As it appeared in the Daily Nation on October 6th 2020
Dr Lucy Kiruthu
Have you noticed that this is “the customer service week”? Maybe yes or maybe not yet! Every year, businesses across the globe mark customer service week during the first full week of October. Why have only one week dedicated to customer service? Is customer service not a daily adventure? Should every week not be a customer service week? Over the years, I have come across these and other questions that seem to deflate the need for a customer service week. As a customer service enthusiast, I do totally agree that customers deserve a great experience every day. It is for this reason that I believe that customer service week needs to be redefined. We need to go beyond the decorations, the snacks and the text messages.
In redefining customer service week, businesses need to realize that this is not the most important week to reach out to their customers. Customers need to be kept informed and updated throughout the year based on their needs. An annual “happy customer service week” text message does no magic in making our customers happier or more loyal. Businesses need to be accessible to their customer across the different channels where they have a presence. It is especially crucial to get in touch with a customer when you promise to. Customers need updates about product, services and about promises made. Businesses that care enough about their customers have an engagement plan that runs throughout the year. Besides staying in touch, such businesses realize that the best way to engage is to provide quality products and services and to make every interaction seamless.
Redefining customer service week also means spending this week looking out for opportunities to improve both internal and external service delivery. Service improvement needs to be appreciated and understood as part of the overall business performance improvement and transformation efforts. Does your business have a customer service improvement mindset? Is customer experience improvement a priority area? What long-lasting improvements will you make to both your internal and external service this week? Is there a commitment by each individual within the businesses to get better? Customer service remains a competitive advantage only if our businesses embrace its continuous improvement. What will you do this week to improve your end-to-end customer experience? How will you cement the improvements done this week? This year, the customer service community in Kenya is championing customer convenience. Have you considered convenience in your product and service offering?
Today’s customers have a wide selection. Smart businesses consider customer service as what differentiates them. I believe that only those businesses that make customer service excellence an integral part of their culture will manage to hold on to their customers for life. I wish to challenge everyone in business to put together a customer service excellence plan of action this week. Take time to determine your customers’ needs and identify the challenges they could be facing – what is causing them pain? Also, identify new opportunities that will help refine your customers’ experience and improve your product quality. I urge everyone in business to redefine this week as that time of the year when we move our customer service to the next level. Have a productive Customer Service Week!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy