The world appears to be fixated on targets; sales targets and all manner of other targets relating to sales. I have been talking about these targets, as an interested purveyor of everything to do with sales and targets, to family, friends and business associates recently. And of course, paying attention to what is going on around me in different sales environments; I think ‘earwigging’ is the technical term.

Sales targets and their effect on customer service

Over the last six months I have heard:

  • “If we fail compliance on a sale, we lose all our commission”
  • “We have to convert 98% of our sales each month or we face a disciplinary”
  • “We have to make 125 calls a day or we go ‘on a plan’”
  • “We can have two, two-minute toilet breaks a day”
  • “If we don’t up-sell 95% of the covers, we are given a written warning”

Whilst I get that targets can drive a team, and lead to an upturn in profits for a business, do the above sound soul-destroying to you? The people behind these comments are living in constant fear of either losing their jobs or not getting paid. If the fear is real, which it is, and the employees are working hard, which we have to take as being the case, then the targets are unreasonable.

Employees under pressure to hit unachievable goals rapidly lose motivation and self-belief. Where will their attitude to good customer service be then? As long as they hit their daily target, they are not going to care. And who would blame them?!!

Unrealistic targets also affect a person’s mental wellbeing and can lead to long-term absenteeism, putting further pressure on the remaining workforce. But, I hear you say, these targets only happen in call centres and some people thrive in that environment. But ask yourself this: would a company make more money with reasonable targets and rewards that the whole team could achieve, or with a handful of top-achievers only, with so much emphasis on targets they’ve forgotten the core value of good service? It’s not a great plan for commercial longevity is it?

Here at Cultrix, we are proud to say that we understand the strains and stresses of working life and genuinely care about the wellbeing of our staff. We would rather reward our staff for going above and beyond to retain or win a new customer because they want to, not because they are in fear of what will happen if they don’t. At Cultrix you won’t ever get a grumpy advisor or someone who does not care wholeheartedly about the service we deliver.

Next up: how inflexible company policies affect customer service. And just in case you missed my last post: Is good customer service becoming a thing of the past?