It’s not too soon to start planning. Customer Service Week (Oct. 1-5, 2018) is THE time to celebrate your service providers, the ones who manage customers with finesse, creating strong customer relationships and solving customer problems, every day. Acknowledging your team with appreciation and celebrating their talent empowers them and ultimate impacts the customer experience.
Here are suggestions for each day of the week. Start preparing now to put one or all of these ideas into action.
Appreciate your staff. Plan a “Thank You” gathering with your staff on Monday morning. Serve delicious breakfast food and really good coffee. Use this time to express genuine appreciation to employees, even those who aren’t customer-facing, for their part in creating strong and loyal customer relationships.
Announce a theme for the week. Some ideas include:
- Trust and Transparency
- Exceeding Expectations
- Every Point of Contact Counts
- Put Love in the Details
- Long-term Win-Win Relationships
Talk about how the theme applies to your staff and the overall customer experience.
If possible, take a few minutes to thank each employee individually in front of the group so they get to feel seen and appreciated. Then, if you have time, read testimonials and positive feedback that you’ve received from customers.
For Remote Staff:
If your team works remotely, consider sending them a gift card – perhaps to their favorite coffee shop – with a handwritten thank you note. Then, if schedules allow, host a video-conference with the entire team to express your appreciation.
Encourage the team to appreciate each other. Put up a bulletin board up in the office kitchen area, with colorful notes and pens nearby – or use an existing whiteboard, if you have one – to encourage the team to acknowledge their fellow team members. Ask each staff member to write three quick notes by the end of the day – just one or two sentences about how their peers support the team and customers. Use the theme you picked to get specific about what to appreciate.
At the end of the day, host a sundae bar (with tasty alternative treats for those who are gluten-free or on a diet) and encourage them to read the notes on the board.
For Remote Staff:
If your staff works remotely, use a Google document or Facebook group to give the team the opportunity to acknowledge those who have helped and supported them.
Host a Coloring Contest with Prizes!
Gift your team with an Adult Coloring Book and colored pencils.
(Of course, I recommend my newest bestseller, Color Their World: The Art of Creating Strong Customer Loyalty.)
Coloring books help team members relieve stress, and become more resourceful and creative. Use it to host fun activities that spark employee engagement.
Buy each team member a copy of the coloring book “Color Their World” or some other coloring book in advance. Pick a page and ask them to put their name on the back, color it and post it on a bulletin board by the end of the week.
Sidebar: Each of the 25 coloring pages in Color Their World has a sentence starter that gets the team thinking about the many ways they grow customer loyalty and support their team. Example pages include:
- I make a good first impression by …
- To make my written communication friendly and effective, I …
- The best customer service advice I ever got was …
- The nicest compliment a customer ever gave me was …
- I feel most supported by my team when …
- What I do to anticipate a customer’s needs is …
Host a snack bar, setting up a table with a variety of items like granola, berries, dried fruit and nuts, with colorful bowls and spoons so everyone can make their own mix. Distribute the coloring book and colored pencils at that time and announce the Coloring Contest.
At the end of the week, gather together and ask team members to share how they’d finish the sentence starter on their page. Their answers will spark meaningful conversations that encourage the entire team to appreciate what they’re doing right while up-leveling their service skills.
At the end of the week announce prize winners for most creative coloring. You might even invite a panel of your best customers to pick the top three coloring pages. Then, give prizes for the first, second, and third prize winners.
For Remote Staff:
If your team works remotely, ship them the coloring book from Amazon.com and have them take a photo of their finished coloring page to be placed in the contest. Then, consider creating a video of everyone’s artwork during the prize winners announcement and send it out to the team.
Invite transparent conversation. Does your team share the good, the bad and the ugly with the leadership team? Do they trust you to act in their best interests? Set up an anonymous survey tool, asking your staff to share three things – what the leadership should stop doing, what they should be doing that they’re not, and what they need to do more of – and share the link with the team on Thursday morning. Ask them to complete the survey by mid-afternoon. (Send a reminder about a half hour before that predetermined deadline so no one forgets to participate.)
At the end of the day, host a refreshments hour and talk through the feedback that came in. (You can do this on a live webinar if your team members work remotely.) Address staff concerns you uncover with authentically and curiosity. When possible, lead the team to create solutions for these concerns. If you can’t address a specific concern due to budget or other considerations, explain these reasons to the team. People can accept reality more readily when it’s shared with them.
Create camaraderie by sharing stories. Host a catered company lunch and take turns sharing stories of outrageous customers and the service strategies your team used to manage their issues. Encourage the team to find the humor (and lessons) that these customers bring. Be sure to lead the conversation so that it stays focused on how the team was able to get even difficult customers to turn into loyal fans. Keep the focus on the team’s positive results and be prepared to redirect if things start veering off into negative territory.
For Remote Staff:
If your staff works remotely, you can do this activity on a video conference call. If the team doesn’t often work together, encourage team members to share their own stories about how they handled challenges that led to positive results.
Marilyn Suttle is a customer service expert, motivational speaker, and three-time bestselling author. She coauthored, Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fanm and authored the fun and disruptive activity/coloring book, Color Their World: The Art of Creating Strong Customer Loyalty. Marilyn delivers humorous, results-driven keynotes and workshops, inspiring her clients to excel by creating strong, productive relationships in every area of life. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org