A 4-step plan to setting service excellence goals that will take your business to the next level.

June 04, 2020 •

5 min reading

Setting customer service goals: 4 steps to excellence

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The importance of service excellence

Did you know that 97% of global consumers view customer service as an important factor in their choice and loyalty to a brand, and that 76% see customer service as a testament of how much a company values them?

Especially in the hospitality and tourism industry, the quality of your customer service can make or break your success. The best hospitality businesses know that great customer service can not only increase revenue and save costs, but is critical for brand development and customer retention.

For any business, service provided at every touchpoint must be excellent – going above and beyond to show the customer that their business, and their loyalty, is your upmost priority.

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Setting service excellence goals

Having a clear customer service strategy and implementation plan is key. And with that, comes the need to define goals. Service excellence goals set the stage for your long-term strategy, helping you maintain an excellent relationship with your existing customers, and foster meaningful relationships with new ones.

Setting goals also helps you set expectations for your staff, and gives them a clear sense of exactly what is expected of them - improving motivation and giving them something to work towards.

But goals only succeed if they’re realistic, aligned with your business objectives and include a clear strategy on how to achieve them.

Here’s our 4-step plan on how to set service excellence goals for your hospitality business:


  1. Do your research

Before you start defining goals, it’s important to understand how your company’s customer service department is currently performing, and how meaningful your relationships with your clients are.

Some of the key customer service satisfaction metrics you may want to evaluate include:

  • Customer satisfaction rate (csat)
  • Customer effort score (ces)
  • Net promoter score (nps)
  • Customer churn
  • First response time (frt)
  • Average handling time (aht)
  • Resolution rate
  • Social media monitoring, including brand mentions and reviews on key platforms such as tripadvisor and facebook

You will also want to examine what challenges your customer service team is facing, and what roadblocks they’re up against. What impact are these challenges having on the success of your business?

Once you’ve clearly identified your performance, roadblocks and limitations, you can start to identify areas for improvement with solution-oriented goals.


  1. Differentiate between organizational, team & individual goals

Service excellence goals can take many forms, but it’s important to differentiate between organizational, team and individual goals.

  • Organizational goals support the broader vision of your company, including its long-term strategy and for the future, and what relationship it wants to have with its customers. An example of an organizational goal could be ‘to deliver the best in-class customer service’.

  • Team goals support the company’s overall business objectives, and present a clear strategy on how they can be achieved. They should be specific and linked to data points so that clear action can be taken. Examples of team goals could be to ‘increase the overall rate of customer satisfaction’ or ‘optimize your online presence and handling of complaints on digital platforms’.

  • Individual goals outline what’s expected from each team member, taking into account their performance, skill set and ambitions. Individual goals should be specific, and supported by a training plan and progress-tracking. These goals might just be the most critical, as by strengthening the performance of each individual, both your team and organization become more effective.

  1. Make your service excellence goals s.m.a.r.t.

When defining your goals, you’ll want to make sure that they are realistic, specific and attainable. There’s nothing more challenging or demotivating for employees than trying to meet a target that’s ill-defined or unachievable.

The best way to do this is to benchmark your goals against the s.m.a.r.t. criteria:

  • S = specific
    Be specific about what exactly you’re trying to achieve. Make sure to be clear about who’s responsible and accountable and what you want to accomplish. Think about why this goal is important, what resources you need to achieve it and what limits or boundaries need to be overcome.
  • M = measurable
    Make sure that you outline how you’re going to measure your progress. Defining a clear target will help your employees stay focused on the end-goal, and increase motivation as they work towards achieving their target. Be specific about what the target is (exactly how much/many), and what indicators will be used for tracking progress.
  • A = attainable
    While there’s nothing wrong with stretching the limits and setting the bar high, goals need to be attainable. Goals that are unattainable will only demotivate and frustrate your employees. Take into consideration your existing resources – including time, finances and your existing skill set – to make sure that your team has the capacity to achieve their goal. Of course, everyone wants a resolution rate of 100% and a perfect track record when it comes to customer complaints, but if you have a small customer service team with limited resources and training, it’s unlikely that you’re going to achieve this.
  • R = relevant
    Whether individual or team-based, a customer service goal should be aligned with the overall values and objectives of the organization. It should make a direct contribution to the company’s long-term goals and vision. If it doesn’t, you might want to rethink it. Ask yourself why the goal is important, and how achieving it will help contribute towards your overall success.
  • T = time-bound
    Goals need a time-frame. Setting an end-date not only provides motivation, but will help you work more efficiently towards accomplishing it. Provide a clear end-date for deliverables (that’s also realistic), and set targets for what you want to achieve at different stages of your timeline.


Examples of s.m.a.r.t. goals could include:

  • Increase the net promoter score (nps) from [value] to [value] by [date].
  • Reduce the average handling time (aht) from [time] to [time] by [date].
  • Resolve all customer service requests via all channels (including, x, y and z) within [hours] of receipt by [date].
  • Improve the customer satisfaction rate (csat) by [x%] by [date].
  1. Track, adjust and improve

Now that you’ve defined your metrics and have set your customer excellence goals, you’re ready to start tracking your progress. Check in on your how your employees and team are performing at regular intervals, and be clear and transparent about what needs to be adjusted or accelerated in order achieve success.

But remember to stay flexible. Much like the ebb and flow of any organization, goals may need readjusting. Changes to your team, organization or external environment may require targets to be revisited, and that’s ok. Nothing, not even goals, are set in stone.

Discover THE Service Excellence Guide:
from Service Design to Service Recovery


Acquiring a new customer costs 7 times more than maintaining an existing one!

Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, (Vice-)President, CxO, etc.... this seven-step process, you will have all the tools you need to make Customer Service Excellence work.