Odds are good that at some point in time, you’ve looked up from your desk and thought … what next? Working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week without goals is a sure-fire recipe for burnout. Why are we here? Other than the paycheck, why do I sit here and answer tickets?
Goals are a great way to add meaning to your workday and give yourself a destination to work towards.
I like to think of goals as signposts along your journey. They help you know where you are, where you’re heading and how long it’s going to take to get there. That is, if you set good goals.
In this post, we share our top tips on how you can set great customer service goals to motivate and inspire your support team.
1. Know where you want to go
Before you can set your customer service goals, you need to determine a direction. Think about what success looks like to you in a year, or five years from now. What’s holding you back from getting there?
Brainstorm big ideas and areas that are important to you as a team and an individual. What skills do you want to level up? What opportunities do you want to explore? Rather than restricting your thoughts to “realistic” or “achievable” ideas, this is a time to think big and long term! You can break down your goals into more realistic timeframes later on.
2. Specific and Measurable Customer Service Goals
The best written goals are easily identifiable milestones. You know when you’ve achieved them, and when you’re not there yet. Customer service goals need to be specific, and measureable.
Vague goals like “become a better leader” aren’t helpful. What’s “better”? When have you become “better” enough? Instead of vague goals, dive into what parts of leadership you want to explore.
This great example from Lighthouse shows a series of specific, measureable goals. Most of these are binary goals – they’ve either been achieved or they haven’t.
Customer service goals might be more metric based:
- Increase personal CSAT scores to 95%
- Decrease chat handling time by 25%
- Write and publish 4 approved documentation articles
Each of these goals identify an area to improve in, and give a specific amount of improvement to reach for. You’ll know exactly when you’ve accomplished your goal.
3. Connect customer service goals to company goals
Think of your organization as a giant row boat. If everyone’s goals align, you’ll be rowing perfectly in time, and in the same direction. If there’s no common direction, you’ll be spinning around in circles or not moving at all!
Setting big, audacious company goals before jumping into individual goal setting lets individuals connect their own goals to the company’s direction. This works well for a couple reasons. It’s easier to see how your own growth contributes to the growth of the company. Being part of something bigger is a great motivator for individuals. It’s also easier to choose a goal that will bring value to the organization. If you know that the company plans to launch a new iOS app next year, learning about App Store policies and procedures might be a good quarterly goal.
Customer service goals can flow down by position as well. Agent’s goals will support the Manager’s goals, which will support the Director’s goals, which directly influence the Company’s goals.
For example, if the company’s goal is to expand into a new market (perhaps Spanish speaking countries), your team could set the following series of customer service goals:
- Director: Decrease Average Handle Time by 25% to prepare for incoming volume
- Manager: Hire a Spanish speaking agent
- Agent: Identify translation agency and assist with translation of documentation
Each of these customer service goals is appropriate to the skill level of the position, but work together to prepare the team for the new challenge.
4. Make a Plan
Once you’ve set your goal, you’ll want to make a plan to accomplish it. This involves listing tactics you’ll use in order to be successful.
The difference between a tactic and a goal is action. Tactics are actions you take to reach the end goal. For example, your tactics to decrease chat handling time by 25% might be:
- Research the types of chats that are taking longer to resolve
- Identify areas for team training
- Develop and deliver training session on efficient chat handling
- Create text snippets for common issues
While some of the tactics could be considered mini “goals” they are all specific actions and to-dos that will get you closer to your overall goal of improving chat handling time.
5. Publicize and Track
“Out of sight and out of mind” should never apply to your goals. Keeping your goals and progress in front of your face keeps them top of mind. Different people will find different methods of tracking more effective.
Digital Dashboards: if you’re metric driven, try keeping all of your goal progress in an up to date dashboard. It might be in Zendesk, Salesforce or Trello, or you can use Geckoboard to design a cross-platform goal tracking mega dashboard. Keep the dashboard on a screen in your office, or bookmark it.
Post-it notes: if all you need is a mantra to keep focussed, post a note on your computer monitor to remind yourself of your goal.
Thermometers or Gauges: if everyone is located in the same space, you can use tactile tracking methods. Draw a thermometer on a whiteboard and have agents color in their progress. Add a post it note for every new task accomplished. But if your team is partly remote, this doesn’t work because you’ll be leaving some of the team out of the tracking.
6. Review Often
Things change quickly in business. Rather than having one big goal for the year, separate your goal timeframes into quarters or months. You’ll be able to adapt your goals to the current needs of the environment, instead of being left chasing an irrelevant goal (or one that you’ve achieved months ago).
Weekly check-ins can help refine goals and drive progress. Keeping your goals front and center in 1 on 1s will help focus the conversations.
Reviewing often helps you adapt to change. Brian Balfour has this great quote on driving high performance by embracing change: “The mentality of “done” is the exact opposite of the mentality of high performance growth teams. Change is constant. Change is difficult. Not adapting to change is fatal.”
Goals are not carved in stone. They are easily changeable and adaptable. If a goal isn’t working anymore, just update it! The purpose of goals is to keep moving forward in the right direction.
7. Celebrate Success
You’ve made it! Instead of moving directly on to the next goal, take time to celebrate your success. If you’ve reached a team goal, celebrate together. Mindvalley’s support team celebrated hitting their targets with a fancy, memorable 5 star meal together. Not only is it a nice reward for everyone working together, it’s also a great team bonding experience.
If you manage individuals, think about offering a small raise for completed goals. They’ve increased their skills and delivered more value to the team – they should be compensated for it!
Once you’ve celebrated and the confetti has fallen, it’s time to move onto setting the next goal! Constant, incremental improvement will make a huge difference in growing and scaling your support team.