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If you are running a business, small or large, you are dependent upon customers. Without these important individuals, you would have to close shop and find another source of income. That is why it is so important to keep these customers happy.
You can go with the attitude that you will always be able to get more clients, but the fact is that if you keep sending away dissatisfied customers, word will get around quickly and new people won't bother giving you their business. Consider the reach of social media and how much weight people place on personal reviews.
When you are setting goals for your business, it is essential that you consider adding goals that will help you maintain customer satisfaction. In order to create an atmosphere that leads to customer satisfaction, you must see that your staff understands the most important skills involved. These include patience, respect, personalization, and more. It is much more than simply a good product or service and a good price.
When setting any kind of goal, regardless of which of the seven categories the goal falls within, you need to make sure you include some goals for maintaining customer service satisfaction. While there are many alternatives to SMART goals, it has been widely proven that SMART goals work and that is what most people turn to first.
Let's take a look at what a SMART goal is and then we will get into eleven examples of SMART customer service goals you may want to make for the coming year.
What Is A SMART Goal?
When it comes to making and achieving goals, it is important that certain elements are included. These elements make it much more likely that you will see your goals through to completion. SMART goals help you do that.
The letters of the word SMART help you remember what elements go into a good goal. They stand for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Let's take a look at what each of these elements means and why they are important.
Specific – It is important that you make your goal as specific as possible so that you can know exactly how you want to go about reaching the goal. It isn't enough to say “I want to lose weight. After all, that could mean an ounce or 100 pounds. You won't know when you will achieve your goal. If you state, “I want to lose ten pounds in a month”, you specify exactly what your intentions are and will know if you succeed.
Measurable – Consider the people who state they want to “succeed” or “be happy”. How do they know when they have reached that goal? Most often, they continue searching because they aren't sure. If, however, they take the time to discover what they consider success to be, they can set goals that help them reach that point. For example, having an art showing in a gallery may be what you consider success. You can then set a goal that incorporates the steps to get to that point and you will know when you have achieved your goal.
Achievable – A good goal has to be realistic in order to be achievable. If you say: I want to live on Mars.” This is, at this time, not achievable and you will fail at your goal. A good goal is one that you are able to achieve. In some cases, it may not be quite as quickly as you plan and you may need to adjust your path, but you know you are working toward something within your grasp.
Relevant – A goal that is relevant to what you ultimately want to achieve is important because it gives you two things. First, it gives you the energy and determination you need to keep pushing forward toward a bigger goal. Secondly, it helps give you a place to do a check-in and see if you need to readjust your path or if you can continue on the way you are going.
Time-Bound – A goal without an idea of when it will be achieved lends itself to failure. We are prone to procrastination. Without knowing when you want to achieve your goal, you leave yourself open to pushing it further and further away, without ever reaching your destination.
Why SMART Goals Are Important for Customer Service
If you have a business, there is an almost certain chance you have customers. You may call them clients, customers, or some other name… but these important people are the ones that allow you to stay in business, and hopefully make a living at it. You need to be able to keep these people happy, keep them coming back and spreading the word that you are someone others should do business with.
Most customers have legitimate questions or concerns, although there will always be a handful who will never be satisfied with anything you try to do. Keeping the majority of your customers satisfied is an area where you need to stay vigilant.
You need to understand what they want and need. This can be difficult because very few people think to ask their customers.
By setting SMART goals for customer service, you are able to focus on this essential part of your business. You are able to make sure that basic needs are met… such as feeling appreciated, receiving respectful interactions, and delivering quality products and service.
Studies have actually shown that, regardless of the quality of what you are offering, customers are more interested in how they are treated, especially when they have an issue or a question. By taking the time to survey your customers to find out what they want and then setting SMART goals to meet those needs, you are giving yourself the best chance of making the people who keep your business going satisfied and coming back.
Now that you know what a SMART goal is, let's take a look at some examples of SMART goals for customer service specifically.
11 SMART Goals for Customer Service
1. Reduce Customer Wait Times
“I will reduce customer wait time on the phone from 3 minutes to 2 minutes by hiring two more people to man the phones during peak call hours. These additional employees will start work within two weeks and I will measure the decrease in wait time on a weekly basis for two months when the decrease should be achieved.”
S: This is specific in what you are going to strive for and how you plan on making it happen.
M: By tracking all contacts, you will be able to determine if your goal has been achieved.
A: Hiring two employees is definitely achievable and having more help will definitely make it easier to reduce wait time.
R: Customers who don't have to wait as long will definitely be happier.
T: You made this time-bound by not only mentioning when you will hire the employees but also when they will be utilized.
2. Increase Customer Loyalty
“Loyal customers are the ones we can count on. In order to reward these customers, I will initiate a rewards program that gives them one point for every dollar they spend. Upon achieving 100 points, they will be rewarded with a $10 gift card. The rewards cards will be printed and ready to hand out by the beginning of the coming month. At the end of six months, I will see how many gift cards have been given out. Those customers who have turned in two cards will be given an additional $10 card in the mail.”
S: This is very specific. You mention how you will keep track of the customer's purchases and what you will provide. You also have in place a review process.
M: By keeping track of how many gift cards are given out as a result of filled loyalty cards, you will know how well the program is working.
A: This is completely achievable. You only need to make sure all employees give out and mark the required loyalty cards.
R: When spending money leads to rewards, customers are more willing to return.
T: Having the cards ready at the beginning of the coming month, as well as reviewing in six months, makes this a time-bound goal.
3. Humanize the Customer Experience
“Within the coming six months, I will have an expert on how to speak a customer's language by reading clues in certain words and responding to body language by giving a training session. This will help them better communicate with customers in a way that makes the customer feel heard. I can measure how well this training works by keeping track of any increased sales and de-escalation of complaints.”
S: This is specific in that you state what you will do and how you will achieve it.
M: This is measurable by keeping track of how quickly customers' complaints are resolved and how much sales increase.
A: Having the expert give the training seminar is achievable. You only need the cooperation and comprehension of the employees involved.
R: By better understanding each customer, it will be easier to make them respond in a positive manner. This is directly related to customer service satisfaction.
T: Stating that the training will take place within six months is time-bound. You could make this more so by adding in when you will evaluate the changes in customer response.
4. Improve Employee Happiness
“Within three months, I will install both an exercise bike and a massage chair in the employee break room that will be available to employees during breaks and after work. After three months, I will survey all employees to find out if they are feeling less stressed and more appreciated on the job than they currently are.”
S: You make this specific by stating exactly what you plan on doing.
M: The success rate will be easily measurable by collecting employee surveys.
A: This goal is completely attainable in that it only requires buying the mentioned items and placing them in the break room.
R: By giving employees a chance to blow off excess energy or relax and reduce stress, you increase their happiness. Happy employees are better employees.
T: By stating you will install the equipment within three months and then survey the employees after three months, you make the goal time-bound.
5. Improve Troubleshooting Skills
“In order to streamline troubleshooting, I will hire a software designer to create a troubleshooting program and train our customer service employees on how to use it. This will be accomplished within two months and will enable everyone to stay on the same page as well as get answers quicker that can resolve issues that arise with customers.”
S: You make this specific by stating who you will hire and why.
M: By keeping track of how long issues take to be resolved, you can measure the success of this action.
A: This is easily attainable.
R: Making troubleshooting quicker will help create quicker problem resolution and happier customers.
T: Saying this will be done within two months makes this time-bound.
6. Become a Customer Advocate
“I will adopt a policy within a month that will require me to do all I can to resolve all complaints in the customer's favor as long as they are within reason. This will require me to review all our current customer service complaint policies and make changes when necessary to better benefit the customer.”
S: Stating that you will review the current policies and make the changes makes this specific.
M: This will be measurable if you can initiate a survey policy to measure increased customer satisfaction.
A: Reviewing and changing policies is completely achievable.
R: By looking for ways to benefit the customer, you make this related to customer service satisfaction.
T: You make this time-bound by stating it will happen within the month.
7. Set up a Customer Survey Policy
“In order to understand how our customers feel, I will design and implement a survey policy within two months. This will include implementing phone surveys at the end of customer service calls as well as asking in-person customers to fill out a brief survey at the end of interactions.”
S: Designing a survey and mentioning when the survey will be utilized makes this specific.
M: By keeping track of survey answers, you make this measurable.
A: This is completely achievable as designing a survey is fairly easy, as is asking customers to complete it.
R: When customers feel they have a say, they are often more satisfied.
T: Getting this in place within two months makes this time-bound.
8. Make Contact Easier
“In order to make it easier for customers to connect with customer service, I will have to make sure our website has a physical address to contact us as well as a phone number that allows text messages and an email address. In addition, within two weeks, I will have in place a chabot that is designed to pop up immediately when a customer goes to our contact page.”
S: With everything you mention putting in place, you make this specific.
M: This goal is measurable because you can easily see when things are in place on the website.
A: This is definitely achievable. It only requires some minor programming changes.
R: Offering so many options makes this relatable to making contact easier.
T: You make this time-bound by giving yourself a two-week limit.
9. Increase Response Time on Social Media
“By the end of this month, I will see that there are two current employees who are to check our social media accounts daily. Any direct messages will be answered within an hour and all comments will be responded to on a daily basis, regardless of whether the comments are positive or negative.”
S: You are very specific in how many employees will be given the responsibility and what the responsibility will be.
M: You will be able to keep track of how well this is achieved as messages and comments are often time-stamped.
A: This is achievable as long as your designated employees follow through.
R: Customers will feel greater acknowledgment by getting prompt responses.
T: Having this start by the end of the month makes is time-bound.
10. Show Customer Appreciation
“In order to show customers they are appreciated, I will hold a customer appreciation week in July. This week will include daily freebies and discounts for those who spend over a certain amount. Online customers will also get free shipping during that week. All customers will be encouraged to leave feedback and sign up for our mailing list.”
S: This is specific in that you mention when you will have the event and what it will include.
M: By keeping a checklist of things you need to have in place, you can measure progress and the event itself will determine the successful reaching of your goal.
A: With the right amount of planning and following through on the steps, this is achievable.
R: The discounts and gifts make this related to increasing customer satisfaction.
T: By stating this event will take place in July you make it time-bound.
11. Increase Customer Self-Help Ability
“To avoid customers having to wait for a phone representative when they have a common question or need to initiate a return, I will have our website designed to include an extended FAQ page within two weeks and a return form within three weeks.”
S: Extending the FAQ page and providing a way to start returns on their own makes this specific.
M: By keeping track of how many visits are recorded to the FAQ page and how many people fill out the return form, you can measure how successful this goal is.
A: With some simple coding, you can easily achieve this goal.
R: This is directly related to giving customers a chance to have more control of the process.
T: By stating the two-week deadline and the three-week one, you make this time-bound.
Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Customer Service
Once you get into the habit of setting SMART goals, you will see how effective this method is. You can definitely use a pen and paper, with or without the help of SMART goal templates.
Or if you prefer, there are numerous goal-tracking apps you can rely on for keeping tabs on your progress in meeting your goals. Having all of them in one handy app makes it easier to check in regularly.
However you go about setting your SMART goals for customer service, it is important to remember that a satisfied customer may not be one that has a problem. It is the one who feels heard when they do have a problem and feels their problem was responded to in a timely and satisfying manner.
And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 13 SMART Goals Examples for Your Small Business Development
- 13 SMART Goals Examples for Real Estate Agents
- 15 SMART Goals Examples for Increasing Your Sales
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.