Edit: you can find a more up to date version of this article here.
Alright, let’s get straight into it.
What I want to do is revisit the “Provide good service to all customers” objective from part 1 of this article. This is the sort of objective that leads to what I call the dreaded annual appraisal. So I’m going to show you how to turn that problem producing, airy fairy, jumble of words into something that’ll make a real difference.
The first thing to recognize in “Provide good service to all customers” is that it’s an action, not an objective. Objectives should be outcomes or accomplishments, not the actions that lead to them. So what’s the outcome you’re really looking for when you say “provide good service to all customers”?
You would be looking to have satisfied customers. And ultimately you would be looking to retain customers. And the reason for this is that income generally comes from two sources; new customers and existing customers. And existing customers usually account for a greater proportion.
So how do we re-write it as a SMART objective. First look at the organisation’s goals. Imagine the organisation has a goal to retain 99% of customers. We want our objective closely aligned with that goal. And the easiest way to do that would be to make the objective…
Retain 99% of your customers
This sort of objective would work well in a lot of situations. But what about the person working on the front line handling enquiries. Their actions influence whether a customer is retained. But there are many other factors out of their control. So in that case what you want to do is use an objective like this…
Increase your Customer Service Satisfaction Rating to 4
I’m assuming a rating system for customer satisfaction from 1 to 5. I’ll talk about how to measure these in the next article. When you use an objective like that, make sure you let the person know it’s linked back to the organisation’s goal of retaining 99% of customers. So there’s more to their job than an uninspiring job description. They’re involved in the real mission.
So which objective do you think would get better results?
The old style Provide good service to all customers
or the SMART Retain 99% of your customers
OK, that should get you running through the office like a football player who’s just kicked a goal. Fist in the air, one finger pointed, holding your shirt out with the other hand.
Um hello! I can’t see myself running around in my office I hear you say. Yeah OK, but you will be kicking goals. And best of all, the goals will have a measurable affect on the bottom line.
In case anyone missed it – I just said B O T T O M L I N E.
I’ve had some feedback about the length of the articles, so I’m going to keep this short and talk about how to measure the objectives in part 3.
Are you wondering how you’ll manage to write performance goals when you’re so busy each day?
The answer is an online system. Cognology has designed performance management software that saves time setting objectives and aligning a team to a strategic plan.