Published: January 03, 2018 | Comments
Happy 2018, folks! Ready or not, the new year is here. And with the turn
of the calendar comes everyone’s favorite annual process: goal setting!
Sadly, this rite of passage is often overlooked or marginalized within
customer service departments. We can become wholly focused on things like
quality scores, metrics, and new technology (all of which are extremely
important), but annual goals should help you get out of the day-to-day way
of thinking and practice continual improvement. This post will offer three
“big picture buckets” from which to pull meaningful, well-aligned goals.
Follow these techniques to ensure 2018 is a year of positive change for
Before we dive into the thought process of creating useful goals, let's
look at what a goal is:
Goal (/gol/) - The object of a person’s ambition of effort, an aim or
Often, people try to set goals but end up with resolutions. A resolution is
defined as follows:
Resolution (/rezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/) - A firm decision to do or not to do
something (Source - Google Dictionary)
These are two very different things. A goal is an expressed action that
will move you toward a desired result. This desired result must be defined
and understood for the goal to have meaning. A resolution is simply a
formal choice to do or not do something. It may or may not guide you
toward a broader vision.
The key for a customer service leader is establishing the big picture
first, then creating goals that align. Goal setting is very similar to
doing a jigsaw puzzle. Creating your goals as a leader is synonymous with
putting the picture on the puzzle box. Having now defined what the team is
working toward, the individual goals are the pieces used to complete the
picture. If everyone is working off of a different vision, it’s like
trying to fit together pieces from completely different puzzles.
Take for example the goal of “enhancing our self-service channel quality
and usage in 2018.” This requires a coordinated effort from everyone to be
successful. If you simply set a goal to have agents “create three
knowledge base articles a quarter,” you will likely end up with a lot of
random and useless knowledge.
Alternatively, if you guide individual
agents toward specific areas of need, you are sure to fill in your major
gaps. It’s even better if you have the agent work on an area of knowledge
in which you are trying to develop them. This will provide overlap and
synergies between their various goals.
Beyond your own goals as a leader, there are two other “big picture”
buckets that you should use for effective alignment. The second is your
Customer Service Vision. Goals may come and go, but this vision statement is a guiding star for your department over the long-haul. If you haven’t created one yet, kick the year off right by taking the time to do so with your team. A worthwhile goal to complement your service vision could be to identify one way to reduce effort in either the agent experience or the customer experience in 2018.
The third “big picture” bucket is more specific to the individual employee.
While setting the puzzle pieces in place for the continued evolution of
your department, you should do the same thing for your team members.
Hopefully, you’ve just done a round of performance reviews (see The Three C’s For Meaningful Performance Reviews here) and have a good idea of how each person would like to develop
career-wise. One of the agent's performance goals should encapsulate the
next reasonable step down this path. It could be to receive a new type of
training, own a cross-functional project with another department, or to
read a personal development book you’ve selected for them. Not only will
this make the employee more engaged day-to-day, but it will boost their
loyalty to the organization if they feel they’re working for a leader who
has their back and makes an effort to advance them professionally.
To bring it all together, here is an infographic depicting the three “big
picture buckets” you have at your disposal:
When you align these strategic goals alongside tactical goals coming out of
quality management and coaching, you are sure to have a roadmap for a
Are you doing anything innovative to equip your customer service team for
success in 2018? Share it in the comments below!