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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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