It’s Customer Service Week. The one week a year where businesses feed their customer service reps endless amounts of candy, load them up with cheap tchotchkes bearing the company logo and reminding them there is no “I” in “team.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against rewarding team members for providing excellent customer service, I just don’t think we need to do it one week out of the year. It should be something businesses do every day of the year.
The customer service rep is one of the most important roles within an organization, but many employees, managers and even owners fail to recognize the importance of the CSR. A company is a faceless entity without a soul – the people who give the company a personality, a face and a beating heart are the ones on the front lines – the CSRs.
When a customer calls into a company with a question, comment or complaint, the CSR taking the call instantly becomes the company and sets the tone for how the customer will feel about it when the call is over. If their experience is a good one, the customer feels the XYZ Company cares about them. If they have a bad experience, well…. we know what happens.
A good customer service agent:
- Is empowered to make decisions that will result in keeping the customer satisfied (within company established guidelines).
- Realizes that every call is an important call, regardless how trivial the request/question is.
- Will go out of their way to ensure that every call they take results in a resolution that is satisfactory with the customer.
- Has the answers available without having to put the customer on hold numerous times during the call.
- Never rushes a customer off the phone.
- Treats each and every caller with the upmost respect, regardless of the tone of the call.
- Turns a possible negative situation into a positive.
Most importantly, a good customer service representative is someone you’re proud to have as an ambassador for your company.
Cultivate a culture of good customer service among your reps by:
- Empowering them to use their best judgement and experience in order to ensure a satisfactory outcome with the customer (within reason).
- Establishing a recognition program that rewards customer service agents who go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction.
- Giving them adequate time between calls to avoid “burn out” and to regroup after a particularly stressful call.
- Not treating your customer service department as a factory where production numbers are the amount of calls taken.
- Providing them with the proper materials they need to do their job – literature, policies, working telephony and computer equipment, etc.
- Giving reps the proper training when new products or procedures are introduced.
Last but not least, make every week “Customer Service Week” by ensuring your customer service department a place your CSRs want to come to work. By creating a work environment that fosters open communication, working together as a team and having fun while doing it, results in happy CSRs. And happy CSRs make for…. very good! You’re catching on.
You don’t have to wait for the first week in October to buy your CSRs lunch, treat them to some morning donuts or afternoon ice cream, or hand out rewards for good service. This should be something that is done on an ongoing basis. But since congress had a little extra time on their hands in 1992 when they made Customer Service Week a nationally recognized event, I’ll jump on the bandwagon and say “thank you” to CSRs everywhere – enjoy your week.
And don’t eat too much candy.