Setting and executing customer experience (CX) goals is a huge part of any business strategy. However, many companies set themselves vaguely defined objectives and then struggle to track them. Whilst having a goal to ‘increase customer satisfaction’ is admirable, it’s impractical and hard to fulfill. That difficulty increases when it’s imposed from the top down. Let’s take a look at how to work with your team – large or small – to set-up and execute CX goals that actually work.
Learn from history
No matter what you provide – whether it’s dance shoes, a small business phone service, or custom holidays, the first step is always the same. Rather than immediately focusing on your future, it’s time to look back into your history. Take a look through any analytics you have available. Some useful ones to check to include:
- Customer support ticket and incoming call volume
- Average response time
- Percentage of positive/neutral/negative reviews
- Most common reasons for tickets
- Average sale amount
- Percentage of new vs returning customers
You can also delve into any customer feedback you’ve been given – whether that’s reviews or survey results. Searching through these for certain keywords can be a helpful way to ascertain if there are particular things you’re doing well or failing at. For example, where people have said ‘customer service’, have they said it positively or negatively? Do they expect live chat or are they happy with a 24-hour email turnaround?
It’s also worth relying on your customer service team’s insights, too. Do they notice any particular trends in their day-to-day work? What do they feel confident about, and what do they feel unprepared for? Not only will asking them give you a perspective you may otherwise have lacked, but it’ll involve them in the process, and encourage them to engage with it.
Define your goals
With this data in hand, it’s time to choose which areas need work. Different businesses will have different needs. An e-commerce site for a B2B company will likely have different challenges to a B2C alternative.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on how these metrics relate to each other. If you have long response times and high incoming call volume, then you can already start to see solutions – like hiring more staff. Whereas, if you have long response times and a low incoming call volume, there’s something different going on. You’ll need to investigate further to find answers. Perhaps you could change to a VoIP phone provider or assess why calls are taking so long.
It’s at this part of the process that vague goals such as ‘improve satisfaction’ and ‘get better reviews’ start to crystallize into more concrete concepts. Instead of ‘get better reviews’, you start to attach numbers. So, the goal becomes ‘go from a 60% positive review rating to an 80% positive review rating’.
You’ll also want to set a time frame, and you can use the data to judge this too. How many positive reviews would it take to reach your goal, and how many reviews do you get per month on average? If you need 20 positive reviews and you get five a month on average, setting that improvement for ‘after four months’ seems reasonable, though you could set it for five months to give you time to implement changes.
Generally, a good rule of thumb to follow is the ‘SMART’ method. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Talk to your team
While defining your goals, it’s worth talking to your team. If you’re a big company, it might be worth putting together a CX-dedicated committee from different departments. Small companies may find it easier to organize a specific meeting for key decision-makers.
You want to find out if the goals you’re setting are understandable and if they sound achievable – especially in terms of timescales. It’s far better to deal with any criticisms now, rather than force through the implementation of goals only to discover they don’t work. You can also assess what training you might need to provide. For example, if you’re planning on introducing augmented reality for tech assistance, your customer service team will need to know how it works.
Talk about tactics
Now you have your goals in mind, it’s time to work out how best to reach them. Again, use the same committee or meeting formed in the previous step to encourage collaboration here. If your team has input on the methods, they’ll remain engaged (and they’ll have on-the-ground insights you might lack).
Let’s walk through an example. You’ve decided to decrease call response time, leading to a quicker and more efficient experience for customers. Specifically, you’ve aimed for ‘every call to be answered within 30 seconds by the end of the quarter’. Now it’s time to work out how to achieve this. You could:
- Hire more staff to decrease overall call load on individual agents
- Invest in a call forwarding service so that unanswered calls get routed to another agent
- Improve self-service on your website so that less people need to call for common questions
- Split your team into sections – one to handle everyday calls, and specialists that complex calls can be forwarded to, to free up other agents
The self-service tactic is a great example of how involving your team in the process can help. You can find out what questions are most common, and then ask your content or tech team to provide ready-made answers in a knowledge base on your website.
Track everything and be transparent
Data was the key to setting goals, and it’s also the key to achieving them. Tracking the metrics you’re aiming to improve allows you to see if your changes are having an impact. If, then, after a couple of months there’s no change, you can take a step back and reassess. It also means seasonal marketing trends won’t skew your data.
It’s worth making these metrics available to your team, as being able to monitor their progress makes it easier to improve (and means you’re not pressuring them with data they don’t have). In an office situation, you can have these in a physical location – perhaps on a whiteboard. However, an online solution is preferable as it allows for remote work and it’s easier to update. Most project management platforms will have some way of sharing analytics with your team.
It’s not only your customer service team that you should be talking to. As an example, let’s say you provide SaaS products. If there’s a sudden increase in call volume, you might wonder why. But, by being in touch regularly with your dev team you may realize there’s been a recent update. Rather than panic-hiring new staff, you can update your self-service page and maybe run an email campaign about the recent changes.
Finally, make sure to evaluate your progress regularly. Did you reach your goals, and if not, was there anything in particular that may have caused you to fall short? Did your team notice anything that could have affected it? Perhaps you tried AI automated support, but your call agents noticed a lot of people saying they didn’t like it, so called anyway?
Use the data gathered in these evaluations to inform your next goals, and your next tactics. By repeating this process, you’ll soon find yourself well equipped to set-up and execute CX goals with the help of your team.
Sam O’Brien is the Senior Website Optimisation & User Experience Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing and call centre software provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for websites such as ProxyClick and SaneBox. Here is his LinkedIn.