Support team management

How to Choose the Right Customer Service Goals

Customer service goals goals help your team understand what they need to do to succeed and move forward. Good goals are motivating, but not unreachable.

However, good goals are hard to find. It’s possible, maybe even probable, that the first few times you set them they’ll be bad.

A bad or poorly set goal will point your agents in the right direction without them knowing that they’ve succeeded. These goals don’t push the team to do better.

And, sometimes a goal is just so unattainable that team members give up before they’ve even started.

Why set customer service goals?

Teams work better when they are all on the same page. Setting appropriate goals will allow you to:

  • Build team cohesion. When everyone knows what they are trying to accomplish and strive for the same goals, work gets done fast and easy.
  • Pivot quickly if something isn’t working. If you monitor your goals and see that things are not going along as they should be, you’ll know the change you need to make in your product, team or company.
  • Build company-wide cooperation. Inter-team cohesion eliminates a lot of the uncertainty caused by not understanding company goals. Coherent teams work autonomously and complement each other’s work.

Choosing the right goals is a management skill that takes time to develop. Luckily, we’ve got some tried and true tips to help you get on the right track with good goal setting for your team.

Know your company’s goals

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.

Be ambitious with your customer service goal setting

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:

  • It gives you the opportunity to fail harder, thus knowing where your true areas of growth are.
  • Without having to push harder to succeed, you don’t know your true potential.

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).

Set SMART goals

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 blog post, or implementing a new tool in your help desk.

  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating): find a way to measure whether people are actually moving towards the goals you’ve set.

    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 transitioning to a new help desk 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 makes sure you're working towards clear and attainable objectives. These will help you move your team forward.

Use your customer service goals to excel

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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