Good goals vs. Bad Goals

Companies that are serious about customer service set goals that motivate employees and allow them to evaluate how well they're doing. But beware - not all goals are created equal! Some will help drive the desired results while others can inadvertantly contribute to poor performance and bad behavior.

A notepad with the “Goals” written at the top.

The Motivational Impact of Goals

Goals can often cause people to focus their work and increase the intensity of their effort. Goals tend to foster positive behaviors such as innovation, teamwork, and healthy competition.

This short video highlights how goals can influence behavior. You'll also notice that a good goal itself is powerful enough to motivate people without an external reward like a prize or bonus.

Three Attributes of Good Goals

Setting appropriate goals requires some careful choices or you'll end up motivating people to do the wrong thing. Good goals have three distinct characteristics:

  • Focuses attention on the desired results, rather than diverting attention from the big picture.

  • Promotes teamwork rather than rewarding selfishness.

  • Relies on intrinsic, or internal, motivation to driver performance rather than external rewards.

This short video provides a more in-depth explanation of the difference between good and bad goals:

Use SMART Goals to Focus Your Team

The most powerful customer service goals follow the SMART model. SMART is an acronym that stands for five qualities every good goal should have:

  • S = Specific

  • M = Measurable

  • A = Attainable

  • R = Relevant

  • T = Time-bound

This tutorial video provides a more in-depth explanation of SMART goals and transforms a weak, "squishy" goal into a solid example: