Have a Customer Service Week

“We shall serve for the joy of serving; prosperity shall flow to us and through us in unending streams of plenty”. – Charles Fillmore

The sentiment echoed by this quote truly embodies what happens to businesses that truly appreciate their customers. The truth is, whether businesses acknowledge it or not, that they will prosper or be doomed extensively based on the customer service they provide. The time that businesses lose sight of this fact and the sanctity of treating their customers like royalty, they are moving very rapidly towards inevitable downfall. It does not suffice to know that customers are extremely vital, it is equally important to show them that they are. Celebrating a customer service week is truly complementary to this sentiment. Rewarding your best customers, recognizing all your customers, distributing rewards to your customer service staff – is about having a customer service week. Your customer service representatives are the people who front end with customers, bear the brunt of managing a host of irate customers, dealing with issues and loads of other stressful activities that can never be easy.

Recognize all those people who are directly or indirectly involved in customer service. For customers it translates to telling them how grateful your company is to them for giving you the opportunity to serve them and that all your processes and operations revolve around them. A customer service week is about reiterating all that customers know about you and what you know they would like to hear. It is about telling your customers that you are committed to make every interaction memorable for them. When we say customers, we don’t mean only those who buy from your company, we also mean those who partner with you in making your success possible – the vendors and suppliers too. Customer service week then becomes a wholesome experience, draws all those connected with service together and the culture of service is reinforced through the entire company. Such a celebration is energizing and has a tremendous impact on employee morale.

Have you had a customer service week? There are a number of ways to ‘celebrate’ but the events and ideas must be implemented flawlessly to gain complete leverage from them.

– Create a buzz before the actual service week. Form a core team – usually members from HR, Customer service, Business Development, Sales & Marketing and some senior leaders would be part of this core team. Sending out emails, conducting polls to establish the star customer service performer or performers, hang up posters and banners and more such activities create enough hype to head in to customer service week.

– During the actual service week, decorate the office and maybe even distribute a smiley badge with ‘Customer Service Week’ written over it. Ask the staff to don it so that everyone remains aware and energized of their role in customer service.

– Have a company-wide treat for all your employees. A kick-off party sets the mood for the week to come. As a special appreciation for the customer service teams get some senior leaders to take them out to lunch.

– Have an all-employee meeting where all the excellent comments and not so complimentary ones from customers must be announced. This is when distributing rewards to the top customer service performers must be done – this reinforces the importance and merits of serving customers with the highest levels of customer service. Important data such as number of calls received and handled successfully, increased business due to better customer service; positive results of better service and so on must be shared with all.

– Acknowledge with names all those who may have contributed in any way to making customer service better. Receiving certificates and small tokens of appreciation make a huge difference to people especially when it happens publicly.

– Let everyone know who your customers are. Ensure that your company sends out thank you cards or personalized handwritten notes to each customer. Connect your customers with the customer service team by sending their picture to the customers.

– Based on a day’s data, place a card and or a certificate at the desk of the top performer for the day. When the person (s) walks in next morning, it would have a major impact on their morale and will make them strive to do even better.

– Have fun games and activities planned within the customer service department that will build team work and reduce the stress of the work. Reward the winners of the games and also acknowledge all who take part.

Customer service week is all about reinforcing service levels within the company. Based on data collected over a year, announce the Customer Service Representative of the Year. This person must receive substantial rewards – this works in making the person want to do better and also influences others to step up if they would like to receive this reward. Recognizing consistent good performance in customer service ensures that your company’s customer service levels keep reaching new heights through your employees. Each one must strive towards providing the kind of customer service that is unforgettable and has customers coming back repeatedly and also has them bringing their friends to do business with you. There are many players in the market who are providing similar products and services – but to make a serious positive impact it is vital to deliver outstanding customer service consistently. Celebrating customer service week is recognition of this fact.

Having a customer service week also reiterates and reinforces the idea of inter-departmental cooperation. No department can work well without cooperation from another. In large companies, especially, forming bonds or relationships between teams is near impossible in everyday working. That is why having such a service week is vital. It brings members from all teams together in a less formal and serious environment. Being able to see other team members in a different light can foster relationships and build team spirit. It is a great idea to have inter-department off-sites and or lunches and dinners. Organize these events with events that will encourage each person to get an understanding of the others work, challenges and goals. Customer service week must be aimed at breaking the silos that each team works within during normal working hours and recognize each ones contribution towards the success of customer service and thereby to the company.

Each company can decide on activities and events based on what works best for them. However, each event and activity must work as reminders that without great customer service there will be no customers and without customers, no business and no jobs. Customer service week is about encouraging people to give their very best and be constantly aware that their actions have an impact – positive or negative – on how the company is viewed by customers and other stakeholders.

Customer Service Week helps to reiterate that serving customers is not just the job of the customer service team and the senior management. It is everyone’s responsibility since in direct and indirect ways everyone is helping to deliver products and or services to customers. Customers know your company as a whole and not as individuals. Everyone must feel equally responsible and connected with the ultimate goals and success of the company.

Great customer service comes from everyone in the company wanting it. There are no rules to let people know what should come from the heart. Customer service week is about making known this fact – serving customers because it is the right thing to do as the customers depend on them. There will be many occasions where important customers visit the office premises and how they are greeted and the feel of the office very often determines whether they would like to do business. As an example I had a friend who was not at a senior level in the company but was often the life of the office. She had a ready smile and was willing to assist anyone who needed help. Her mantra was simple – everyone is important. On an ordinary day, she was making her way around the office and happened to see this one individual struggling to operate the coffee machine. She went over without knowing who the person was (large company you see), took the spilled over coffee mug from the gentleman and provided him with tissues to wipe his hands. She then proceeded to make a mug of coffee for the person, neatly and deftly. This was despite the presence of the staff helper in the pantry. She handed the mug to the person who seemed genuinely pleased and amazed at what he had just witnessed. She made nothing of it and went back to work. The next day there was a company meeting and she was pleasantly surprised to hear that the gentleman was an extremely important customer and saw her act as a definition of what they could expect from the company. They had given their business to the company. By showing care and concern under every circumstance and even when something is not considered ‘my job’ she had told the customer that this is what the company was all about!

Enough said!

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