Is there anything special on your calendar this October 3-7? I sure hope so, because it’s Customer Service Week, a time observed by businesses worldwide to show extra appreciation and recognition to the employees who face the customers daily – the valuable people who interact with, serve, care for and provide support to your precious customers.
This year I propose we call it something new, a name reflecting the emotion that fuels employee motivation and leads to employee engagement: Customer Happiness Week!
Want more positive customer experiences? Start with more positive employee experiences. Want customer-facing people to live and breathe organizational values? Recognize both their achievements and their efforts, and show your appreciation often. Haven’t done enough? Start now!
Why go the extra mile for employees every day – and several extra miles during Customer Happiness Week?
- Happy Employees work harder
- Happy Employees solve problems quicker and more creatively
- Happy Employees spread their positive attitudes out to the customers
As I wrote in the intro to my “Create a Feel-Good-At-Work-Place” section of my Return On Happiness website:
“When people feel good at work, when leadership takes a personal interest, when people get a chance to do what they do best, get recognized and rewarded for a job well done they do better work.
“When the environment is three times more positive than negative, when people have friends at work, know what’s expected of them and know that someone will notice them doing things right more often than they find them doing something wrong, they will do better work.”*
In other words, if you want your customer-facing employees to create exquisite customer experiences, use each day to create a capacity for more positive emotion in your organization. And during Customer Happiness Week go all out the way you would for any celebration!
You still have time to get a Customer Happiness Week game plan in place. The sooner you start the better, as you can facilitate the festivities from a relaxed, happy place within yourself that will add to the enjoyment. Here are some ideas to get you going:
Personal thank you notes: Want your Customer Service Staff to feel really happy? Kick off or end the week with a personal thank you note to each one – preferably hand-written. Be sure to spell each employee’s name correctly, and to write a line about what you specifically appreciate about him or her in creating loyalty-building customer experiences. This simple act creates a warm glow that can’t be beat! Let everyone know you see and value their strengths.
“Standing ovations.” Send lovely e-cards, or perhaps an email with “Urgent matter” in the subject line, which includes the link to a Standing Ovation You’ll just have to smile when you see and hear this – and your staff will, too!
Designate one day of the week as a “Stress Release Day.” Offer soothing, decaffeinated teas in the morning. Send a mid-morning email reminding everyone of the power of conscious, deep breaths in relieving stress and creating focus (this link can help you with that) Hire a local masseuse to provide massages throughout the day, or a meditation expert to hold a series of meditation circles your employees can attend in small groups. Send a mid-afternoon email filled with quotes on the importance of inner peace and consciously relieving stress. As employees leave for home, hand them aromatherapy candles or bath salts for your team to enjoy at home. You get the idea – create a day of relaxation and gratitude they’ll always remember!
Ask for and reward feedback. On Monday, set up a suggestion box asking for feedback. Have everyone fill out an index card answering the question: “What specifically do you need to be even better at serving our customers than you are now?” Have a big bowl of candy, fruit or other goodies near the suggestion box to draw people in to ponder the question and participate. Let them know that anyone who includes their name will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card or grand prize. At the end of the week, share the ideas you received and let everyone know their feedback is appreciated. If you can launch solutions for some of them right then and there, great! If not, give people an idea of when they will be addressed – and be sure to follow through. Then pick your drawing winner!
Identify their strengths. Research shows that people who are given the opportunity to use their strengths are more engaged, and happier in their work. People who get the opportunity to do what they do best simply enjoy work more. To find out more about “signature strengths” and to take free test (already taken by more than a million people go to http://VIACharacter.org Share the link and ask everyone to complete it, on work time, by the end of the week. Then have a powwow where everyone can share what they learned about themselves, and how they can use those strengths on the job. Pay close attention to this conversation, as you’ll be able to incorporate this information into your management skills. When we manage based on skills rather than weaknesses there is as much as a 60% increase in performance. Now that’s powerful!
Schedule a skill-building day. Book an outside expert who has a light-hearted touch for an afternoon to update staff skills in communications, conflict resolution or the latest developments in your industry.
Good eats! You generally can’t go wrong in treating staff to a lovely breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or be creative and hire a catering agency in formal serving clothes to walk around with trays of desserts. Better yet, have management bake their best dishes or treats and serve them to the team! Remember to deliver your service with a hearty smile.
Provide your team with ongoing resources and support. Pass on information from my tips as appropriate. Follow us on Facebook and join the continuing conversation and read some of the great articles I find in my searches. Start a customer service library or book club, and get your people hip to the latest thinking and innovations in their field. My little “Building Customer Loyalty” and other easy to read books are a good start.
Invest in yourself. Happy, motivated, engaged employees get and stay that way because they have managers who know how to create a great culture – a “Feel-Good-At-Work-Place.” If you want to be and do your best as a leader, you need to be on top of the learning curve. I offer a host of products that will take you there. Click on these links to learn more about:
In celebration of Customer Service Happiness Month, I’m taking $50.00 off my management self-study program, the Customer Care Coach® Simply enter Coupon code Mastery and get ready to take your skills to a whole new level on your time, at your pace. (As a bonus, you’ll get a special motivational email from me weekly to keep you on course!)
Bells & whistles. Have a budget for Customer Service Week giveaways and promotions? Here is one of our very favorite resources, the Customer Service Group at Alexander Communications.
Do something special for your customers too! Get your team on board now and start planning to do something for them AND something for you customers!
Let me know what you’re planning: “Like” my Facebook fan page and share your ideas!
*Do Happier People Work Harder? Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer, an independent researcher, answer this question in the New York Times article located here: NY Times by Amabile and Kramer are authors of “The Progress Principle.”