This article first appeared in ICMI.
Say it with me: if you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.
After months of hustling hard to hit lofty goals, my team started chanting the above mantra. We scribbled it on windows to sear it into our brains. And we recited it at the end of our kickoff meeting every Monday morning. You see, we’d been stretching ourselves too thin while trying to reach seven goals all at once. And, we were quickly on the brink of burnout because of it. Not to mention, we weren’t making enough progress toward those seven goals.
Pinballing between too many priorities just wasn’t working. This kind of pressure causes paralysis – you have so much to accomplish, you end up accomplishing very little. Your agents can be overwhelmed with metrics to watch, goals to reach, and constant progress to make.
The easiest plan of attack is to make your goals more attainable (and less daunting for your team). That’s why we’re mapping out how to set quarterly customer service goals to set your team up for success. Break your goals up into 90-day sprints and watch your ROI soar. Here’s how.
Align your team’s quarterly goals with company goals.
Set your quarterly goals with your company’s overarching goals in mind. What does your team need to accomplish in the next 90 days to ensure you’re advancing your company’s goals?
Create a list of goals that are directly actionable to your team and execute on them. If your corporate leaders set a goal to reduce tickets by 5%, focus on how your team impacts this outcome.
Then, outline specific goals, objectives and benchmarks to help your team reduce tickets. Another option is to work to build a feedback loop with your peer leaders, so you can address other organizational issues that lead to higher churn.
Create a 90-day action plan to show progress and alignment to company goals. That way, you and your team contribute to the big picture and prove your value.
Narrow your focus and choose SMART goals.
Next up, use data to inform your quarterly strategies.
Let’s say you review monthly dashboards and find evidence that low satisfaction is linked to high churn at your company. Now, you know if your team improves satisfaction, you’ll reduce customer churn, too.
From there, you can create SMART goals that focus on improving customer satisfaction – breaking each goal down into smaller chunks that are manageable for your team. SMART goals clarify expectations, deadlines and required action items.
Slice your goals into smaller, actionable pieces so your team understands what they need to do each day to meet the standards you’ve mapped out. They also can feel good about their progress along the way.
Give your team ownership over each goal.
Setting out to reach high-level goals can feel intimidating. Break your goals down into objectives for which each member of your team can feel a sense of ownership. Use the GOST model – a set of high-level goals and waterfall objectives – to create detailed objectives your team can act on to hit quarterly targets.
Assign KPIs and metrics to track daily progress.
Customer experience expert Jeff Toister found a connection between team burnout and lack of visibility into daily metrics and progress. And only a slim 21% of employees feel their performance is managed in a way that helps them do better work.
Build wallboards and dashboards to give your team daily visibility into their metrics. When your team has a clear view of their daily progress alongside their target metrics, they’re less likely to burnout and more likely to autocorrect performance when they’re falling behind.
Don’t stop there. Use metrics as indicators for where you need to jump in and offer more coaching and resources. You’ll have tangible results to kick off important performance conversations with each member of your team, so you can work together to improve outcomes.
Giving your team the tools to track progress and know where they stand builds confidence in their ability to fix problems on the fly. It also shows each team-member the profound impact their daily work has on your overall work.
Veronica Krieg is an award-winning senior writer for Sharpen, the omnichannel contact center company who believes a better customer experience starts with a better agent experience. She writes to empower audiences to move past the status quo and stagnant CSAT scores. Her people-first passion shines through in her articles on topics from employee engagement to data-informed coaching & training.