As you gather with friends, family, co-workers and loved ones this week to celebrate this annual international event you may want to reflect on the humble beginnings of this renowned holiday. Yes, it’s true. We’re in the midst of the official Customer Service Week as proclaimed by the U.S. Congress in 1992 as a nationally recognized event celebrated annually during the first full week of October.
The International Customer Service Association began Customer Service Week in 1988. In fact, it’s an international event devoted to recognizing the importance of customer service and honoring the people on the front lines of the service revolution.
I may have been a little glib in my assumption that you would be celebrating this little-known annual celebration. In fact, that was my point. In the past few days, I have had the opportunity to observe several major retail malls, several shopping centers, hotels, theaters, restaurants, a major airport, and many other businesses which should be concentrating on the delivery of outstanding customer service. I saw no evidence of the celebration, promotion, or observance of Customer Service Week. I’ve seen nothing in the local or national newspapers, no television or radio content and nothing on the Internet without exploring search engines.
Has customer service fallen to this level of obsolescence? No promotion? No recognition? No pride? No celebration? It’s a sad commentary on times.
I’m off to Boston tonight to speak to the leadership and staff of New Balance, a leading global athletic products company that is very proud of the fact that they have been producing superior footwear and athletic apparel for 100 years. The occasion? The celebration of Customer Service Week.
In preparation for any keynote presentation or seminar, I spend time with the client researching the organization, the event and chosen content. In chatting with their leadership team, I heard a great deal of conversation involving heritage, mission, philosophy, core set of values, integrity, teamwork, and total customer satisfaction.
They plan on celebrating their past accomplishments in serving their customers as well as the need and expectation of continuing their tradition of service. They’ll be updated on how they’re improving their technology and production methods to remain competitive and continue to offer the customer service they’re so well known for.
This, of course, boils down to the creative use of basic communication as a leadership, marketing and competitive advantage. But that’s pretty much common sense, isn’t it? Stephen Covey would respond to that question with his famous quote: “What is common sense is seldom common practice!” Maybe that’s why I’ve seen little or no recognition of Customer Service Week.
How is your organization observing this week? Based on the current state of the economy, trade imbalance, recalls, marketplace, and competition — shouldn’t every week be Customer Service Week?