Did you know there is an official Customer Service Week to highlight the work of customer service employees? Customer Service Week is not specifically only for contact centers but many across the country have adopted it is their own holiday.
By a resolution of the United States Congress and proclamation by President George Bush in 1992, the first week in October was named Customer Service Week. From the Proclamation, "A business will do a better job of providing high quality goods and services by listening to its employees and by empowering them with opportunities to make a difference. Customer service professionals work in the front lines where a firm meets its customers; where supply meets demand. With responsive policies and procedures and with simple courtesy, customer service professionals can go a long way toward ensuring customer satisfaction and eliciting the next round of orders and purchases."
Today starts Customer Service Appreciation Week 2017, what my team refers to as, simply, CSAW (pronounced see-saw). This is our fourth CSAW at my current company. When I first arrived, they hadn’t heard of CSAW, now, my team are pros at it!
Even though I believe we do a great job celebrating the awesome work our customer service team members do all year long, we always celebrate CSAW with a bang! Every year we come up with a theme and decorate the department based on the theme. We also try to tie the activities throughout the week, the prizes we give away, and the food we bring in to the theme.
This week is a special week where we get to celebrate an awesome team. Our agents work hard every day to provide our customers with a great experience. I am incredibly proud to work with this group of talented and thoughtful people every day, supported by an organization full of people that treat customers better than anywhere else I have ever worked. One of the things I love about working in a contact center is that it is truly a team effort. As a leader, I never lose sight of the fact that I am truly measured by the work that our agents do.
I appreciate my team very much and I love celebrating them all week! I am so proud to work alongside this team every day. They so often go out of their way to help our customers, both external and internal. They work hard to identify roadblocks to providing great service and are constantly looking for ways to reduce customer effort. They are incredible advocates for our customers and are not afraid to escalate an issue if needed to help satisfy a customer. One of our tenets is that we treat customers better than any other company and I am proud of my team for accomplishing this every single day.
This year’s theme is “A week at the beach". We have adorned the department with beach decorations (minus the sand). We'll play games throughout the week, like reason-for-call or city bingo. Every day there will be prizes and food. Some days it’s lunch, or snacks in the morning, or a treat in the afternoon. Given our beach theme this year we'll be serving some really fun mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails). We’ll be ending the week with an authentic Hawaiian bar-b-que. We are lucky to have a co-worker from another department that just happens to be an amazing bar-b-que cook and, thankfully, his speciality is traditional Hawaiian bar-b-que. Well, even more thankfully, he agreed to help us cook.
Throughout the years, I have learned a few things that have improved our Customer Service Week celebrations.
- Get feedback from team members every year and use it to inform what we do in the following years. My leadership team and I take feedback from our team members very seriously and every year we learn a couple of ways to improve CSAW. We generally ask for feedback throughout the week and we follow up with an anonymous survey the week after CSAW. As with other employee surveys, we share the results with everyone and communicate what we learned from them.
- Identify one or more things that we can continue to do even after CSAW is over. Every year we try out new activities during CSAW. Some work well and some land flat.
- Get other departments involved. We use CSAW as a reminder for us to market the good we’ve done internally. We have found that other departments enjoy helping us celebrate just as much as we do.
- In the years when I had no money in the budget for CSAW I always found a way to do something. That’s how I started the practice, many years ago, of hand-writing thank you notes to all of my employees, even as my organization grew and it took me weeks to finish them all. I have always enjoyed this ritual and still do it today.
To my co-workers, thank you for all you do for our customers all year long. Your attention to detail and willingness to do your part to ensure their expectations are exceeded make you the best in the business. Thank you for your contributions to our department and to our company. I am proud to work alongside you! I hope you have a fun week!
To my fellow contact center employees all over the US, Happy Customer Service Week! I’d love to hear how you’re celebrating, please reply with your comments - I enjoy stealing great ideas!
Article also posted on LinkedIn - linkedin.com/pulse/customer-service-appreciation-week-2017-matt-beckwith/