As it appeared in the daily nation of October 6th 2015
by Lucy Kiruthu
The Customer Service week 2015 is finally here! Organizations across the globe are marking the week by celebrating their customers both internal and external. Others are launching service improvement initiatives that will last all year round. Here in Kenya the celebrations are underway all week and this Friday hundreds of customer service enthusiasts will gather for a gala dinner that culminates the celebrations. The main question that lingers in my mind every first week of October is … Why don’t we celebrate our customers every day?
Celebrating our customers every day does not mean giving them freebie promotional items every day. Neither does it mean doing anything extraordinary. It simply means doing the ordinary things in a way that is above the average all the time. These ordinary things include – interacting smoothly with our customers, getting the job done right the first time and doing what we said we would do. It is about how we communicate, it is about what we do and it is also about what we do not do that makes our customers feel good or bad about being our customers. This does not only happen during the first week of October but it happens every day. The good news though is that the first week of October reminds us of the reason for our existence – our customers and it gives us a launching pad for service improvements.
I recently witnessed a spark on an 11 year boy when the waiter asked him – “What may I get for you sir?” Every time our customers interact with us, we celebrate them when we make them feel welcome, valued and appreciated. We celebrate them when we follow up, keep the promise and seek their feedback to help us serve them even better. We celebrate them by building a strong relationship that are based on trust. We celebrate them when we keep them informed and updated on changes that would affect them. We celebrate them by making it easy for them to transact with us, considering their perspective when making decisions and creating and delivering value to them. Finally, we celebrate them by equipping, empowering and encouraging our frontline staff to serve our customers in a way that is above and beyond the average.
Celebrating our customers all year round is not as easy as distributing sweets or welcoming them with flowers during the CS week celebrations. It takes the concerted effort of everyone in the organization including those in the back office. It takes a leadership team that is committed to building a high performance team that loves what it does. It requires being innovative in product and process design. It requires seamless operations and continuous improvement. This is what makes the celebratory mood last all year round.
This is only possible if the staff have a positive attitude towards their organization and towards the customers and if both the staff and customers are fully engaged. It is the responsibility of staff to deliver an above average experience every day and look out for service improvement opportunities and it is the responsibility of customers to give constructive feedback every day. Let us maintain the celebratory atmosphere all year long!
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy