How to Develop Challenging (Yet Realistic) Customer Service Goals

Set attainable goals for your team with an actionable framework

January 2021 - 4.5 minutes

One common goal across companies in every industry is customer satisfaction (CSAT). Customer service teams obsess over their scores, yet many operate without a clear understanding of how to actually achieve it. As work transforms to meet modern challenges, there are several key customer service goals along the way that contribute to CSAT, such as faster resolutions and customer effort.

This article provides a framework for goal-setting for your customer service team. It takes the ambiguity out of lofty customer service goals and gives you the tools to empower your team.

Create a roadmap for your customer service goals

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff created a way to plan organizational goals back when he started the company. He called it V2MOM, which breaks down like this:
Vision: What do you want?
Values: What’s important about it?
Methods: How do you get it?
Obstacles: What might stand in the way?
Measure: How will you know when you have it?

Every department and every employee creates a V2MOM each year. They align their work against it, adjusting along the way. This approach guides every decision made at the company.

There are many other ways to approach goal-setting, but many touch on the same ideas. For example, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review, goals should be FAST:

Frequently discussed
Ambitious in scope
Measured by specific metrics and milestones
Transparent so everyone in the organization can see them

A goal that falls short in any of these steps is removed because it may not make a significant impact or have undefined outcomes.

A clear methodology helps companies determine appropriate, practical customer service goals. A team working toward clear goals is better equipped to improve the customer experience, customer loyalty, and business success.

Understand the impact of clear customer service goals

By documenting customer service goals, the entire customer service team stays focused. It’s easier to make decisions and increases autonomy, which can contribute to higher customer satisfaction.

With measurable goals, each team member sees exactly where they stand and the department’s success rate. Team members stay accountable. The entire team stays motivated to work toward a common purpose and everyone is driven to succeed.

Best of all, the results of your customer service goals can reveal what your customer really wants. What if specific smaller customer service objectives, such as a faster case-resolution time, don’t impact your overall goal of improved CSAT? In that case, you can quickly change course to learn what truly affects your primary goal and what adjustments your team needs to make.

Identify effective customer service goals

Customer service is all about maintaining and improving relationships. If a customer leaves satisfied after their interaction with an agent, it strengthens your relationship with the customer. They are likely to do business with your company again and share positive reviews online, on social media, or through word of mouth. Keep these tips in mind as you set goals:

1. Be specific

The more specific you are about what you want to accomplish, the easier it is to determine how to measure success.

2. Stretch your abilities

Each customer service objective should be challenging. For your company to grow, you need to push your team to improve continually.

3. Set realistic goals

Employees will quickly give up on impossible goals. Make them achievable to keep your team motivated and engaged. Start small and be practical. As your team meets specific benchmarks and smaller goals, update or add larger goals.

4. Focus on relationships

Customer service metrics should be quantitative and qualitative. Look beyond profit margins. For example, a customer who hangs up satisfied after a call with an agent may not make another purchase immediately, but their loyalty has likely increased.

5. Measure results

Review your metrics regularly against specific milestones to understand your team’s progress. Is your team meeting their goals in a timely manner? Are there opportunities for improvement?

6. Empower employees

Your customer service agents should feel supported, respected, and trusted as they work to reach their goals. Build your customer service teams, train them, equip them with the tools and information they need, and give them the authority to fulfill customer needs with minimal management supervision.

Revisit your customer service goals regularly

As time passes and metrics reveal insights, your customer service goals may shift. Always find ways to adapt to the needs of your customers and your organization.

The metrics for your customer service goals might include:

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Revenue
  • Customer retention
  • Customer effort score
  • Service level agreement (SLA) performance
  • Average response times (ART)
  • Case deflection

Dig into the metrics to better understand causation — not just correlation. After each interaction, a quick survey can focus on the metrics you value and show you where to improve. Revise your metrics as needed to measure success for each customer service goal.

Reduce customer service challenges

Service department heads commonly cite the following challenges:

1. Keeping up with changing customer expectations

2. Budgetary constraints

3. Ineffective or inefficient processes

4. Insufficient tools or technologies

5. Underskilled agents

Establish goals based on known issues to address and potentially eliminate them. For example, if CSAT is down because of too many reopened tickets, set an immediate goal for support representatives to complete new product training.

Drill down into your customer service department’s needs, methods, and metrics. Talk to your agents and involve them in the goal-setting process. Setting and achieving goals together is an effective way to get to know your department inside and out — from your employees’ and customers’ perspectives.

Strengthen your team

Every agent, every team, and every service organization has room to grow and improve. Make goal-setting part of your plan to transform and stay ahead of your competition.


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See how to:

  • Create alignment within your organization
  • Write a V2MOM
  • Adapt your V2MOM over time

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