National Customer Service Week 2011: What’s Your Plan?

October 1, 2011

This week, October 3-9, marks National Customer Service Week (NCSW). NCSW was established by proclamation of President Bush (#41) in 1992. The beginning of the proclamation reads:

In a thriving free enterprise system such as ours, which provides consumers with a wide range of goods and services from which to choose, the most successful businesses are those that display a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Today foreign competition as well as consumer demands are requiring greater corporate efficiency and productivity. If the United States is to remain a leader in the changing global economy, highest quality customer service must be a personal goal of every employee in business and industry. (Read the full proclamation.)

Of course, if your organization is committed to the customer experience, every week should be customer service week; however, “official” weeks like this are a great opportunity to generate discussions with customers and team members and to take the time to do a little extra.

National Customer Service Week: A Roundup of Ideas

Thinking of doing something special for National Customer Service Week? Take a look at the ideas listed below from some great customer service minds. Included is my favorite idea from the author’s list and a link to the author’s full post.

Shep Hyken: Ten Customer and Employee Focused Ideas for NCSW
  • Once a day throughout the week, distribute an article about customer service to all of your employees. 

(Shep has some great tips on his blog you can use.)

Richard Shapiro: National Customer Service Week, Ten Tips for Repeat Business
  • Say hello and smile. In this era of technology, people are more stressed than ever. Getting a big, warm hello can go a long way in giving a customer the feeling of “Hey, this company is really happy to see me.”

(Perhaps turn this into a contest — which CSR can get the most “you are so friendly” compliments this week.)

The Official Customer Service Week Website: Tips for a Successful Celebration*
  • Distribute Certificates of Appreciation, Service Awards and small gifts… to those unsung heroes in other departments who make a great effort to meet customers’ needs.

(This website does sell commercial items for NCSW but also has some good information on the event.)

Kate Nasser: National Customer Service Week – Celebrate People Skills
  • Celebrate People-Skills. As your customer service teams celebrate with contests, parties, and picture taking, celebrate people skills (aka soft skills) with a thought for each day!

(Kate’s post was from last year’s NCSW, but I’ve been becoming a big fan of hers lately and loved her daily ideas).

One More Idea for National Customer Service Week

In addition to the ideas above, set aside a day or a morning/afternoon for an “Open Line to Management.” Have a manager and/or owner available to take calls from customers. Send out an email to your clients mentioning that, in honor of National Customer Service Week, we are setting aside a time to listen to our customers one on one. Encourage them to share any feedback they have, positive and negative. Possibly offer an incentive for anyone who calls.

So, had you heard of National Customer Service Week before? What was your favorite idea? Are you going to celebrate it in your business.

*link no longer active

21 thoughts on “National Customer Service Week 2011: What’s Your Plan?”

  1. If you are in the business of dealing with and serving customers, yes it should be happening all of the time. However, sometimes you are so far down in the weeds dealing with ‘opportunities’ it can be easy to lose that happy face.

    By recognizing it in some way and on a consistent basis, it should let the ‘troops’ know this is important and part of the culture. It all starts by hiring the right person in the first place but w/ some high turnover service industries you might not have the luxury of being perfect on every hire.

    Good post, good info; I’ll make sure my office knows about this week.

    1. Quite frankly, I used to not like these types of “weeks,” but in the end, they are an awareness tool. Just a way, as you say, to remind the troops in a more fun way of the importance of the cause — in this case, the customer experience.

      1. I’d like to think I celebrate it every day with my clients:) But I do have my first Mentoring group meeting (a program I initiated 8 years ago where I match early growth businesses with seasoned Mentors, and I host and facilitate monthly meetings) next week, so I’ll be sure to touch on this topic! Cheers! Kaarina

  2. I think the say hello and smile is my favorite idea. It reminds me of my days of yore when I used to work in retail. A friendly smile and a genuine hello went a long way in establishing rapport with co-workers and customers.

    1. It’s interesting — the smile — it’s so simple, yet not all that common. It’s really fun to use role playing when training people to focus on smiling. People don’t realize how unwelcoming they can seem, even when they feel they have a neutral expression.

      Thanks for stopping by Erin!

  3. I like what Mr. Richard Shapiro said best. People talk about bad customer service these days. Well, I’ve certainly had my share of bad customer service and attitude, but I’ve had some pretty darn good experiences too. The bad experiences have been in restaurants for some reason, but retail has been all smiles lately. And a cheery smile does go a long way. But they keep calling me “Sir” and that makes me feel old. It makes me wonder if something is in the air or the flailing economy makes customer service number one.

    1. Good point Craig. I think more retailers are starting to catch on, but in my area, I would say most still have a long way to go.

      “Sir”… Don’t get me started. The young lady at the dry cleaner calls me Mr. Toporek. I keep looking over my shoulder for my grandfather.

      Great seeing you Craig!

      1. I get the “Mr” treatment too. Funny thing is, my youngest son’s friends all call me Craig. Those crazy 11-year-olds. Might get a whack if I called an adult by their first name as a kid. 🙂

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  6. I like the smile idea. I personally also like if I am remembered by name and listened to. I know the doctor’s office is not the first business to think of when you talk about customer service, but I hate when I come to my family doctor and she doesn’t even know why I am there. A quick look into the chart that hangs in front of the exam room door would have solved that problem…be prepared for your customer.

    1. Carson, you make a great point. With a one-on-one service (like a doctor’s office) a few seconds of preparation can really make the difference in how the customer feels. If possible, know who you are speaking to and why.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  7. I’m not a big fan of these things. I’m referring to the “week dedicated to…” stuff. I guess it’s a way to raise awareness, but somehow it always leaves a question in my mind – And what are we going to do from Monday on? Go back to our old selves?

    Customer awareness is what differs a business from a failing business. People who don’t get it will just learn it the hard way.

  8. Thank you for including my article in your wonderful list. For the customer service/experience experts, consultants and speakers in the world, this is like a national holiday. Thank you again! BE AMAZING!

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