Next week (2-6 October) is National Customer Service Week.
Customer Service Week is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the critical role customer service plays in running a successful business.
Of course, customer service plays a vital role at any time of year, not just during customer service week.
But if nothing else it provides the perfect opportunity to put customer service in the spotlight.
As you and I know, delivering great service and a memorable customer experience starts with your team.
here are 10 ideas for raising the profile of customer service and engaging your team in the whole customer experience.
1. First impressions
You probably already do some activities involving your team in the customer journey (and if you’re not, now might be a good time to start!).
Take them a step further back and ask them to review the very first customer service to touch points. These might be a Google search, your website (how clear as it, how easy is it to navigate, contact you, etc), telephoning you (how quickly the phone is answered, what happens out of hours, how messages are taken, etc), signage to your property, etc.
Get them to identify what’s good, but what could be better. Get a plan in place to make these improvements. The good thing is you’ll already have their buy in if they’ve suggested them
2. Opportunity knocks
Prepare a flipchart with a list of all the touch points on your customer journey down the left-hand side. Divide everyone into small teams and allocate each team 2-3 touch points.
Give each group a stack of Post-it notes and ask them to identify as many opportunities as possible for adding value or up-selling to customers at the touch.
3. Internal service superstars
You may already have something in place for recognising good service for your front of house/customer facing teams. But what about those who beaver away behind the scenes supporting your customer facing teams.
Set up ways for your internal customers to put forward internal service superstars.
4. Learn from mistakes
Ask your team to analyse any negative customer reviews, be they feedback forms, social media or direct customer feedback. Set them the task of analysing what led to the customer’s perception (even if in their eyes it was unfounded), what can be done to minimise the risk of this happening again, and what actions they can take responsibility for.
5. Back of house perspective
It’s easy for those who are customer facing to get accustomed to flaws in the system. Allocate one aspect of your service to each of your back of house team to experience it from a customer’s perspective.
Not only will you provide you with invaluable feedback, it gives them an opportunity to understand more about your customers’ experience (and depending on your services could be giving them a bit of a treat into the bargain).
6. Service champions
Nominate team members to be ambassadors or champions the different aspects of the customer experience, building on personal strengths. This works best when people volunteer for the role or are nominated by their peers.
Being a champion gives them pride in what they do and they will appreciate that you’ve recognised that they do a good job. This allows the champions to delve deep into the task, plus gets their buy-in.
7. Feedback on performance
Is only natural that people will put more effort into things that get measured than those that don’t. So if all your emphasis is on the bottom line or productivity, guess what? That’s what people will focus on!
Set some metrics for evaluating service if you don’t have these in place already; ideally involve the team this. Make these a regular feature an agenda item for your team meetings.
8. Say thank you
Recognise and reward those who go the extra mile for customers. Not only does it show you appreciate their efforts, and also reinforces for others and demonstrates examples of best practice.
9. Simon says…
Do remember the game Simon Says, when everyone ends up copying what you do, rather than what you’re told to do?
Well, it’s the same with your team! Walk the talk. Ensure you and your management team are shining examples.
10. Last impressions
Ask your team to review the very last touch points from your customer’s perspective. If you’re selling a product, this might be when they come to use the product, or phone you with a query. If you’re selling a service this might be how well you demonstrate your appreciation of their business after the event. Anything that might impact the customer either positively or negatively.
Challenge each of your team to come up with one idea that would leave your customers with a positive binding memory or GLUE
Whichever of these activities you do, make sure you follow through. Get a plan in place to implement the ideas. The good thing is you’ll already have buy in from your team if they’re the ones who’ve suggested them.
So, what will you do next week to demonstrate your commitment to delivering great customer service?
Maybe you’re doing some or even all of these things all the time, so for you customer service week is just like any other week!
Here are some more ideas for customer service week.