Customer Experience News & Trends

5 fun ways to plan for National Customer Service Week

It’s almost time to appreciate the customer experience. 

That’s right: Celebrate the people who make it happen and thank the customers who are the reason you do it.

National Customer Service Week kicks off this year on Monday, Oct. 1. It has been celebrated during the first full week of October since the International Customer Service Association (ICSA) established it in 1984. Congress then proclaimed it an official national event in 1992.

The week is focused on getting “businesses and organizations to deepen their understanding of the impact that the customer experience has on the satisfaction and loyalty of those customers,” says Bill Gessert, president of ICSA. “And, how that loyalty translates directly to the bottom-line success of the organization. Taking this a step further, the ICSA was looking to raise awareness of the impact that customer-facing personnel have on the customer’s experiences with your brand.

“And most importantly, we set this week aside to provide meaningful recognition to those service providers,” Gessert says.

Companies want to use the week to celebrate all the key players in the customer experience: front-line service and sales professionals, marketers, customers, support staff and leadership.

Bottom line: Leave no one unrecognized.

Here are five tips to prepare now and celebrate later.

1. Get a crew

Most customer service leaders say it’s best to get a group together to organize the week’s events. The extra hands are always welcomed, and asking front-line service pros for their input shows you value their opinions and want to make the week (at least, partly) a tribute to them.

2. Pick a theme

The ICSA creates a theme every year. Exceeding expectations! Every customer, every time!.

Of course, many companies take on their own themes, perhaps focusing more on building customer loyalty, thanking support staff or having fun. If you pick something now, you’ll have time to tie in the people, places and activities you’ll need during the October week.

3. Talk to customers

Many companies get customers involved in Customer Service Week, either by making special efforts to thank them for their business or asking them to be part of thanking the people who deliver great experiences.

For instance, one company gets customers to do short video testimonials, praising individual customer service reps or talking about how the service team has helped them succeed. Another company asks customers to send thank-you messages via email, on social media or via hand-written notes to the service team.

These aren’t things you can do at the last minute, so it’s important to start now.

4. Plan the week

Sure, everyone will still have to get the job done during that first full week of October. But most companies plan something special for every day. The ICSA suggests scheduling out something like this:

  • Monday. Kick it off by spreading the word that you’re celebrating service, customers and the experience. Send emails, put up banners and/or post it on your company intranet. Invite folks from other areas to visit to see customer service in action.
  • Tuesday. Trade places. Invite company leaders to your front-line customer service operations. Ask them to take a few calls or emails, and spend some time on social media (with a skilled service pro by their sides to guide them, of course). Also, ask the leaders to recognize the team for their year-round efforts.
  • Wednesday. Eat up. If not today, pick one day to have a group meal. Some companies get other employees to handle customer demand while the customer experience team can enjoy time together. Other companies just shut down service for a short time, letting customers know they’re celebrating hard work and when they’ll be back to help.
  • Thursday. Have fun. ICSA suggests a dress-up or dress-down day based on the opposite of what your normal dress code is. Or some companies pick a dress theme — sports teams, movie characters, favorite color, etc.
  • Friday. Recognize and reward everyone who makes the customer experience possible. Have a ceremony, picnic or all-out fun event with games and prizes. Recognize everyone, and reward the champions of excellent customer service.

5. Train

Many companies use Customer Service Week as a launch pad for new training or service initiatives. Some kick off service improvement campaigns. It’s good timing to focus on improvement and development because spirits are high, people are more open to change and everyone is getting recognized for the efforts they’ve put into the experience.

Review what’s gone well in the past year now so you can show everyone that last year’s new ideas and hard work paid off. Then they’ll be more willing to jump into a new initiative.

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