Customer Experience News & Trends

Customer Service Week alert! It’s always a good time to plan

National Customer Service Week happens every year, and we have ideas you can use to get ready.

The annual celebration is the first full workweek of October each year. 2019’s official theme: Every Experience Counts.

That comes from the International Customer Service Association (ICSA), which established the week-long event in 1984 and lobbied for Congress to proclaim it an official national event in 1992.

You can work on ways to recognize the week or schedule for an all-out celebration of the customer experience. Make an impact with meaningful events built around the key players: front-line service reps, sales professionals, customers and those who support your efforts.

“Take time this week to recognize your employees – also known as your internal customers – to recognize their hard work and commitment to excellent customer service,” says Shep Hyken, Advisory Board Member at the ICSA.

Here are easy-to-implement ideas for each day:

1. Monday: Have a rally

Hyken suggests a rally – almost like a toned-down high school pep rally – that includes as many people in your organization as possible. You might plan a kickoff potluck (or catered luncheon) around the ICSA theme or one employees pick.

If you can’t get everyone at your rally, you might:

  • ask executives to visit front-line service and sales pros any day during the week and personally thank them for their everyday efforts
  • invite colleagues from other departments to stop by, too, and offer to show them how you help customers – they could listen to calls or read customer emails and social media posts and see the professional responses from front-liners, and
  • keep refreshments in your work area to give them all more incentive to stop by.

2. Tuesday: Tailgate with the front line

Get the people who interact with customers – “the face of the organization” – excited about the week that celebrates what they do.

Set up Tailgate Tuesday in your department, outside or near the break room. Ask people to bring in the games they already have – corn hole, ladder ball, disc toss – and invite them to wear their favorite sports team attire (if it’s appropriate in your office). Either bring in and cook hot dogs and burgers on an outdoor grill, arrange for a food truck to show up at your offices or schedule a tailgate pot luck.

If everyone can’t celebrate together, have supervisors make personal visits with a tailgate treat – snack, gift card, dollar store stress ball – and a personal thank you for specific work each employee does.

3. Wednesday: Thank customers

Start by answering phones and email messages differently. Say or write, “Thanks for contacting me on National Customer Week. What can I do to help?”

Use social media to thank customers, as well. You can use a smartphone to make a quick video of the service team thanking customers for their business. Ask reps to post a short message about loyal customers and how they’ve enjoyed working with them over the years.

Give service and sales pros time to write a few personal thank-you notes to customers whom they’ve connected with or helped through a complex issue in recent weeks.

Thank customers for their patience, business, flexibility, continued trust or persistent loyalty.

4. Thursday: Recognize the supporters

Every group that helps customers is backed by droves of people behind the scenes. Thank those in Finance, who help take care of payment issues; those in Fulfillment, who make sure orders get special attention; those in Production, who handle all the details; and those in Design who bring ideas to life, etc.

One sales department sends lunch – and their thanks – to their colleagues in Service. At another company, service reps who enjoy baking make goodies for colleagues in the departments they rely on most. One group spends a little time after co-workers leave and decorates their work area and leaves a poster board-size thank-you card signed by everyone in Service.

You might keep those tailgate games up and challenge colleagues from another department to a tournament during breaks to foster continued teamwork. Create winner certificates for bragging rights.

5. Friday: Hand out awards

Whether you gather again first thing in the morning with bagels and coffee or at the local hangout for drinks after work, hand out awards, some quirky, some serious. For instance:

  • Ace of Initiative for the employee who always goes above and beyond for customers
  • Calmer of Storms for the employee who can settle even the angriest customer
  • Client Comforter for the one who always knows just what to say
  • Consider It Done for the colleague who always pitches in, and
  • Cruising and Crushing It for the one who makes it looks easy and never complains.

Bonus: Get 12 more last-minute ideas here.

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