2-Real-world elearning challenge: Improve call center customer satisfaction

PART 2 of 4: Determining the Business Goal

Large financial services company with call centers across the United States.

To refresh your memory about the challenger and the problem, read Design challenge – Part 1 of 4: Meet the Challenger.

The first step in our challenge is to identify the business goal.

What Is a Business Goal?
A business goal describes the result we hope to achieve with our elearning solution; it’s the ‘What’s in it for me?’

Our client was receiving low call satisfaction scores. Their analysis revealed that CSRs weren’t escalating calls to supervisors at the appropriate times. As a result, callers weren’t getting their problems resolved quickly enough, and that’s why they were giving low scores.

So, the company crafted this goal for their training:

Company’s Original Goal
After taking this course, all CSRs will know the process of escalating a customer call to their manager.

You may have seen—or written—goals like this. Clients often say that they need training to help their employees “know,” “understand,” or “be aware of” some process or policy. These words are usually a dead giveaway that the goal is missing the result component: what happens when employees know what they’re supposed to know.

Knowing something isn’t the same as doing it. Many people know how many miles are in a marathon, but that doesn’t mean they can complete one. Similarly, CSRs’ test scores after instructor-led training were great, but their performance wasn’t. Knowing the escalation process didn’t mean they could do it successfully.

First, Ask Why
Our conversation with clients about their business goal often starts with “why” questions.

Why should CSRs know the process of escalating a customer call to their manager?
So that they will be able to escalate calls when they need to.

Why should CSRs escalate calls when they need to?
So that managers can solve problems that the CSRs can’t solve on their own.

Why should managers solve problems?
So that we will get higher scores on call resolution.

We are on the right track: an increase or decrease signifies a result. (Unless you’re talking about increasing awareness. Nice try.) A few more whys confirm that increasing scores on call resolution is an appropriate goal.

Why should we get higher scores on call resolution?
So that we know our customers are happy.

Why should our customers be happy?
So they’ll come back, and refer their friends, and we’ll stay in business!

It shouldn’t take more than five whys to hit pay dirt—money is usually the ultimate why.

Then, Ask How

How will we increase scores on call resolution?
Our analysis indicates that higher scores correspond to problems being resolved quickly.

How do we resolve problems quickly?
CSRs can resolve many problems on their own, but some problems need to be escalated to a supervisor. Our analysis suggests that calls aren’t escalated often enough.

This conversation confirms that the client was right to focus on call escalation, but their business goal still needs a result.

Revised Business Goal
CSRs will correctly escalate calls, in order to increase call satisfaction ratings.

This is much better than the original goal, because:

  • It includes a concrete result (increased call satisfaction ratings)
  • It describes how the result can be achieved by doing something (correctly escalate calls), rather than knowing something (the call escalation process)

Note: we also removed the words “At the end of this course” from the business goal, because they imply that training is the only way to achieve the goal. We’ll discuss this more in Part 3 of this series.

Make it SMART
In the Crafting a goal part of the first Design Series Challenge, we reviewed how to create SMART goals. (Reminder: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.)

Example of a SMART Goal for a Restaurant

Increase wine sales during dinner service by 20% in 2019, compared to 2018.

This goal is SMART because it is:

  • Specific: The goal targets wine sales during dinner service
  • Measurable: 20% over 2018 sales is a measurable amount
  • Attainable: The increase is realistic based on industry data
  • Relevant: Wine sales are low compared to other menu items
  • Time-Bound: The goal must be accomplished in 2019

Let’s see if we can make our revised goal, CSRs will correctly escalate calls, in order to increase call satisfaction ratings, SMARTer.

Is the goal Specific?
No. It doesn’t say how much to increase call satisfaction ratings, or how many calls should be escalated.

Is the goal Measurable?
Yes. Supervisors complete an assessment of escalated calls to track whether escalation criteria were present.

Is the goal Attainable?
Yes. Escalating calls correctly is possible, realistic, and is within the CSRs’ control.

Is the goal Relevant?
Yes. The company’s analysis showed that caller satisfaction is influenced by rapid resolution of problems, and that escalation of certain calls decreases problem resolution time.

Is the goal Time-Bound?
No. There is no date by which caller satisfaction ratings should be increased.

Put It All Together
We’ve added the result, and made our goal SMART. The client used their extensive call data to come up with the missing metrics, resulting in the final version:

Revised SMART Business Goal
Increase satisfaction ratings from 67% in 2018 to 90% in 2019, by maintaining an escalation ratio of 40% of all calls (+/- 2%), with at least 95% of escalated calls meeting escalation criteria.

Note: While they cannot yet determine which of the calls that weren’t escalated should have been, achieving the 40% escalation ratio with minimal error should mean that most calls are being escalated appropriately. The client agreed to later brainstorm ways of identifying the missed escalations.

Next: Identifying Actions
Now that we have determined our business goal, we can determine exactly what actions the company must take achieve that goal. That’s our next blog post !

Join the Conversation
Tell us about your experiences crafting business goals and ensuring they are SMART goals. Please share in the comments below.


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