account can calm down angry customers.
67% of customers agree they favor self-service over talking to a support agent. 91% even prefer finding their answers from an online knowledge base that meets their needs. The takeaway? Create a knowledge base that’s tailored to answer customer questions.
Although it helps to respond quickly, the act won’t pay off in the long haul if you don’t give a thorough answer. If the answer will take some investigating (and, with it, time), inform your customer that you’ve received their query and will get back to them in a certain estimated time.
Related: Customer Service Reports: 7 Things You Can Learn from Customer Service Data Analysis
To reiterate, good customer service comes with a lot of perks. And an effective way to offer it is by setting SMART customer service goals.
Once you’ve devised these goals, be sure to monitor them using a custom dashboard software to track progress. Want a simple, easy-as-pie solution to track your customer service goals?
Use Databox to create your customer service dashboards to track metrics such as resolution rate, customer happiness score, and so on.
You can also create a custom dashboard to track service operators’ performance by tracking metrics like closed conversations, customers helped, happiness score by team member, and more.
Best of all: pull in data from any source, integrate the dashboard with data from your favorite customer service tool such as Help Scout or Intercom, and get instant reports showcasing your progress.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for Databox for free today.
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