Do You Need Customer Service Goals? - dummies

Do You Need Customer Service Goals?

By Marina Martin

Often companies talk about their number one goal of satisfying customers, but they don’t establish customer service goals. Without goals for customer service, there can be problems between organizational departments.

Take sales and manufacturing, for example, where sales is focused on making every customer happy, whereas manufacturing is focused on getting what the customer ordered delivered on time.

These can conflict, depending on what is important to the customer, be it delivery or response, and can result in conflicting actions being taken on behalf of the customer, which can create barriers and ultimately result in both late delivery and a dissatisfied customer.

To get a better understanding of why goal setting in customer service is so important, it is first critical to review the fundamentals of goal setting:

  • Goals provide direction. To get something done, you have to set a definite vision — a target to aim for and to guide the efforts of you and your organization. You can then translate this vision into goals that take you where you want to go.

    Without goals, you’re doomed to waste countless hours going nowhere. With goals, you can focus your efforts and your team’s efforts on only the activities that move you toward where you’re going — in this case, opening a new sales office.

  • Goals tell you how far you’ve traveled. Goals provide milestones to measure how effectively you’re working toward accomplishing your vision. If you determine that you must accomplish several specific milestones to reach your final destination and you complete a few of them, you know exactly how many remain. You know right where you stand and how far you have yet to go.

  • Goals help make your overall vision attainable. You can’t reach your vision in one big step — you need many small steps to get there. If your vision is to open a new sales office in Prague, you can’t expect to proclaim your vision on Friday and walk into a fully staffed and functioning office on Monday.

    You must accomplish many goals — from shopping for office space, to hiring and relocating staff, to printing stationery and business cards — before you can attain your vision. Goals enable you to achieve your overall vision by dividing your efforts into smaller pieces that, when accomplished individually, add up to big results.

  • Goals clarify everyone’s role. When you discuss your vision with your employees, they may have some idea of where you want to go but no idea of how to go about getting there.

    As your well-intentioned employees head off to help you achieve your vision, some employees may duplicate the efforts of others, some employees may focus on the wrong strategies and ignore more important tasks, and some employees may simply do something else altogether (and hope that you don’t notice the difference).

    Setting goals with your team clarifies what the tasks are, who handles which tasks, and what is expected from each employee and, ultimately, from the entire team.

  • Goals give people something to strive for. People are typically more motivated when challenged to attain a goal that’s beyond their normal level of performance — this is known as a stretch goal.

    Not only do goals give people a sense of purpose, but they also relieve the boredom that can come from performing a routine job day after day. Be sure to discuss the goal with them and seek feedback where appropriate to gain their commitment and buy-in.