As it appeared in the Daily Nation on October 2nd 2018
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu
It is that time of the year again when customer-centric organizations around the globe create awareness about the importance of customer service excellence in their organizations. Celebrated by many organizations, the Customer Service Week (CS Week) is commemorated every first full week of October. Many organizations have held different activities to mark the CS Week since 1992. In Kenya, CS week continues to be a flagship event and a number of organizations have been celebrating this special week for the last three to six years. I take this opportunity to wish all a Happy Customer Service Week and reflect on what CS week really means.
Organizations that participate in the CS Week celebrations do so for a number of reasons. Many do so to communicate the strategic role that customer service plays in their organizations. Others do so to raise awareness about the value they place on their customers, as well as the staff who serve customers. Many others use the week to renew their commitment to focus more on the customer and to communicate the efforts they are making in driving service excellence. Organizations do so by having a wide range of initiatives directed towards driving service improvement and appreciating both their staff and their customers. Most of the past initiatives have seen organizations bring to life service excellence. Have your CS Week initiatives added any value to your organization? What value?
Many Kenyans have witnessed the CS week celebrations. The Institute of Customer Experience (ICX) Kenya a body that brings together customer experience professionals has been driving CS Week awareness and inviting all business to participate in their own small or big way. This year, the CS week theme in Kenya is “sustaining customer service excellence”. ICX Kenya will be awarding organizations that are most innovative in executing this theme. A key question that every smart company must ask itself is “what must we do consistently to create happy and loyal customers at every point of interaction?” The answer to this question lies in our everyday attitudes and actions as we interact with one another and with our customers.
Globally, CSWeek.com “Excellence Happens Here” as this year’s CS Week theme. The theme recognizes the spaces where customers and service professionals come together and where excellence is expected to happen. I believe that such spaces should include boardrooms, offices, contact centres to all other points of interaction. The major question for all of us is “does excellence really happen in these places?” If it does, well done! If it does not, what positive action will you take to make it happen?
Anyone who has been involved in improving customer service can confirm that it is not as simple as ABC. Service improvement is a complex endeavour that involves every aspect of the organization. At the centre of service improvement is the culture of the organization. As organizations mark CS week, they must detest from just having activities and be intentional about creating a culture of service excellence. They can do this by focusing on their strategy, management commitment and involvement, people competences, processes and standards, performance measurements and being innovative. Let every business consider the CS week as an opportunity to rethink its customer service experience and push it to the next level.
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy