After weeks of strategizing, your leadership team has created key customer experience goals for 2020. These might include increasing customer lifetime value, for example, or creating more personalized engagement. Maybe you want to drive more targeted team training and development. Whatever your goals are, you’ve entered the new year (and decade) with guns blazing. So, what now? One thing’s for sure: your success will ultimately depend on your understanding of the foundation of GOST: goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.
Don’t stop reading here. I know you have decades of experience under your belt. You’re educated. You’ve managed countless teams and don’t need to be told something so obvious. Except maybe you do. Maybe we all do. Research makes it abundantly clear that organizations are struggling to understand--really understand--customer experience. Qualtrics’ 2019 State of Customer Experience Management study found that only 2% of companies have a rating of providing excellent customer experiences. Seventy-two percent were either shown to offer “okay” or “good” experiences, and 81% said they will be focusing more on these efforts in 2020.
Consider where your organization stands. If you’re being honest, likely not in the top 2%. And that’s okay. This recognition is needed for creating lasting change. Having a solid understanding of goals, objectives, strategies and tactics is key for customer experience success. Here’s a quick breakdown before you begin pursuing your 2020 customer experience plans…
Goals vs. Objectives
“Goals” and “objectives” are not interchangeable phrases. A goal is the long-term outcome you want or need to achieve, while an objective is a measure of the progress needed for getting there.
Some goals are concrete in number, making them easier to measure and correlate objectives with. For example, if a goal is to increase customer retention by 40% this year, one objective might be to increase the amount of customer data you strategically leverage by 10%. Other goals are more abstract and will require clearly defined parameters. For example, if you’ve made it a goal to create a more inclusive workplace, you must first define what “inclusive” means. Does this mean more women in leadership positions? An increase in diversity? Greater autonomy? All of the above?
Strategy vs. Objectives
A strategy is the approach you take to achieve a certain goal. For example, for many businesses, customer experience is a strategy for achieving the goal of increasing sales. Objectives are measurable steps taken to drive the strategy to achieve the goal. In this case, where customer experience is the strategy and increasing sales is the goal, one objective could be to increase cross-selling and up-selling by 15% by year’s end. A strategy can shift and change over time, while objectives (which are targeted and number-focused) should not.
Lastly, there are tactics. These are the tools you develop or use to support your strategy and get closer to your objectives (and, subsequently, goals). Let’s stick with the example above (customer experience is the strategy, increasing sales is the goal, and objective is to increase upselling/cross-selling by 15%). A tactic or tool that can be used to support this strategy and get closer to this objective is conversational intelligence. This solution applies AI technologies like machine learning and speech analytics around voice conversations to generate key insights into customer interactions, providing agents with information to stay ahead of purchase intent and drive more targeted upselling and cross-selling.
The faster you come to understand GOST, the faster you can act to see real, measurable results. If you’re still confused, here’s a bottom-line breakdown:
Goals are used to help your business grow. They provide your business with a structured framework.
Objectives help you gain what must be accomplished to achieve your goals. A goal without objectives is just a dream. Objectives without goals is moving blindly without guided direction.
A strategy is the plan that will help you achieve your goals. These are not number-focused and can shift and change to best handle the goals.
Tactics are tools you use to pursue an objective associated with a strategy.
New year, new customer experience goals. Are you ready for 2020?