Customers are the lifeblood of all businesses and customer service teams are often the first point of contact they have with a company. Customer service is, therefore, a critical function for most businesses. Bad customer service can quickly become a story shared amongst peers and even publically in the press, just as great customer service can delight and surprise and become a core brand promise.
As a customer service leader, tasked with managing the daily inflow of questions, requests and help tickets, finding time to focus on improvements and driving efficiencies can be a challenge. OKR can help, and this post aims to explain how.
If you manage a large team and deal with tickets or emails, you’re probably familiar with KPI’s. You probably also have targets to achieve, and a certain service level to reach. However, what might not be clear is how your team is contributing to moving the rest of the company forward, especially if most of your time is spent dealing with the whirlwind of work.
OKR is great for helping cut through this whirlwind and bringing focus to areas of customer service where new processes can be built or optimized or where completely new approaches can be created. OKR provides a clear structure for moving your team, and your company forwards.
What is an OKR?
An OKR consists of an Objective and one to five Key Results and is a way of describing an outcome you want to achieve, and measuring how to get there. For a deeper explanation of OKR, check out our OKR page here or grab a copy of our eBook to learn the basics you’ll need to get started.
As a customer service team lead, when you’re ready to start creating OKRs for your team, the first place to start is with your Company OKRs. These set the priorities for your whole organization and will provide you with the direction and scope within which you need to create OKRs for your team. Company OKRs are naturally broad in scope for example:
“Increase operational efficiency and become a truly lean organization”
To understand what this means, look to the Key Results and success will become clear.
O: “Improve our cash-in-bank position to fund expansion”
KR: Reduce OPEX by 15%
KR: Increase 2018 revenue to €20,000,000
KR: Increase NewBiz revenue contribution to 25%
Key results tell you
- Operating Expenditure is currently too high and needs to be reduced.
- The revenue target for 2018 for the organization has been increased
- The amount of revenue delivered from new customers needs to increase
As a customer service manager creating an OKR for your team, you might choose the above OKR to align to, and decide that you can contribute in some way, with your own OKR.
This should start promoting ideas. Ask yourself the question “what can our team do to increase our cash-in-bank position”? You might want to look at how you can increase efficiency by answering a greater volume of support tickets, for a lower average price per ticket using automation.
Your OKR could be:
O: “Reduce the cost of customer service through automation”
KR: Increase self-serve ticket resolution to 40%
KR: Reduce cost per ticket to $1
KR: Reduce time-to-resolution to 48 hours
If you reach your Key Results, you should be confident that as a business function you’ve reduced your costs, and this should have an effect on the Company OKR you’re aligned to.
It’s also good practice to check what other teams OKRs are focusing on, and which company OKRs they’re aligned to. You might find, for example, the finance department heavily committed to improving the company’s “cash-in-bank” position since they’re ultimately the business function responsible for it. If this is the case you might be better aligned to a different Company OKR.
Where do I start?
Grab a copy of our eBooks for more examples of OKRs for Customer Service, Marketing and Sales teams. You’ll learn how to structure a goal as an OKR and how they fit into a framework that defines how, when and who creates them.
If you’d like to chat to one of our team, book a demo here.