How to set customer happiness goals in 5 easy steps

A new quarter rolls around, and it’s time to set goals for your team. As a leader of a customer success or support team, there’s a good chance that increasing customer happiness is high on your list of priorities.

But what does that really mean? And how can you set customer happiness goals for your team that are reasonable and actually move the needle for your company?

Follow the steps below to set up customer happiness goals for your team that drive the results for your company.

This framework assumes you’ve already got in place a way to measure customer happiness and get feedback, like a CSAT survey. If you’re still working on setting that up, head over to our ebook The Ultimate Guide to Customer Satisfaction and read chapters 1 and 2.

5 steps for setting customer happiness goals

Step 1: Avoid the perfection pitfall

Remember this first critical rule (and not the one from Fight Club): don’t aim for a perfect score of 100 percent CSAT right out of the gate. While it is tempting to be able to splash a perfect score on the front page of your website, it can be a trap:

  • Having “perfection” as your goal can drive the wrong behaviors, like cherry picking. Your team will feel pressure to bump the score in their favor, which can create a cycle of searching for easy fixes to resolve customer concerns in the quickest amount of time.
  • A goal of 100 percent is lofty and vague —  which sets your team up for failure. Instead, take it a step further to set a more specific goal. Think about what you want that 100 percent CSAT to do for your company. I.e. Do you want to decrease churn? Drive repeat sales? Encourage referrals?

Step 2: Do your research

Where to begin? With your existing customer feedback. Here’s a framework for analyzing CSAT survey responses that we’ve seen work well for teams:

  • First you want to make the most of customer feedback that already exists. Look at the trends from a several different angles:
  • - By customer
  • - By customer size
  • - By location
  • - By industry
  • - By stage in the customer lifecycle
  • Find the outliers. Record the most extreme trends from both sides (the happiest and the least happy) and note some key facts about them. Is it related to a specific feature? From a certain type of team or industry? From a time period? After noting these details, these might remains outliers, or they could shed light on a deeper trend to dig into. Either way, it’s important not to ignore outliers altogether.
  • Last, investigate the responses with no feedback. No news does not always mean good news. According to SAGE publications and their Encyclopedia of Quality and the Service Economy, "studies indicate that only about 5 percent of all dissatisfied clients complain." The trick to unlocking a better CSAT score could be within these silent survey responses.

Step 3: Define the action you’ll take

Your team needs a goal they can take action on every day. Most CSAT scores are a measurement of how the customer feels regardless of whether their needs were met or not, so our primary goal will be tending to the emotional needs of our customers and determining how our agents can impact those. Say you’ve got these two company-wide goals:

  1. Improve customer retention
  2. Reduce back and forth interactions

What are the actions your team can do to impact these goals? Well, if agents are better at getting to the source of the problem, they can help solve it faster. That will reduce back and forth and make customers happier. Let’s put that into a goal:

  1. Improve the team's listening & resolution skills

There’s your action. But we’re not done yet. That’s still too vague to be an achievable goal. Step 4 will help you fine-tune this action into a reasonable goal.

Step 4: Fine-tune your goal

We’ve all heard the SMART goal setting framework before. This step is similar, but we’ve altered it so that it’s actually useful for a customer-facing team. To fine-tune your goal, ask these questions:

What will our team do differently each day to make this happen? We will provide training on core tone and listening skills to employees.

How can we track this together? We can pull daily reports showing lengthy tickets (those with more than five replies) and tickets that did not receive a CSAT score. We want to decrease lengthy tickets by 50% and tickets without CSAT scores by 25%.

How will we stay accountable? We’ll host a weekly learning session to focus on tickets in the daily reports and empower agents with better listening skills.

When will we assess the success of this goal? Six months from today.

Now you can put those pieces together in a single, achievable goal:

“In six months, we will decrease tickets without CSAT scores by 50%, and the number of monthly tickets with over five replies by 25% by using both team and individual training sessions focused on listening skills.”

Step 5: Communicating the goal to your team

Goals can only be achieved when your team understands what they’re working towards. That’s why team transparency is so important.

Discuss your shiny new goals with your team so that everyone is on the same page. At any point in time, every teammate should be able to explain your team’s goal and what they need to do to achieve it. When you roll out a new goal to the team, tell them the information they need to feel invested:

  • Why we’re setting this CSAT goal and how important it is to your company (Provide your notes from the previous steps)
  • What’s expected of each individual (Participation during the learning sessions?)
  • What you promise to deliver for them (Weekly curriculum to teach them? Individual feedback?)

If this goal involves a significant change to your team’s workflow, develop a plan to help them make a change and actually stick to it. Usually the best way to do this is with scheduled check-ins — weekly, monthly, or whatever makes sense for your team.

Align your team around customer happiness

"It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” - Jack Welch

It’s amazing the difference transparency can make when you’re rolling out team goals. Emphasize to your team that improving customer happiness will forever be important for your team, and every goal you set will be an actionable step towards achieving it.

For more on talking to your team about customer happiness, download our ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Customer Satisfaction.

This article is a guest post from Lenka Brozmanova at Nicereply.