The right customer service goals can help your brand 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 article, we’ll be looking at 8 SMART customer service goals championed by real companies. We'll cover:
- SMART framework for customer service goals
- 8 examples of critical customer service goals
- The next step to achieving your customer service goals
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
Key customer service goals
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 business.
1. Reduce customer wait times
KPI: First Response Time (FRT) and Average Response Time (ART)
There’s many customer service goals and performance 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 slow response time is one of the biggest indicators of poor customer service overall.
So, how do you tackle this customer service goal and improve you response times?
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 response speed.
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.’
Another smart way to reduce your customer wait times is to actually display your average wait time to your customer.
It's the same with your open and close times too.
Doing so will allow you to manage customer expectations and give them the chance to choose a different channel if their query isn't urgent - lowering wait times once more.
Thankfully, with Talkative, you can do this automatically from your no-code chat widget designer.
2. Improve turnaround times
KPI: Average Handle Time (AHT)
Much like long response times, 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 digital 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.
8. Humanize the customer experience
This customer service goal might not come with an easily defined metric, but taking a holistic approach to humanizing 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 humanize the customer experience is to start prioritising personalization 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 personalized 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 advisors, 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 humanizing your website, but also in terms of achieving customer service efficiency too.
Undoubtedly, working to improve customer service is an important endeavor for any business.
In an increasingly saturated market, offering outstanding service is the only sure-fire way to stand out from your competitors.
A positive customer experience is also proven to increase customer retention, brand loyalty, and conversions.
With the SMART customer service goals covered in this article, you can take your brand’s customer experience to the next level.
But in order to achieve these goals, you also need the right customer service technology to facilitate them.
And that's where Talkative comes in.
With our innovative digital engagement platform, you can provide superior service and personalized experiences through all of your customers' favorite channels.
Want to learn more? Book a demo with Talkative today and discover how we can help you exceed all your digital customer service goals.