Commentary by Jim Serger
In 1992, Congress proclaimed the first week of October as Customer Service Week.
Is customer service that appalling, we had to obtain an act of Congress to notify us to raise the bar? I don’t think so.
Customer service is what it states, giving service to a customer: holding the door open for your wife, calling your best friend on her birthday, writing a thank-you card for the wedding gift, calling your dad out of the clear blue just to say I love you.
Five days is just not enough. The standard is 365 days. Often we feel as though we have to go above and beyond. Not really, just be you. Each day of this special week, think about what your business can accomplish in the next 365 days to be above average on customer service. Send cards on birthdays, send cards on anniversaries, send doughnuts to the shipping department of your biggest and smallest customer.
Pick a customer at random for 365 days and have a five minute chat; could be the CEO, COO, CFO, secretary, shipping clerk, shipping department, your accountant, your lawyer, your real-estate agent, your mechanic, your doctor or anyone who gives you a service.
Customer service is not a department out on its own. It’s the epicenter of a thriving business. All businesses will achieve more when they lasso their customers, hold them tight and communicate in a small, meaningful way. Small is the new big.
Employees as well are our customers. How you treat them is how they are going to delight your customers. Make Friday employee day this customer service week. Surprise the heck out of them, nothing big or over the to. Be you, not someone else. Cookies, cake, ice-cream social, leave half-hour early with pay – a small token to show your fondness towards them.
Remember this, 365, not just five days. That is the key to customer service. People love to be appreciated, and they love to be noticed among their peers; show them. Nothing phony, nothing out of character. Be you. Be the one raising the bar on service. For all are intricate parts of your business.
Jim Serger is a Carmel resident and author.