How to Celebrate Customer Service Week All Year
The goal of Customer Service Week, which began in 1984, is to recognize those who deliver great service and value to customers. And while the first full week of October is slated as a time to host staff breakfasts and contests, hand out prizes and swag, dress up and party down, it somehow falls short. The hardworking, customer-facing employees need – and deserve – more than the temporary excitement one week can provide. What’s more, if you essentially ignore this department all year, then try to win them over or boost engagement with one week of “fun,” your efforts will most certainly fall flat. Here are five ways you can support the important, essential work of customer service staff year-round.
Managers often tell employees to “go above and beyond” in order to surprise and delight customers, yet provide no means by which to do so. How easy it is for your customer service reps to offer a discount or gift card? For example, do they have to ask for permission to give $10 off in order to help sooth a disgruntled customer? Don’t bemoan low rates of customer satisfaction before you’ve made it easy for staff to fix problems themselves.
Remember that feeling when a teacher called on you in class, and you didn’t know the answer? Don’t put your customer service staff in that position by providing inadequate – or obsolete – training. Customer service is a stressful job in and of itself. Don’t add to it by skimping on training. Invest in ways to equip your team with new skills, as well as bolster those they already have.
Reinforce the Message
Customer service is the core of any business, no matter the size of your company. Your customer service philosophy, strategy, goals or motto should be well-known by every employee, in every department. Dedicate a few minutes (no more than 10) to an example of excellent customer service before dialing briefings and meetings. Use this time to touch on the “why” of customer service, how it affects the company overall and how it is everyone’s role.
Does your leadership roll up their sleeves and “dig in” during busy times? Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh works in the call center during the holiday season, taking orders and providing customer support. It’s not how much Mr. Hsieh gets done during these times, but rather the fact that he is seen doing what he asks others to do. It’s not enough to give a rousing speech before crunch time and then disappear into a back office. Managers have to be seen as part of the team in order to keep morale high.
Make Customer Service Central to the Hiring Process
Arguably the most important thing you can do to support excellent customer service – during Customer Service week and beyond – is to hire the right people. Throughout the recruiting and selection process, look for people who demonstrate a spirit of service attitude. For example, it should be obvious that not everything is about them, it’s also about other people. Hire people with the emotional intelligence required for great service.
While working to appreciate and recognize customer service staff is obviously a serious endeavor, don’t lose sight of the importance of fun. Ansafone hosts parties and special events for its contact center agents regularly. When done in tandem with other, behind-the-scenes, daily activities, these efforts go a long way in boosting morale and improving engagement. To learn more about how Ansafone can help boost your customer service, contact us today.