Customer service goals: the top 5 objectives (+ examples)

Of all the customer service goals, which one is the most important? If you answered, "Resolving customer requests and issues promptly," you'd be partially correct.

While contact resolution is priority number one, there are four other customer service goals and objectives that also have a major impact on a brand’s ability to deliver experiences both efficiently and with empathy, and to offer a great customer experience (CX) overall. 

Here are the top five goals customer care teams should prioritize:

  1. Resolving customer issues, efficiently

  2. Creating an emotional connection

  3. Preventing future issues

  4. Up-selling and cross-selling

  5. Gathering voice of the customer consistently

When companies deliver on all five of these customer service department objectives, they earn the badge of being "Easy to Do Business With" – an all-important goal in a crowded and competitive marketplace where most customers today prioritize experiences over product and price when making a purchase.

Let's talk about each of these five customer service goals and examples in further detail.

1. Resolving the customer's issue – the first time around

While certainly not a new metric, first contact resolution (FCR) is a key indicator of contact center performance. Studies have consistently shown that when customers have to contact you a second time, their satisfaction reduces

You may be thinking, "No problem, our first contact resolution rates are high." But brands often overlook that there are two reasons FCR rates rise: 

  1. Customers are getting the right resolution the first time.

  2. Customers are so frustrated with the experience they never contact you again. 

Without a 360-degree view of the customer's interactions through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) hub, it is almost impossible to know which factor has a bigger impact on your FCR. Truly understanding your ability to resolve issues should be among your top customer service goals.

For more key metrics to keep an eye on, be sure to check out this list of call center KPIs.

2. Creating an emotional connection

Customers are willing to pay up to 16% more if it means getting a better experience, and be more loyal to your brand, too. Price and product are no longer the top differentiators for a brand: experiences are. 

As CX only becomes more crucial, forging emotional connections with your customers, and delivering experiences that are truly empathetic to their needs, grows more important. 

A short-term investment in connecting with customers can result in more goodwill and positive word-of-mouth. Not to mention, more revenue down the line.

Too often, brands attempt to force emotional connections by scripting their contact center agents and social care teams. Best-in-class companies take the opposite approach: instead of requiring representatives to follow a strict, predetermined set of responses, they foster an environment that empowers them to bend the rules

With the right talent and technology in place, front-line employees have permission to do what's right for their customers. Empowered agents can truly show customers that they're valued, instead of just telling them so. When it comes to customer care, actions always speak louder than words.

A classic example: you arrive at the airport to find your flight is delayed by several hours. When you express your concern about the delay making you late for an important meeting, one of two things could happen...

Scenario A: The counter agent, following the script set forth by the airline, apologizes and offers you a voucher for a future flight. She then attempts to force an emotional connection with you, still sticking to her script. Not only does the resolution not address your current issue, but it becomes an awkward experience for both parties.

Scenario B: The counter agent reviews the information on her computer and says, "You've been our loyal customer for years. I'll find you a flight that will get you there on time." She then gives you a ticket for a competing airline's flight. Even though this resolution costs the airline money in the short term, you will continue to be loyal to them in the future. This agent was empowered to truly solve your problem while generating goodwill for future experiences.

Which scenario would you prefer, A or B? Scripted, forced attempts at an emotional connection often fail because customers see through the pretense. 

There is no greater emotional connection than the one forged when a representative solves your problem, even if it costs the company something. It communicates strongly that you are a priority worthy of their time, effort, and cost. 

3. Preventing future issues

Good service solves the customer's current problem and creates a positive emotional connection. Great service goes a step further by heading off future issues. 

Proactively educating customers about your products can prevent headaches down the road.

To successfully embed the practice of proactive education, companies turn to smart agent tools and customer case management systems that guide agents through each customer interaction and offer the next best actions for the agent to take. Based on customer profiles, preferences, and past interactions, the system can suggest that agents share additional information.

For example, let's say one of your service agents resolved a customer's question about setting up their new smart TV. Using the best next actions recommended by the CRM system, the agent could follow up with a link to video tutorials on using the remote, setting up a gaming system, or connecting their streaming accounts.

In this example, by proactively engaging customers with extra information relevant to their needs, it can help ensure a more seamless experience and reduce the likelihood of needing to seek out more support moving forward.

4. Up-selling and cross-selling

There is a reason up-selling and cross-selling are listed as number four on this list of customer service goals. Without satisfying the first three objectives, efforts to get more revenue from a customer will likely be fruitless.

An exception to this rule is if a different product would solve the customer's initial problem and/or prevent future issues.

Just as they can guide agents with suggested next best actions, CRM systems can use customer context, known relationships, and related products to feed agents information about other products this customer may be interested in purchasing. Agents can even send coupons for specific products with a click of a button.

5. Gathering Voice of the Customer input

At most companies, Voice of the Customer (VoC) processes tend to be ad-hoc. Yet, having a pulse on what customers are thinking and feeling across their journey is incredibly valuable. 

VoC helps companies make more informed decisions about product, marketing, and service strategies.

VoC gives brands insights to help them deliver seamless experiences with empathy to customers' specific needs and expectations. For example, it can help a brand identify and address barriers preventing their customers from having an easy and frictionless online shopping experience.

As one of the most critical customer service goals, gathering VoC data needs to be intentional and codified into every service interaction. When agents are actively guided through every service interaction, VOC input easily becomes part of the process. For example, a simple two- or three-question post-interaction survey at the end of each conversation can add valuable insights.

Beyond surveys, intelligent service analytics can garner insights from unstructured inputs, such as social media interactions, knowledge base queries, and case notes. When VoC data is gathered and evaluated consistently, brands reap the benefits of being in tune with customer perspectives.

The takeaway 

In today's service economy, each customer care experience can greatly impact retention and loyalty. As such, a brand's ability to deliver easy and efficient customer care is paramount. 

To deliver these experiences, it remains essential for brands to: 

  • Understand what their customers expect from their interactions with customer service.

  • Ensure their agents can empower themselves to deliver efficient customer care experiences with empathy. 

If your team (and the technology that supports them) struggles to deliver on all five of these customer service objectives consistently, it may be time to examine the processes and technology behind them.

Learn more about what a smarter customer experience platform could mean for your customer service goals. Contact us today to see how Emplifi’s care and service solutions can help you.

Source: John A. Goodman, Customer Experience 3.0: High Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service