Customer Experience News & Trends

16 Customer Service Week ideas to pull your celebration together

Customer Service WeekThe customer experience, and everyone involved in making it happen, are all about to get their due. Are you ready to celebrate National Customer Service Week? We have ideas to pull it all together now.

Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on celebrating National Customer Service Week or have never heard of it before, you can pull off some meaningful events that include all the key players: front-line service reps and sales professionals, marketers, customers, support staff and leadership.

The annual celebration kicks off Monday, Oct. 7. It’s 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.

Congress finally follows its directive

The government itself has taken its time catching onto the concept of outstanding customer service — the U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Government Customer Service Improvement Act, which requires certain government agencies to establish and abide by service standards, plus create a customer feedback system. But the private sector has embraced the customer experience and celebrated it for years.

ICSA dubbed the theme this year “United Through Service,” but many organizations pick a theme and use it as an umbrella for different initiatives each day. Meanwhile, many organizations celebrate the week with one or two days worth of events or just one special meal or break. It’s a matter of time and resources — and we have ideas that will fit into any situation.

You can try these ideas from organizations that have used National Customer Service Week to celebrate customers, service professionals and colleagues — as well as kick off initiatives to improve their operations in the coming year:

1. Be a hero Super Business Hero

The service team at one manufacturing company we know picked “We are Super Heroes” as their theme for celebrating this year. Reps get Marvel coloring books for doodling that is meant to help them put stress at bay. Plus, managers found a fun quiz that reps will take to help them determine which super hero they’re most like.

2. Be a TV star

At the Afni, Inc., Bowling Green, KY, contact center, managers host this original team competition one day during the special week: Dress as your favorite TV family. Some HR representatives judge the competition, and the winning team wins a group lunch. Most recently, a team dressed as the cast of Grey’s Anatomy — including an ill patient on a gurney surrounded by “doctors” — won the competition

3. Ready to serve

This idea works really well in 24-hour customer service operations. One center picks a theme and organizes a 24-hour potluck from midnight to midnight so fresh food keeps coming in throughout one day during Customer Service Week. The key to making it work especially well is a sign-up sheet and one guideline: Contribute as much as you partake.

4. Reward the craziness 121351327

Leaders at another contact center plan The Red Carpet Awards every year for Customer Service Week. They roll out a plastic “red carpet” from a party store, create homemade trophies and make up awards to recognize fun things reps did throughout the year. For instance, one rep was awarded the “John Travolta” trophy for his dancing at a company party.

5.  Invite your colleagues

At Glidewell Laboratories in Newport Beach, CA, the customer service team spends one day showing their appreciation for everyone else in the company who supports their efforts to help customers. Each rep brings in an item for a continental breakfast hosted in the department for all the other employees.

6. Hear more thanks

Sales presentationsA manager at IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., tries to get her colleagues in other departments to extend some thanks to her customer service team. She asks them to “sponsor” one day during Customer Service Week. The only requirement: Let the customer service team know how they positively impact their individual departments.

In the past, some gave the service group gift certificates to nearby stores. Others made them lunch. And nearly all of the departments within the company sent personal notes to thank reps.

7. Take some time off

Many organizations try to get their customer service pros out of the office together without jeopardizing service levels. One leader at Bali Co., Division of Sara Lee Intimate Apparel, puts out several notices to customers, letting them know that customer service will be a bit slower for a short time one day during Customer Service Week. Then he arranges for folks in other departments to handle calls and email, and take messages while the customer service team does a group activity — such as visit a botanical garden or the YMCA for team-building exercises.

More importantly, they talk about what they’ve done well in the last year and how they can use those lessons to do better in the coming year.

Bonus: Many customers who hear about Customer Service Week and the retreat send thank-you and encouragement notes that are read to the team that day.

8. Hide the fun 160350753

Jamie Kenney, sales manager at S&S Worldwide, and her management team hide about 200 mustaches around the company. Employees can turn them in for raffle tickets after they find them throughout the week in places such as the refrigerator, between reports, between paper reams, in the warehouse and under the copier. Then they can win prizes at the end-of-week raffle.

And they don’t waste those mustaches. Reps get to play “Pin the Mustache on the Manager,” during which reps are blindfolded and pin the mustaches on a poster-size photo of their leaders — who are mostly women, by the way.

9. Write and improve 147005621

At DigiKey Corp., the manager starts the week by asking reps to write a short essay explaining what the service mission and delivering great customer service mean to them. Executives pick the best essays and reward winners with gift certificates.

The best part: They go through the essays as a department and pull out ideas they can use to improve service in the coming months.

10. Bring in the top

One customer service team opens its department to the entire company one day during the week so reps can give tours and allow their colleagues to monitor calls, and see firsthand all the customer service department does for customers.

Before the open house, the manager tips off the company’s top executives on extra efforts or extraordinary performances by each rep. Then the executives use that information to personally thank reps for specific work.

11. Teach your colleagues

In another outreach effort, one service team uses the week to educate everyone in its company about helping customers — something nearly everyone ends up doing at one time or another. The team sends out a service tip via email each day. At the end of the week, the team gives colleagues a booklet with more tips — for reference throughout the year — and information on how different situations can affect customer satisfaction.

12. Strive for better results, see something outlandish

Reps at Consolidated Service Corp have fun every Customer Service Week — all while improving their performance. They enjoy food, celebrations and rewards, and set higher goals — which, when achieved, make company executives do outlandish things.

For instance, in the past, an executive worked from the roof of the building for a week after service reps smashed special performance goals set during Customer Service Week.

13. Boost learning

At Northeast Delta Dental, a manager uses the annual celebration to emphasize continual learning and improvement. She invites speakers to talk about quality standards and how customer service fits into the organization’s goals.

Then reps revisit their personal and department goals and what they could do to meet or exceed them. And then they create an action plan.

14. Kick back and hear how good you are

Customer relationship managementThis is fun and inspirational: The customer service manager at LifeCell Corp. once wheeled a large television and a popcorn machine into the department during a slow afternoon and told the team to relax a little.

Then, before starting a rented movie, she played a video of recorded messages from the company leaders and major customers thanking the customer service reps for all they do to help. The sales team helped gather the customer testimonials and the top brass was more than happy to give the shout-out.

15. Focus on customers, too

In addition to celebrating employees, banks often spend the week thanking their customers — the people who allow them to deliver great service. One gives the adults lollipops with attached thank-you messages.

Another puts out drinks and treats all week long, and when customers arrive, clerks ask them “Can I get you a refreshment?” Of course, they take care of customers’ banking needs, too. But the front-line service pros put an extra emphasis on customers all week.

16. Surprise customers

The customer service pros at Cincinnati Insurance Companies send personalized thank-you cards to customers for contacting them regularly throughout the year. Plus, they sent a coffee mug to every fifth customer they talked to during Customer Service Week.

A bonus for next year

You can put this idea in your cache for next year, since you’ll need a little more time to plan: Initiate a T-shirt swap with customers.

Reps as Sperian asked their customers to send them shirts with the customers’ company logos on them, which the reps wore during Customer Service Week. In return, reps sent an equal number of Sperian shirts to customers and a photo of the reps wearing the customers’ shirts with a big thank you for being loyal.

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