Setting stretch goals in the contact center

“We aim above the mark to hit the mark.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the most memorable stretch goals of all time was set on October 1st, some 79 years ago,  by Babe Ruth while with the NY Yankees. He pointed at the outfield bleachers indicating his audacious “stretch goal” of hitting a homerun, then, proceeded to hit the ball out of the stadium. Since then, there have been over 230,000 homeruns hit in Major League Baseball, but none perhaps as memorable as Babe Ruth’s – all because he set a stretch goal, then achieved it.
Determining which key metrics to measure performance by is a strategic decision call center managers have to make (or is made for them). We all know the critical few: Average Speed of Answer (ASA), percentage of calls transferred, call abandonment rate, overall customer satisfaction and repeat callers (measured as First Call Resolution). The complete list of metrics that can and are tracked by call centers is truly endless as they can be further modified based on industry, region and by customer applications used. 
The next step is establishing measurable goals for these metrics, which comes with an ironic twist. Set the goal too low and suffer from lackluster performance and a poor image. Set the goal too high and it becomes unachievable and a demotivating factor in the contact center. A common example is when companies tout slogans such as “100% satisfaction guaranteed.” A savvy customer can use this to their advantage when calling a contact center to ensure they get credits, discounts and other incentives possibly without merit.
When setting goals, consider the following guidelines:
  • Benchmark against industry peers to set realistic goals. It is perfectly acceptable to compare against global best practices, but recognize that customers have very different expectations for service across industries.
  • Consider if the goals are for public or internal communication. Answering 95% of calls within 30 seconds takes a great deal of resource management, however may not make for a good press release.
  • Tie rewards and recognition to achieving goals. In Customer Operations, we realize there are no true “home run” celebrations so ensure you recognize measurable improvement along the way.
Fizzback’s real-time dashboards can help organizations identify the drivers of satisfaction and track progress toward stretch goals. This leads to future training, process and product improvements. Ensure you are setting stretch goals that are realistic and drive the desired team performance within your organization. 


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