Managing customer service involves meeting company customer satisfaction expectations through various customer interactions. Sales, service, returns and replacements, parts and accessories and customer relations are all handled or facilitated by customer service departments. Setting performance goals for customer service representatives is an important part of enabling and empowering employees to meet and exceed expectations. Product and service knowledge, active listening, good communication, patience and empathy are important and necessary skills for a customer service representative and should be included in customer service goals.
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Products, Services and Policies
Customer service representatives must know the products and services customers are calling about. Training is very important for specific products and services, how to use them, the parts and accessories available, repair and replacement, and the company’s customer service policies and procedures. Customer service training goals can include specific deadlines for training to achieve different levels of service representation, ability to pass tests on products and service after training, and attendance at a certain minimum number of sales and new product informational meetings.
Active Listening and Good Communication
Active listening and good communication are required for successful telephone communications. Customer service representatives must use active listening and good communication techniques such as repeating the customer’s request or statement to ensure understanding, asking for clarification when there is confusion, and using empathetic language by saying things like, “I understand” and “I agree.” Customer service representative goals for active listening and good communication can include rating customer service call handling in areas of active listening, patience and empathy, as well as a high percentage of good ratings on customer service surveys.
Stress is a normal part of talking to customers on the phone about their problems with the company or products. While helping someone over the phone who is upset, angry or rude can be satisfying, it can also be unpleasant and stressful. The ability to manage the stress of dealing with emotional, angry and unhappy callers is very important to provide consistent, high quality customer service. Customer service representative goals for stress management can include a minimum number of monitored calls rated polite, professional and courteous and a minimum percentage of favourable customer comments or surveys.
Quality, Quantity and Speed
Customer service representatives must be available during advertised service hours to process the company’s service policies. Depending on service levels set by management, customer service representatives must meet certain minimum number of calls handled per eight-hour day, minutes per call average and resolution per call statistics. Goals for reps can include increasing these numbers within a reasonable time frame between one and three months and keeping a consistent level of quantity and speed. For example, for a representative with an average of 85 calls per day in a customer service department that averages 100 calls per rep per day, a goal of increasing to 93 calls within three months is reasonable to bring productivity up to the department average.
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- “Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service”; Chip R. Bell and Ron Zemke; 2007
- “101 Ways to Improve Customer Service: Training, Tools, Tips, and Techniques”; Lorraine L. Ukens; 2007
- “Perfect Phrases for Setting Performance Goals: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Goals for Any Performance Plan or Review”; Douglas Max and Robert Bacal; 2004