As a call center manager or business owner, one thing is certain — customers are always hungry for better.
In fact, 91% of customers are more likely to make another purchase after a great customer service experience. At the same time, 63% of consumers expect customer service agents to know their unique needs and expectations.
This expectation weighs heavily on company leadership. Setting effective customer service goals is a great place to start if you’re wondering how to keep customers satisfied.
You’ve likely heard how important it is to set goals for customer service, but our guide goes a step further. Not only do we back up the importance of these goals using real-world scenarios, but we also guide you through creating your own.
Read on for inspiration and guidance as you craft this year’s ambitious contact center service goals to retain existing and attract new customers.
Why You Need To Set Customer Service Goals
Imagine every customer service representative at your organization perceiving your company’s tone differently. You’d have a lot of inconsistency, brand dissonance, and customer confusion on your hands.
Good customer service goals prevent issues like this from happening. Here’s how:
- They provide direction and stability. When goals are comprehensive and clear, they cut out the guesswork. Your employees will become confident in their workflow.
- They simplify team/employee management. Measurable goals with specific standards and benchmarks make it easier for managers to provide objective feedback and offer clear paths to improvement.
- They help teams align and collaborate. Every division and role in your organization can collaborate to reach milestones. Goals clarify the mutual aim of seemingly disjointed work.
- They increase customer satisfaction. Specific customer service goals should provide an excellent customer experience, setting you apart from the competition.
How To Set and Measure Customer Service Goals
You can probably think of a few overarching goals for your customer service strategy right off the top of your head.
Ideas are great starting points, but goals require structure to have a real impact. That’s where SMART goals come in.
Your goals should be:
- Specific. Avoid general statements by specifying the benchmark you want to achieve. Rather than saying, “We will speed up response time,” say, “We will respond within [X hours] [Y% of the time] by [month/quarter/year].” Otherwise, individuals will each develop their own understanding of the goal.
- Measurable. Rely on quantifiable customer service metrics such as customer service score (CSAT score), customer churn rate, and quantity of loyal customers. This will help you track your KPIs. Each goal should only focus on one area, as measuring multiple areas for the same goal can cause confusion.
- Achievable. While ambitious goals can help communicate a vision and push employees to grow, being unrealistic can harm morale. If you ask your employees to improve their performance by 75-100%, they’ll feel like they’ve failed before they even begin. Aim for something more attainable.
- Relevant. Your goals should align with your organization’s mission. It isn’t worth including if the end goal doesn’t relate to improving customer experience.
- Time-bound. Setting deadlines and checkpoints for your goals provides a sense of urgency. This motivates teams to make progress. A lack of clarity about specific time-frames can cause procrastination or stress out your team.
13 Customer Service Goals To Stay on Top of Your Strategy
Clear, focused customer service objectives are necessary for any customer retention strategy. Customers who feel satisfied and cared for after interacting with your customer service department will be far more likely to return.
Let’s explore 13 examples of customer service goals to consider setting for your own organization in 2024.
1. Amaze with first response time (FRT)
In the digital age, people are less patient than ever before. Customers see quick response and resolution time as one of the most important parts of a positive customer experience.
Response time expectations on social media are even more demanding. Most consumers want a response from companies on Instagram within an hour.
If you’re now worrying about your own average first response time, don’t fret. Creating a customer service goal targeting first-contact resolution just requires a little strategizing.
Here are some tips as you get started:
- Equip yourself with the right tools. Using an integrated business communication platform like Nextiva will help you deliver responses to your customers in a matter of minutes.
- Keep the team properly staffed at all times. Response time is a shared effort for your entire team. A fully staffed team must support customer service reps to deliver the best service possible.
- Increase focus with optimized scheduling. Multitasking inhibits focus and productivity. Avoid giving your agents multiple tasks at once so they can focus on one customer at a time. For some inspiration, look to Databox. By assigning a few agents to solely handle chat, the company decreased its chat response time from three hours to 17 minutes in one week.
- Track FRT and regularly set new goals. Improving your FRT starts with tracking it. Set a goal of improving your FRT by a certain percentage each month. Then, adjust that goal depending on team performance.
- Take it one step at a time. If you don’t have the capacity to improve your FRT on every communication platform, choose one to start with. Try setting improvement goals for Facebook first, then adding other platform goals as you go.
In addition to FRT, customers care about average handling time and resolution rate. If you follow the above tips, you should see all of these metrics improve significantly.
2. Accommodate many contact formats
Every customer has their preferred communication channels. These include but are not limited to chatbots, team messaging, business phone calls, and video conferencing. In fact, customers use an average of nine channels to complete tasks like seeking advice and making purchases.
Most companies miss the opportunity to connect with customers via live chat or a chatbot. In fact, companies are more likely to text than chat by a 3:1 ratio.
You’ll attract customers from every demographic by accommodating a wide range of channels. Consider making channel growth a key customer service goal this year.
3. Implement an omnichannel strategy
While the term omnichannel can come across as complex, its meaning is quite simple. An omnichannel customer service strategy keeps the customer at the center of everything. It’s about providing a smooth, seamless, and consistent customer experience across every channel.
Gladly sheds light on the importance of this strategy. Its 2020 Customer Expectations report shows that 86% of customers expect communications with agents to “seamlessly move between channels.”
An omnichannel strategy requires team synergy. Every department must communicate clearly and efficiently with one another. It’s one of the most important team goals an organization can set.
Take Goldberg Hedge Funds, for example. Goldberg used Nextiva to integrate its CRM and VoIP phone system.
The integration unified all relevant customer notes, allowing team members to seamlessly join conversations and execute deals. The impact: a 227% increase in efficiency and revenue 227% within Goldberg’s first six months using Nextiva.
4. Survey customers consistently
When crafting a great customer service strategy, feedback is gold.
Your customers use your products firsthand, making them your biggest critics. You can expect honest feedback, as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by suggesting how to make your product better.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
That said, customers won’t always describe their experience unprompted. It’s your responsibility to pick their brains by regularly surveying them.
To get started, you’ll need a customer feedback collection tool like Nextiva, Typeform, or Loop. Then, decide which customer survey questions would provide you with the most insight into customer satisfaction.
For example, gauging net promoter score (NPS) through questions like “Would you recommend this product/service to a friend?” accurately measures customer satisfaction score.
Ultimately, always be thinking about the customer’s experience when taking the survey.
Is the survey being sent to them at the right time? Is there a balance between closed- and open-ended questions? Can it be completed relatively quickly?
A survey goal should specify how often you will survey customers. It should also specify how much you want customer experience metrics to improve over time.
5. Reduce cost per contact (CPC)
Cost per contact (CPC) is one of the most effective ways to gauge your call center’s health. It reflects the impact that operational changes have on your bottom line.
To calculate cost per contact (CPC), add every cost of operating a contact center, from salaries to software, and divide that total by the number of contacts you handle.
By performing this calculation on each channel (i.e., phone, chat, etc.) and comparing them, you can identify which are the most cost-effective.
There are several ways to reduce CPC. For example, you can optimize your interactive voice response (IVR) to quickly pair callers with agents.
Adams Publishing Group (APG) used Nextiva as a workforce optimization tool to reduce its CPC. With Nextiva, APG began transferring calls with ease and saving customers time. This, in turn, saved employees time and lowered APG’s CPC.
6. Improve customer onboarding processes
Your customer’s onboarding process is one of the first impressions they get of your organization, so it’s important to do it right. It’s your chance to go above and beyond, demonstrating that you’ll take great care of them.
During the onboarding process, keep the following best practices in mind:
- Communicate clearly and respond faster than average.
- Document customer expectations early on and return to them frequently (e.g., what success metrics do they use?).
- Personalize. Show them that you understand the ins and outs of their company with your action plan.
- Adopt a “whatever it takes” mindset. Deliver additional value not specified in the contract.
- Be transparent about mistakes. Provide concrete action plans to improve when they happen.
Customer onboarding can be a long and tedious process unless you use the right tools. Take the IT Consulting Firm AVIT, for example. AVIT decreased its new client onboarding time by two-thirds with the help of Nextiva’s interface and supportive team.
When you run 10 to 12 projects a month rolling out restaurants, communication is critical. You’re dealing with multiple general contractors, multiple concepts and brands, and support, taking them from install and onboarding to our support team.
If you plan to improve your client onboarding strategy this year, lean on the tools that make it possible.
7. Develop a customer appreciation strategy
A key component of ensuring customer loyalty is making your customers feel appreciated. In fact, Statista found that 44% of consumers are willing to switch to brands with a greater focus on personalization.
Countless customer service examples embody an impactful customer appreciation strategy. One that stands out is Picky Bars’ Picky Club.
This superfood company’s subscription service goes beyond sending customers their advertised products. They offer free perks like T-shirts to excite customers and make them feel cared for.
To set a goal surrounding customer appreciation, consult company leadership to ideate and prioritize customer appreciation strategies. These may include freebies, personalized correspondence, or donations to causes customers care about.
8. Make all customer support mobile-friendly
Mobile customer service is no longer the future — it’s the present. In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices generated nearly 55% of global website traffic, according to Statista.
Improving mobile compatibility and mobile-friendliness should be a top priority for your organization.
Ensure that all of your features (e.g., chatbots, articles, FAQs, etc.) are easily accessible and usable on mobile devices. A user experience (UX) team member or consultant can help with this.
To go a step further, provide easy access to support for mobile users by integrating SMS or text message support into your channel strategy. App push notifications are another great way to communicate with customers.
9. Automate to fill in human gaps
If you’re skeptical of the role of automation in customer service, turn to the 79% of companies that are confident in its future.
Chatbots, AI-powered solutions, and self-service portals can streamline operations, free up valuable agent time, and enhance the customer experience.
Not only does automation reduce customer service costs, but it also allows for 24/7 support. This offering would be far more costly if an organization were to rely fully on its human employees.
Of course, automation can only go so far. It’s less intuitive than an agent and lacks a certain human touch. That’s why it’s important to implement automation strategically rather than relying on it for your customer service strategy.
Wondering how automation can help? Start with the following ideas:
- Implement intelligent chatbots for your website.
- Set up automatic notifications for updates on customer questions.
- Enable automatic data collection.
10. Utilize social media creatively
Social media presents an opportunity for brands to connect with their customers. Since 48% of customers use social media for information before making purchases, supporting users on these platforms can be an excellent strategy.
For example, companies like Starbucks track when they’re mentioned on Twitter and regularly engage with their users. Whether it’s answering a question about operations or expressing gratitude for their customers, they come across as approachable and helpful.
11. Innovate with the industry
Expect your competitors to be on top of the latest customer service technologies and trends. Setting a goal around consistently researching and implementing these technologies will help you stay relevant.
Employee-centric technology like workforce management tools is transforming contact centers’ operations.
Remaining up to date with customer-facing technology and trends in customer service is also essential.
In 2021, Domino’s launched a pilot program in Houston, Texas, using autonomous delivery vehicles called “DomiNO’s DXP.” These AI-powered bots navigate sidewalks and roads to deliver pizzas directly to customers’ doorsteps. This innovative approach to delivery offered several benefits:
- Faster delivery times: The bots could navigate traffic and reach customers quicker than traditional delivery drivers, especially during peak hours.
- Reduced contact: With contactless delivery, the bots minimized the risk of COVID-19 transmission and appealed to hygiene-conscious customers.
- Increased efficiency: The bots allowed Domino’s to handle more orders without needing additional human drivers, potentially reducing operational costs.
Staying ahead of the curve in customer service technology can go beyond mere efficiency and bolster customer experiences, bringing lasting benefits to both businesses and consumers.
12. Help agents grow
Investing in your customer service team’s growth and happiness will benefit your bottom line. You’ll attract the best talent possible when you’re perceived as a workplace that invests in its workers. Satisfied employees also treat your customers better, in turn improving customer retention.
So how do you go about investing in your employees’ growth?
For starters, managers should schedule regular one-on-one meetings with their employees and provide personalized feedback. Employees should be given greater autonomy and responsibility as they grow and improve.
Improving customer service skills through setting specific goals can expand your customer base and improve customer interactions.
“Real-time analytics blended with coaching and personalized learning pathways is how we are going to bring on the next generation of live assistance as the bar for experience management continues to rise.”
13. Empower customers through self-service tools
Customers want quick answers without calling a customer support team. They want intuitive, customer-facing tools.
Take Apple Support, for example.
Apple offers an integrated search tool and personalized flow options for customers to click on based on their questions. This simple, user-friendly knowledge base keeps customers in control as they resolve their concerns.
Of course, Apple didn’t just guess what its users needed.
To create intuitive self-service tools, you first need to understand your customers’ needs. Conduct comprehensive customer research and data analysis. This way, you can anticipate customer issues before they even arise.
“The goal isn’t just to solve customer problems — it’s to prevent them from happening in the future. Instead of addressing the issue over and over with each customer that calls, companies should update and improve their products so that customers don’t have to call in the first place.”
Overcoming Customer Service Goal Hang-Ups
Needless to say, setting excellent customer service goals requires serious investment.
While it’s easy to imagine a better future, the road to achieving your goals can be rocky and littered with obstacles like unaligned stakeholders, disjointed metrics, and limited resources.
Coming up with an idea for a goal is one thing, but deciding how to execute it is another.
As you approach bumps in the road during this process, keep the following tips in mind:
- Lean on data. Not only will customer data help you brainstorm what goals to set, but it also helps with goal prioritization. Use surveys to gauge the severity of each customer problem. Focus on achievable goals with clear metrics and don’t overload yourselves with too many variables. Remember to track progress regularly and iterate as needed.
- Learn from competitors. You don’t have to limit yourself to watching competitors within your industry. You can learn about customer service strategy from any organization that does it well.
- Delegate. Goal ideation and execution shouldn’t all fall on your shoulders as a call center manager. Get buy-in from sales, marketing, and product development in goal setting. Show how improved customer service benefits everyone.
Realizing your customer service goals is nearly impossible without great service tools. Not only are Nextiva’s service tools best in class, but our business intelligence software makes data analysis easy.
Goals should never be made on a whim, and our software ensures that they won’t.