OTHER VOICES: How are you celebrating customer service week?
By Shep Hyken
ST. LOUIS (Oct. 3, 2014) — In 1984 the International Customer Service Association started National Customer Service Week as a way to recognize and reward those people and companies focused on customer service.
In 1992 President George H.W. Bush signed a proclamation declaring that the first week of October would be National Customer Service Week, making it “official.” Since that time, many companies have been celebrating the week in many different ways, with a common theme that demonstrates the importance of customer service.
Is your business doing anything special for “Customer Service Week?” Let us know: Send your comments to [email protected]. Or post a comment below.
So, what can you do to celebrate the upcoming National Customer Service Week, Oct. 6-10? All you have to do is Google the term and you'll find many suggestions and examples of how companies from all types of industries are celebrating. But, to make it easy, here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Theme of the day: Some companies provide a theme for each day. For example, the Institute of Customer Service recommends the following:
Monday — Understanding your customer;
Tuesday — Easy to do business with;
Wednesday — Dealing with problems;
Thursday — Business impact of customer service; and
Friday — Recognition.
- Food: Everyone has to eat. And when a company decides to bring in food, everyone seems to be happy. Kick off the week with an event around lunch. This is a great time to gather people together and remind them that without customers, you probably won't have a business. And it doesn't have to be a meal. It can be donuts in the morning or an ice cream snack in the afternoon.
- Express gratitude: Take the time to write thank you notes to your customers. It can be a brief handwritten card. It's the thought that counts. One idea is to give note cards to every employee and have them write a note to several customers. This is especially important for the employees who don't have direct contact with customers.
Give them the names and addresses and suggested wording of the card. For example, “Dear Bob. My name is Sally Smith and I'm in our company's shipping department. We've never met, but I wanted you to know how much all of us at the XYZ Company appreciate your business….” You get the idea.
- Tell the story: This is one of my favorites. Ask employees to submit their best example of customer service they provided to either an internal or outside customer. Share the examples by publishing to either a printed document or online. As an alternative, rather than have employees talk about their own examples, have them share a story about how one of their fellow employees delivered amazing customer service.
- Celebrate with customer service training: Take this week to refocus your training efforts on customer service. Kick off or revive your organization's customer service initiative with a speaker or some type of customer service training.
By the way, my personal feeling is that some type of customer service training should be ongoing throughout the year. Not just once a year.
(You also might want to check out some customer service suggestions on the CSWeek.com website.)
Here are a couple of other thoughts: Remember that everyone has customers — not just the front line. So, don't forget about your internal customers. And most important: The focus on customer service shouldn't be just for a week. It should be all year, every year!
Shep Hyken operates St. Louis-based Shepard Presentations L.L.C. and is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author who periodically contributes columns to Tire Business. He can be reached at 314-692-2200 or via his website. Information on his customer service training programs is available by clicking here. This piece originally appeared in his e-newsletter, The Shepard Letter. Follow him on Twitter: @Hyken
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