Showing appreciation for your customer service associates during one short period of the year - and nothing more – won’t move the needle on morale, performance or loyalty.
In 1992, the U.S. Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week to be a nationally recognized event to be celebrated during the first full week in October. However, appreciation is more than a token week. What is your company doing to ensure that this isn’t the only time of year that appreciation is expressed?
Customer Service Week is a BIG Deal
If you are, or have ever been, in a service-oriented group you know that the day-to-day responsibilities of your position can be challenging. At times you’re left with a feeling that you’re a tiny link in a very long chain, but the reality of the situation is that service-oriented departments are the life blood of any thriving organization. It’s proven that performance and productivity are directly correlated to associates feeling valued and empowered to do their best work every day. While it’s true that other areas of a company may get more attention on a regular basis without a strong team on the front lines, the business can’t succeed. Here’s how you can make customer service week (and beyond!), more meaningful for your associates:
- Prizes!!! Award real prizes like time off certificates, food, t-shirts. Your agents DO NOT need another branded pen. Give them something, anything that has the potential to make their day/week better.
- Cash is an easy way to show it but can’t be the only method of expression
- Empower them with the tools and resources to make decisions that positively impact the customer experience.
- Make them feel valued for the work they do every day. Help them understand how they are a part of the bigger picture. It will develop stronger teams and provide a sense of purpose.
- A “pat-on-the-back” from your direct Supervisor is always appreciated, but when certain milestones are achieved higher leadership should recognize the accomplishment
- Generate excitement and provide a sense of community and camaraderie. Make them feel proud to work in their assigned group/department.
- Monthly trophies for performance go a long way as long as they are always up-to-date and there is some sort of buzz when the trophy changes hands
- Provide a clear understanding of how their role contributes to the success of the business
- Regular updates on the business as a whole should be shared to all members of an organization
- Offer legitimate growth and development opportunities as well as recognition and reward
- Provide ongoing education to promote continuous improvement
How often do you put fuel in your car?
Every group will find their own unique way to celebrate customer service week and there is no wrong way to show appreciation, as long as you do it consistently and regularly. Showing your service team(s) that they matter is no different than fueling up your vehicle.
If you run on “empty” things will stop, but if you manage to keep your tank full, you’ll always be moving forward. In my experience, feeling truly appreciated is something that’s built over time, brick by brick. While Customer Service Week is undoubtedly important, it should serve as a platform to out-do yourself in a show of appreciation that happens on a regular basis.
Pick a card, any card
Regardless of how you choose to show appreciation doing it regularly, purposefully, and with meaning is key. Everyone has spent at least some time in a position where they may have been perfectly appreciated or not appreciated at all, both situations should have taught you the importance of feeling valued.
Originally published July 28, 2015 on ICMI, Customer Service Week Isn't Enough