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customer service humour penguin WOW

This week is internationally recognized as Customer Service Week, when businesses around the world work to promote exemplary service for their customers and recognize and reward their service staff for a job well done. Having a week to focus on this topic is a great idea – it’s a start to employing the same tactics during the other fifty-one weeks of the year 🙂

Customer service is described in all kinds of ways… “the cheerful giving of attention”; “taking care of the customer’s needs”; “maintaining client relationships along with company revenue from products and services sold”. I could go on and on, but I like to use this phrase:

Customer Service is a function of how well an organization is able to constantly and consistently exceed the needs of the customer.

Good service has to do with the consistency and constancy of the standards. It doesn’t have to be fancy but customers need to rely on getting the same kind of experience each time they come.

I like the approach the UK has taken this year as a plan to focus on key points and look for areas to improve. They are ramping up with a look at who your customers are, making it easy for those customers to do business with you, then dealing with challenges in service situations, and finally looking for ways to reward good work.

The National Institute of Customer Service in the UK is focusing on key elements of customer service this week.

Where I live in the Okanagan, British Columbia it is the last week of the tourist season for many service businesses. This is their last hurrah with the celebration of harvest from the farms and vineyards and our Okanagan Fall Wine Festival as a main event. Hotels, restaurants and certainly wineries will be seeing an influx of visitors who may be loyal followers or new guests here for the first time. All over the region shops will see locals and visitors alike enjoying the last of the warm weather.This week is a huge opportunity for businesses to build and/or create a foundation with their customers that keeps them coming back for more and turns them into ambassadors.

With a tourist economy, we also deal with many seasonal businesses who employ their team for only part of the year. If that team leaves energized and having enjoyed their experience serving customers, they are far more likely to return in future, making recruitment a much easier and less costly process.

So, even if you think that you might be too busy to engage in Customer Service Week, or it’s too late, why not give it a try? Here’s a few quick tips to rally your team:

  1. Remember to thank customers for shopping with you. (Don’t say “No problem” when they thank you – say “You’re welcome” or “It’s our pleasure” to show your real gratitude.)
  2. Remember to thank your co-workers for their hard work. (It takes a team to make a business successful, and everyone’s efforts add to the final experience. Thank a behind-the-scenes worker and see how much they appreciate it!)
  3. Remember your sense of humour. Especially at the end of a busy season, it’s easy to get tired. The best solution is to laugh when things get silly, then get down to solving any challenges.
  4. Be respectful. Sometimes people don’t seem to get it – they ask tons of questions, and they don’t understand your answers. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and you’ll make the situation less stressful.
  5. Smile! Actually using your muscles to smile will make you happier even if you think you’re not. And your customers and co-workers will then be reminded to be happy too 🙂

happy smile amidst the crowd WOW