Customer Service Week is celebrated during the first full week of October. It’s an international event; the primary purpose being to stress the importance of customer service and to recognize those associates in the field who support customers every day of the year. The five main goals highlighted in this special week are:
- Boost morale, motivation and teamwork
- Reward frontline reps
- Raise companywide awareness of the importance of customer service
- Thank other departments for their support
- Remind customers of your commitment to customer satisfaction
I thought it would be appropriate to recommend action items that would help meet each of these objectives. Let’s look at the first one.
Boost Morale, Motivation and Teamwork
In every organization or company, the customer is the most important asset. And, who speaks to, listens to and gets feedback from the customer? Most often it is the frontline service associate, whether in a retail store, restaurant, or when fielding complaints or concerns, the call center. Historically customer service associates are the lowest paid employees, and are viewed as a cost and not an investment. However, by implementing some of the following suggestions, any business can become more customer-centric and ultimately generate higher profitability.
I have found that sharing the company’s strategy, financial performance and how each department supports common goals with all customer service associates is highly beneficial. Many business entities hold periodic town-hall webinars led by company leaders. Make sure that associates at every level are provided with the time to listen to these essential company messages, discuss them in detail at subsequent staff meetings, and address any questions or concerns.
Talk to the frontline associates
Everyone likes to feel that they are valued and not taken for granted. Having senior executives spend time listening to calls, or sitting down with chat agents from a call center or talking to checkout clerks or other frontline associates serves three objectives. First, people in leadership positions will quickly understand how critical each transaction is to the customer and how it contributes to the overall perception of the customer. Secondly, the associates will know their job is important. Lastly, hearing executives such as the CEO or COO talk about what they learned from listening to frontline staff will make everyone in the company more aware of the value of the customer service role in the organization.
Encourage Customer Service Associates to Visit Other Company Departments
One of the best ways to enable customer service associates to feel appreciated is to arrange for periodic visits to other areas within the company. By providing the opportunity for representatives to view how various departments operate, especially those that directly affect customer service, will create a better picture of the way the company works and will also make the associate understand how their roles are an integral part of the organization.
All New Executives Should Tour Customer Service
When new executives are hired and participating in their own orientation, having them spend the first day in customer service will demonstrate the importance of each customer touch point. First impressions are key in any situation and learning how customers are being served from day one, will clearly validate the commitment to walk the talk.
In any organization, it’s communication that can make the difference between a well-run and highly motivated team, and one that is operating in a vacuum. The more interaction everyone has with members of customer service, the greater the opportunity for any company to create an atmosphere that will automatically boost morale, motivation and generate true teamwork.