Customer Experience News & Trends

It’s National Customer Service Week: Last-minute ideas to celebrate each day

Customer Service Week

Welcome to National Customer Service Week! You still have time to pull together a celebration with these last-minute ideas — one for each day this week. 

The annual celebration kicks off today and runs through Friday, Oct. 9. 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.

Even if you haven’t heard of it, or if you’re putting finishing touches on celebrations, you can make an impact with meaningful events built around the key players: front-line service reps, sales professionals, customers and those who support your efforts.

“It’s the one week we set aside to say ‘Thank you’ to those who serve your customers, those who create experiences that have a significant impact on the bottom line of your businesses and your organizations,” says Bill Gessert, President of ICSA.

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

1. Monday: Go back to the beginning

You can get a free copy of the original proclamation signed by President George Bush, explaining the significance of the week and recognizing it as national event. Gessert and ICSA encourage you to share it with your front-line employees and customers.

It’ll help you explain where the notion originated and what you hope to celebrate this week — accomplishments of professionals who serve customers, great service stories and legacies, and goals for what is ahead in your customer experience journey.

2. Tuesday: Recognize people on the front line

Get the people who interact with customers — and are most often “the face of the organization” — excited about the week that celebrates what they do.

Set up a tailgate in your department, outside or near the break room. Ask people to bring in the games they already have — bean bag toss, 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 announce a tailgate pot luck on Monday.

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 made 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: Get everyone involved

Even if you start pulling things together Monday, you can plan something bigger and more special for Friday. Ask executives to visit your front-line service and sales pros Friday 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. Perhaps they can listen to calls or read through incoming customer emails and social media posts and see the professional responses from front-liners.

Plan a potluck around a theme employees pick early in the week. Or, if your budget allows, have a meal catered. Hand out awards, some quirky, some serious. For instance:

  • a toy-size ladder to the employee who always goes above and beyond for customers
  • a rubber chicken for the most flexible rep
  • a trophy to a “Loyalty Legend” — a person who takes extra care to build loyalty with customers, or
  • a stuffed horse for the “workhorse” employee who never gives up when satisfying customers.

See 16 more ideas here.

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