Ally.io
August 19, 2021

Why customer experience goals are the future of retail success (and how to set them)

Ally
Ally Technologies, Inc.

With the emergence of social selling, increasing DTC competition, and a pandemic that has pushed the known limits of e-commerce and fulfillment, the surface area of customer touch points a retail brand has to manage has increased exponentially. 

To support these evolutions, brands have hired multiple teams within their organizations to oversee specific pieces of the customer experience journey, whether that’s how a customer shops online, what content they are fed in their social media feeds, or even what their experience looks like when they chat with live support agents. All these cooks in the kitchen has made it challenging to come up with customer experience goals that everyone in your organization is aligned to.   

Why your department-level goals matter (but don’t tell the full story)

When it comes to supporting the customer journey, every customer experience team typically has a different focus area quarter to quarter to propel their business units forward.

Brand teams are tasked with building a modern awareness strategy that brings new customers in the door across multiple channels. Typical customer experience performance goals include increasing content reach, conversion rates, and brand sentiment to track revenue goals as it relates to attracting new and current customers.

Allbirds

E-commerce teams are focused on improving and optimizing the overall online shopping experience. Typical goals include increasing metrics like average cart size, click through rates, and optimizing the shopping cart experience to produce an end- to-end experience that customers enjoy and purchase from.

Shopping cart

Customer support teams are responsible for resolving issues, answering questions, and being a strategic product consultant for customers across many different channels. Typical goals include decreasing average handle time and average time in queue, and increasing first contact resolution rates to balance speed with quality of service.

Customer support

While there is no denying that every team involved in the customer journey has focused goals to improve the business, they all typically operate in small silos, each interacting with customers at a different part of the customer journey in different ways.

This creates complexities for customer experience leaders and executives looking for a complete view of the end to end health of their customers. It can be difficult to figure out how to align around key initiatives that unify the team around common goals. That’s why most retailers are now putting the only things that matter at the top of their aligned focus, their customers.

Why unified customer experience goals are the future of retail (and how to set them)

Retailers are now putting their customers at the center of their customer experience goals and objectives by identifying simple key strategic initiatives that every team can now align across and support. 

Examples of unified customer experience goals include “Deliver an exceptional customer experience to our in-store customers” and “Ensure next-day shipping for all orders placed online.” These goals can also include increasing customer happiness (NPS), increasing lifetime value (LTV), and increasing average order size (AOV) as key focus areas for the company quarter after quarter and year after year. 

These customer-focused, top level goals for customer experience align teams around a collective mission instead of siloed department metrics and revenue goals.

Examples of customer experience goals

Let’s take a customer-centered goal of “Increase Customer AOV by 10% This Year.” Typically, there may be a small team working on this strategic initiative already, fighting for resources and focus from different teams in order to move the needle— oftentimes, unsuccessfully. But by setting this customer-centered goal at the top level across all customer experience teams, every team can focus their efforts (and teams) on supporting the mission.  And more importantly, understand how the work they’re doing on a daily basis ladders up to this business imperative.

  • For brand teams this might mean moving their content and awareness strategy away from pushing single product education across different channels to focusing on content that packages many different products together at once. For example, pushing a complete look from top to bottom vs. a single pair of shoes. Or, alternatively, shifting focus to highlighting premium products that come with higher price tags instead of their lower tier lines.
  • For e-commerce teams this might mean optimizing the company’s website to display recommended and suggested items on each product page to increase average cart sizes or bundling items on the website to encourage purchasing more items at once for a discount. To support the customer goal in this case, this team might shift their focus from new web projects they had planned to simply improving and optimizing the current pages they already have today.
  • For customer support teams this might mean sacrificing a few percentage points on average handle time in order to spend more time on the phone with VIP customers to chat them through new items that have just arrived that they know they will love based on their purchase history with the brand. To support the customer goal in this case, this team would expand their focus from not just being reactive to service requests but to becoming a proactive strategic upselling arm for the company. 

In the cases above, when your customer experience goals are aligned around the customer problem you are trying to solve vs department-specific metrics, all teams involved in the customer journey can rethink their departmental strategies to directly impact the business objectives.

The key here is understanding that by bringing this customer focus across teams you are oftentimes deprioritizing the importance of something else, and that’s ok! The retailers that focus on a few key customer initiatives quarter by quarter are the ones that in the end are providing the best experience for their customers, keeping customers happy and, most importantly, coming back for more 

Here’s a sample of customer experience OKRs that work for several major retail organizations. 

[Read More: OKR Templates]

Deploying a customer experience goal framework (and how Ally.io can help)

For retailers looking to bring all their customer experience teams together to focus on the most important business priorities, the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) goal management framework is a tried-and-true approach. 

Step 1: Align your customer experience teams

Get in the same virtual or “real world” room. Explain the “why” behind coming up with unified customer experience goals: to align yourselves around the same key customer customer experience metrics so you’re marching to the beat of the same drum—doing what’s best for the customer and, ultimately, your own individual department goals by ensuring laser-focused alignment. 

  • Move away from silo team planning to have everyone align around common goals centered on your customer experience
  • When everyone is aligned around the output of happy, loyal customers, every team wins
  • Ditch tactical department level tracking to stay focused on key customer metrics that push the business forward

Step 2: Come up with your OKRs together 

Use the Objective Key Results framework to come up with your OKRs together across team leadership. Remember, your objective is the goal you are all aligning around, i.e. “Become the #1 market leader in the North American region.” Your key results are the specific, measurable steps all teams involved will take to achieve that Objective. If each functional group within the customer experience journey can break customer-centered goals down to each of their team members, everyone becomes accountable for a small customer experience metric output that leads to huge team wins in the aggregate.

Here’s an example of what this OKR structure looks like. 

Step 3: Commit to transparent communication, tracking and updates 

Goal-setting doesn’t get you anywhere if you’re not checking in on progress. Keep team meetings and 1:1s focused around progress to goals, not around-the-room updates. This will create one source of truth for your goal tracking, allowing you to know where you’re on track and where you’re falling behind at all times. Ally.io’s Slack integration makes this a breeze, even when you’re all-virtual. 

Step 4: Take your goals out of the spreadsheet 

It’s time to move away from manual goal tracking. Goal tracking for the customer experience journey doesn’t have to be an ongoing manual burden. There may be hesitancy to implement the OKR framework with hundreds of supporting employees who don’t need an extra burden, especially during the holiday season. With Ally.io your employees don’t have to lift a finger.

  • Integrate into all your key systems (marketing and customer service systems) so you never have to manually give goal updates and have real time access to goal progress
  • Automatically track towards goals to know where you are falling short and need to invest more resources or training
  • Give constant visibility to all throughout the holiday season when everyone is slammed.Our best-in-class OKR software is designed to automate this process, connect seamlessly to the tools your teams are already using to get work done, and bring clarity to all levels of your organization. Take it for a spin here. 

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