A collection of articles written by Customer 1st

Celebrating Great Customer Service

23rd September 2011 | Posted in Reward and Recognition

As you read this blog, exciting things are happening all over the world. And in organisations, both public and private, customer service leaders and managers are preparing to celebrate National Customer Service Week with their staff and customers. National Customer Service Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of customer service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice. National Customer Service Week was founded by the UK's Institute of Customer Service, and it states: "This week gives employers an ideal opportunity to recognise the efforts and achievements of people working in customer service, particularly those involved in crucial frontline and customer-facing activities. It's also a chance for organisations to show they genuinely care about customers."

Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, says, "It's important that we all realise how, by working together and focusing on our customers, we can make a difference for them, our colleagues, and our organisations. This week provides organisations with an ideal platform to demonstrate to their customers that they are totally focused on the service they offer them."

The week also helps to:

  • Raise awareness of the crucial role customer service plays in building positive reputations and increasing customer loyalty
  • Show customers that organisations are committed to meeting and exceeding their expectations
  • Show colleagues how important customer service is within their organisation
  • Recognise and show appreciation to colleagues for their contributions and support
  • Boost morale and teamwork.

Last year, when I was invited over to the communications company MTN in Lagos, Nigeria, it was National Customer Service Week. I was amazed by how every member of staff I met was wearing a specially designed T-shirt, emphasising his or her commitment to "MyCustomer," the company's credo and putting the customer at the heart of all they do. Everyone was smiling and having fun, and the company had organised a different activity for each day of the week. The activities included staff and customer nominations for those they felt were customer service champions, customer service champion rewards for those who had gone the extra mile, a customer service quiz, and job swaps that enabled managers to truly understand the pressures of working in a call centre.

I went to Lagos to celebrate the success of those who had achieved our accredited online awards in customer service, and MTN gave special prizes to its top performers. Customers were invited to join in the celebrations, too, and every customer received a text thanking them for their support. MTN is the largest telecommunications company in the developing world, and I was humbled to see how committed its employees are to continually improving their products and services to meet the changing demands of their customers. They are, without a doubt, champions of great service in the developing world, staying very close to their customers.

We do have to remember that we need to value both our internal and external customers, remembering to say "thank you" occasionally—and National Customer Service Week allows us to do this, potentially involving everyone in the organisation.

Kim Kimber, group training manager of Morleys Stores Group, said, "We decided to celebrate National Customer Service Week for the first time last year. Each store in our group appointed an ambassador who drove events that included encouraging customers to write in about our service. During the week, our sales rose by 12% on the previous year, and we were inundated with positive comments."

I think the key benefits to the organisation are increased customer loyalty and staff retention. Individuals need to be appreciated, inspired, and motivated by their leaders, and, as we know, a high employee turnover does not make good business sense. It does not cost a lot to say thank you! You will find ideas on the Institute of Customer Service website, together with activities in which companies have participated. We all need a morale booster in this economic climate, and I can think of nothing better!