8 SMART Customer Service Goals [With Real Business Examples]

Chris Thomas
August 2, 2021
Read time:
9
Minutes
Customer Service
Chris Thomas

The right customer service goals can help your company boost customer satisfaction, increase loyalty, and create new conversions. 


But where do you get started? Which metrics should you be tracking, and what strategies should you put in place? 


In this blog, we’ll be looking at 8 SMART customer service goals championed by real companies. Which goals will you set for customer service success? 

What is a SMART goal in customer service?

One of the worst mistakes companies make when setting customer service goals is creating vague or unrealistic objectives. 


The SMART framework helps you avoid this. 


By setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound, you can make sure you’re on the road to customer service perfection. 

To show you how you can put this framework into action, we’ve included examples in our customer service goals list below. 

Customer service goals examples

Whether you’re an established customer service manager or just starting to focus on your customer service efforts, take a look at the following goals and question which will work best for your organisation. 

1. Reduce customer wait times


KPI: First Response Time (FRT) 


There’s many customer service goals and metrics to track, but one hugely important goal for your customers is reducing how long they wait for a response. 


The longer you keep customers waiting, the more frustrated they are going to get. 


In fact, a poor FRT is one of the worst signs of poor customer service overall. 


So, how do you tackle this customer service goal and improve your FRT? 


Solution:  One of the best ways to reduce customer waiting time is to get serious about your contact channels. 


By adopting an omnichannel customer experience, you’ll be able to respond to your customers quickly and efficiently - however they get in touch. 


You should also focus on how you’re measuring the improvements made to your FRT. 


Mark Daoust at Quiet Light suggests using flow charts to track the company’s average response time, and they’ve seen some very impressive results.


From using these tracking methods, the company has gone from an average of 1.5 business days down to 0.8 FRT. ‘Our customers are consistently impressed with the speed at which we get back to them.’ 

SMART example: By September 1st, we will decrease our average FRT by implementing live chat and tracking interactions.

2. Improve turnaround times


KPI: Average Handle Time (AHT)


Much like long FRTs, slow turnaround times are another huge digital customer service mistake

Customers hate having to endure unnecessarily long interactions, especially when they’re kept on hold for a quick query. 


It’s why improving your AHT is another crucial customer service goal. 


The problem with this goal is that customers can be incredibly demanding: they want their answers fast. 


So, how do you effectively tackle this challenge and improve your AHT? 


Solution: Like improving your FRT, one of the best ways of improving your AHT is to take a look at the customer communication channels you use. 


From there, you can start to examine how your staff use these channels, and how you can incentivise them into delivering a stronger performance.  


Austin Fain from Perfect Steel Solutions took this double-headed approach and saw some great results: 


‘Most of the companies in our industry provide customer support primarily through email or phone calls - which means long waiting periods. We shook things up by adding a live chat feature onto our website.’ 


Next, the company introduced a bonus for their contact centre agents, offering incentives for the staff with the lowest AHT. 


Thanks to this strategy, the company has seen a 55% improvement in their turnaround times, and a much happier customer base overall.  


SMART example: We will decrease our average AHT over the next year by adopting new contact channels and motivating our staff with a bonus scheme.

3. Improve employee skill and satisfaction


KPI: AHT, Employee Feedback, & Staff Turnover 


This customer service goal and it’s solution is closely linked to improving turnaround times. 


While improving your AHT can be achieved by adopting new contact channels, improving your employee’s troubleshooting skills and overall job satisfaction will also make a big difference too. 


Despite what you might be thinking, the answer doesn’t just lie in staff training


Solution: Achieving this customer service goal requires a multifaceted approach once again.


While staff training is incredibly important for a reliable and capable customer service team, employee satisfaction and wellbeing are also paramount. 


Thomas Fultz recognised this in his role as CEO at Coffeeble. He notes that the company’s entire customer experience hinges on staff wellbeing: 


‘The best tools I found to support proper customer service & retention were the ones that supported the lives of our staffers.’ 


To make sure staff were working to their best ability, the company hired a wellbeing manager and treated their staff to meditation app subscriptions and more regular breaks. 


In turn, their revitalised staff were better equipped to tackle their workloads with skill and focus, helping the company to further their online success. 


It’s proof that when it comes to acing your customer service goals, supporting your staff is just as important as supporting your customers. 


SMART example: In the next three months, we will hire and onboard an employee wellbeing specialist, as well as retrain all our staff.

4. Improve customer satisfaction 


KPI: Customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Average Review Ratings 


Achieving this customer service goal offers a whole host of benefits to your company, from improving customer retention and loyalty to creating customer advocates. 


The hard part about improving your CSAT score is that customer satisfaction can be fickle. 


In fact, every step of the customer experience can affect how the customer feels overall. 


So, how are you supposed to know which areas of customer experience are succeeding and which are failing? 


Solution:  The fastest way to achieve this customer service goal is by using website engagement tools to survey and monitor your customers. 


For instance, Todd Ramlin of Cable Compare notes that they’ve had great success from using CSAT surveys and social listening tools.


CSAT surveys allow direct feedback from their customers while they are on their site. 


Social listening tools allow the company to monitor social mentions and direct feedback. Todd explains: 


‘This tactic also gives us an opportunity to interact with these customers again, either to thank them for positive comments or offer to resolve any negative issues they have with our service.’ 


To further improve on this strategy, you could also take things one step further by reviewing public rating sites too. 


This is just what Maddy Brown from Spacer did to improve their customer service efforts.  


By checking in on these sites, you’ll be able to develop an average review rating from truly unbiased feedback.

 

SMART example: Over the next three months, we will increase our CSAT scores by implementing short surveys on our site, and monitoring social media mentions and review site ratings.

5. Increase customer advocacy 


KPI: Net Promoter Score (NPS) & positive survey feedback


What separates improving customer satisfaction from this customer service goal is the metrics and indicators you use to measure success. 


CSAT scores can measure your customers’ satisfaction during their time on your site.


On the other hand, NPS scores  allow you to understand which of your customers are most likely to recommend your business to others in the future. 


The better your NPS score, the more proof you have that you’re offering the best customer service possible. 


But how do you really make sure you’re improving your NPS and turning your customers into advocates?


Solution:  To achieve this customer service goal, there’s two main actions you’ll want to take. 


Firstly, implement NPS surveys throughout your site. 


Secondly, it’s a great idea to start ongoing conversations with your current customer base. Ask them what is working for them and what could be improved.


Andrea Barnhill of Socratik Agency took this approach when seeking to improve their customer service. 


She notes that the company conducts an annual feedback survey with their clients to understand what they appreciate about their partnership, and where they can improve. 


Barnhill says  that some of this feedback has proved so important, it’s become a core part of the company’s mission moving forward. 


In turn, their customer service has always remained on point, earning more repeat business and more customer advocates in the long run. 


SMART example: By December 1st, we will have implemented NPS surveys on our site and reached out to our customers for feedback. By January 31st, we will have reviewed their comments and revisited our core values and mission.

6. Increasing customer loyalty


KPI: Customer Retention Rate (CRR) & Customer Churn 


One of the best ways to know if your customer service efforts need improving is by measuring how many customers are leaving you for your competitors. 


If you’re seeing a low CRR and a high amount of churn, chances are that you need to focus on this customer service goal the most. 


But how do you make sure your customers want to keep coming back for more? 


Solution: One of the best ways to increase your customer’s loyalty is to ensure that your company follows a customer-centric philosophy. 


This is what Roy Morejon from Enventys Partners suggests for improving low CRR and decreasing churn. He notes that a double-headed approach works best:


Firstly, companies should always strive to offer as much value to their customers as possible. 


Secondly, companies need to show appreciation for their customers whenever possible. 


For instance, if a customer has a complaint, Morejon suggests ‘actively listening and offering value back to the customer with your resolution (a free deal/service, a thorough explanation of the problem, and how you can solve it, etc.).’ 


Next, when it comes to showing appreciation to your customers, strive to create real and lasting relationships with them:

‘Offer special deals for birthdays, loyalty points, free surprise items, etc. These are all great ways to remind the customer that you are always appreciative of their support.’ 


However you go about providing value and showing your appreciation, creating a customer-first approach means you’ll achieve higher levels of customer loyalty with ease. 


SMART example: For the next month, we’ll review each live chat transcript to see how we can improve our offer of value and show appreciation.

7. Promote self-service and increase efficiency 


KPI:  Interaction Queues & Abandonment Rates 


Sometimes, customers just want to help themselves. They know the problem they are looking to solve is a simple one. 


This is where self-service tools like chatbots, knowledge bases, and FAQ pages come in. 


The only problem with this approach is knowing which tools are going to be the most effective for your customers. 


So, how do you tackle this customer service goal and increase your team’s efficiency? 


Solution: The best approach to promoting more self-service amongst your customers is to take a look at your website’s user journey. 


By doing so, you can identify the pain points your customers will face along the way. 


For instance, say you offer live chat, but your live chat queues are clogged by customers with simple queries. 


You could deploy a chatbot to deflect queries that don’t require a human response to solve this problem


Once you’ve done so, check your chatbot analytics to review just how much more efficient your customer service efforts have become. 


Another tip is to start anticipating customer needs by putting more information at your customer’s disposal. 


For example, Francesca Nicasio of Payment Depot took this approach when considering how best to curate the company’s marketing content. 


After coming to the realisation that the site’s content should be as helpful to customers as a customer service representative, Nicasio made sure to double down on their site’s offering. 


She notes that, ‘ultimately, content should serve to help meet the goals of your business and give people the best customer experience possible.’


So make sure your content offers as much useful information as possible, right up front. 


Couple this approach with smart contact channels, and completing this customer service goal will be a breeze. 


SMART example: Within the next six months, we’ll deploy a chatbot to provide deflection for our live chat, as well review the usability and usefulness of our blog.

8. Humanise the customer experience 

This customer service goal might not come with an easily defined metric, but taking a holistic approach to humanising your customer experience can yield some fantastic customer service results. 


Websites are no longer a static brochure for your products or services. They are now an integral part of the customer journey. 


As such, not only do you need to offer a seamless customer experience, you also need to bring a human element to your online customer service efforts. 


But how do you make sure your customers receive the same experience online as they would in store? 


Solution: One of the best ways to humanise the customer experience is to start prioritising personalisation and convenience for your customers. 


For instance, Laura Blackwell from Vape Town has recently seen a boost in sales after providing local customers with a click-and-collect service - a tactic that bridged the gap between the company’s in-store and online experience. 


That said, there are many other tactics you can use to offer your customers sterling service - wherever they’re based. 


One of your best options is video chat


The use of video chat for customer service has exploded by 400% over the last few years, and there are some good reasons why. 


Not only does it provide your customers with a convenient and personalised way to engage with your company, it’s also proven to be more effective than live chat as a communication tool. 


For instance, while video chat immediately helps to create a personal connection between customers and contact agents, it also allows you to give customers instant answers. 


In fact, video sessions tend to last around 6 minutes - which is actually shorter than the 10 minute average length of live chat! 


It means that video chat is not only the smart choice in terms of humanising your website, but also in terms of achieving customer service efficiency too. 

SMART example: If you want to achieve this customer service goal and provide a much needed human element to your company’s website through video book a demo with Talkative today.

Download the ‘Inner Circle Guide to Video & Next-Generation Customer Contact’

Discover use cases, implementation tips, and ROI for video chat as a contact channel

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