15 Easy Ways to Celebrate Customer Service Week (and Do a Bang-up Job of It, Too)

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“The way you treat your employees is the way they treat your clients” – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

With Customer Service Week only five days away, I thought I would share with you a few more ideas and resources to help make the planning and execution of a fabulous day easier for you. Below are my 15 helpful tidbits. Please e-mail me your stories and photos from your week’s celebrations. I will be happy to share them with our readers.

  1. Create and send a daily Customer Service Week newsletter to all the members of your team/department/company as a quick way to keep everyone apprised of the day’s events, remind people of requirements for the next day, announce winners, and highlight superior service instances or a team member’s accomplishments.
  2. Put together a yearbook with photos, stories, or anything that made the week special and memorable. I combined the yearbook aspect with a cookbook our print department bound for us. Each member of the department received a copy. To earn money for next year’s celebration, you could check with management about selling copies to those outside your team for $5 or $10. Here are three of the recipes I included in our cookbook –  Cathleen’s Favorite Recipe – Barbecue Drumsticks Cathleen’s Favorite Recipe – Black Moons Cathleen’s Favorite Recipe – Quiche Lorrainehandwritten thank you
  3. Every day have each person write at least one way that three people within the company helped him or her do a great job servicing clients. Give examples. Then complete an official thank you note and send it via interoffice mail. Each person on the team should choose three new people each day.
  4. Give a contest winner an extra 30 minutes or an hour for lunch on the day of his or her choosing.
  5. Award prime parking spaces to winners or on a rotating basis to each CSR.Reserved Parking
  6. Give gift cards to each member of your Customer Service Team. Also great for contest winners. DD Thank you gift cardgold-gift-box-small gift card  Starbucks gift card Apple Gift card (disclaimer, the links in this post are not affiliate links, merely suggestions of gifts that have worked well for me in the past.)
  7. Hold a special breakfast or luncheon in honor of the Customer Service Team, either on site or off.
  8. Work with local sports teams, theaters, art centers for possible donation of tickets as prizes.
  9. Hold a storytelling contest of the best and worst client experiences each CSR has had. If you can’t find an electric fireplace to tell the stories around, you can download a fireplace app for your phone to add a special touch.talent show
  10. Hold a before or after hours talent show or karaoke contest. If it works logistically, hold the contest in the department’s conference room throughout the day. Alternatively, the contest could be held in the cafeteria or some other place that would bring exposure of Customer Service Week to the entire company as a means to encourage further participation.
  11. Have CSRs write a short piece (this post is 576 words) on how they got started in Customer Service and what they love most about it. Post the stories on a central bulletin board.
  12. Ask upper management to write personal thank you notes to each CSR.
  13. Allow CSRs and others to send Thank You balloons (for your service, dedication, cheerful help, whatever fits) to
    the CSRs. You can charge 25 cents per balloon and 15 cents to add a personal note (check with Human Resources regarding message guidelines to stay compliant). An inexpensive way to handle this is to write on plain balloons with colored Sharpies.
  14. Hold a regional food festival as a mid-week pick-me-up. This could be done either as a potluck or as complimentary take-out food.
  15. Hold a photo contest to capture the spirit of the week on film. Alternatively, you could put together a video of the week for your company intranet.

If you do nothing else next week, make certain that you thank everyone who helps you service your clients well. Remember, although there may only be a few days to pull together an official celebration, it is never too late to say Thank You to someone. Sticky note thank you

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5 Days of Easy Ways You Can Celebrate Customer Service Week in Your Office

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This October, the 5th through the 9th to be precise, marks the 23rd anniversary of Customer Service Week, an international celebration of the hard work and dedication of the people who keep customers happy and take care of their needs.

Click on the official logo above to access the official website and get started on planning your celebration today.

As a former chairman of the Customer Service Week committee at a former company, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the ideas we used to show our appreciation for our Customer Service team and the other people in the company who helped us do our jobs in servicing our clients. As our company became aware of Customer Service Week only a week beforehand, we had no official budget so these ideas are all low to no cost. Once the week progressed, other departments caught the bug and donated or sponsored extra events, such as an impromptu Wednesday afternoon pizza party to accompany our planned departmental Miniature golf tournament. Let’s get started.

  • Using supplies we found in the supply cabinet and printing certificates and signs using the official logo, we put together a Welcome Center after hours so that the Customer Service team would walk into the office on Monday to a great big “Thanks”.

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The Welcome Center is where the week’s schedule of events was posted along with updates and all the get-to-know-you activities that ran throughout the week. This is where the grade school teacher in me went into overdrive, as you can see.

  • Some of the activities we held were:
    • a childhood photo match where each member of the department brought in a copy of their favorite baby picture (I was the only one who knew which one belonged to whom) and everyone had to guess who was who. The guesses came in all week and were revealed on the last day. We didn’t have a budget for prizes so we posted the winners boldly at the Welcome Center and left it up for the week afterwards.
    • a Something-you-might-not-know-about-me Contest. Each team member sent me five or so tidbits about themselves that other team members did not know such as “I was voted Band Preppie for all four years in high school” or “I am an archery instructor” or “I am the fifth generation of Civil War re-enactors in my family”. Again, the results were revealed on the last day.
    • Word searches, sudoku puzzles, and sundry trivia games that people could work on during breaks.
  • For each CSR, we hung balloons in the official colors with a gift bag of company-logoed gifts (donated by the head of our business unit) along with official Thank You certificates for things each one had done for clients or co-workers. During the week, more certificates were added as people from within and outside of the department added their thanks. (A note: The enthusiasm we created drew people from other areas solely out of curiosity as to what was going on that was so much fun.) Image085

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  • Monday we held a Kick-off Tailgate party for lunch. Everyone brought in their favorite tailgate food along with the recipe. Tailgate

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  • Tuesday was a pot luck CSR-only breakfast held an hour before the lines opened. For this, I bought Thank You gifts for my team (ceramic travel mugs from Starbuck’s).  BReakfast 1
  • Wednesday was the impromptu pizza party sponsored by the marketing department to accompany our miniature golf competition and non-alcoholic Margaritaville, complete with Jimmy Buffet music. Each person was given a paper plate with a hole cut in the center to decorate with whatever they had at their desks. We then placed the “greens” around the office. The marketing staff leant us their clubs (conveniently stashed in their trunks) and company-logoed golf balls. The winner was awarded first place in line for the next day’s pot luck luncheon. Image121

    I am quite proud of this green. I chose the 19th hole. Notice the diver looking for errant golf balls.

  • Thursday’s Pot Luck Luncheon – Pot Luck
  • Friday’s Red Carpet Walk (each CSR had his or her own stars with more thank-yous from people in the company) and lunchtime movie snacks (donated by the snack bar) 
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Power On

Teamwork in the office

Power On

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. ” ~Charles Darwin

 

Flash! Crack! Pop!

Darkness engulfs us. Silence, too, but for the pelting of rain and hail on the house and windows.

A neighbor’s tree has just split in two and taken out the power to the neighborhood as it fell on the power lines across the street, pulling the wires from her house in the process. A few of us neighbors gather in the storm to check on our neighbor and her ninety-nine year old mother. We assign ourselves various tasks of calling the town about the tree, the power company about the wires, and vacationing neighbors about windows left open and the severity of the storm. We also call our neighbor’s son a State Trooper, to make sure his Mum and grandmother have the help they need during this frightening time in the middle of the night. All the while, we take turns staying with our neighbor and bringing her updates as new developments occur.

Change is hard enough to deal with when one has time to see its approach and adjust. There is so much emotionally to come to terms with during times of change that often goes unnoticed under the best of circumstances. When change takes us by surprise and places us in a state of complete upheaval, we feel the lack of control and the effects of all our emotions on a highly magnified scale. Without someone to keep us grounded and to guide us through the change, we, like my neighbor in the storm, fall to pieces in some fashion, unable to think clearly and take the necessary steps to deal with the change.

Recently in New England, the news was full of accounts of a particular company in the throes of sudden upheaval after decades of rumblings from within the beast of an acrimonious family struggle for control of the business. In the early stages of this most recent installment of a public struggle, it was easy to see the ulterior motives of some of the participants in spite of the veils with which they covered these motives.

This brings me to the point of my comparing two seemingly dissimilar situations.  Change will happen. It’s inevitable. Whether it happens at its natural pace or thrusts itself upon us is irrelevant. How we handle the change matters. Whether our handling of it produces three-dimensional, positive results is determined by the motives involved in the change. Our motives may be pure or they may not be pure. The motives of the other parties involved in the change also may be pure or they may not be pure. Whatever goes into the change, will have an impact on the results. “Garbage in. Garbage out.” as the saying goes.

Conversely, if you put good stuff into the change, it will produce results that are good for everyone. Here are a few things to consider the next time you are facing change:

  • If you are the instrument of change, ask yourself what your motives are in instigating the change. Be honest or there is no point in reading any further. If your motives are self-centered, admit it. Then, decide what you are going to do next. You can continue on your original path, or you can decide to care about the people left in your wake by asking yourself if there is another way to get what you want while helping others in the process. In the corporate situation above, the motives behind the change were the best-kept secret everybody knew yet the offending parties would not acknowledge, thinking instead that they were hiding them. Mid-way through the ordeal, it reached the following point:

“Any reasonable person would begin to put into question whether or not this is going to happen, whether [the defendant] will be able to put this together,” said Richard Nicolazzo of the communications firm Nicolazzo & Associates, which has advised companies such as MetLife and Nortek in acquisition deals. “If past is prologue, I’m not optimistic. I think that this has been a situation where it’s no longer a rational or economic discussion. It’s about, ‘You’re not going to win at any cost,’ even if it means putting this company into some kind of reorganization.’”

  • Do not be shortsighted in your quest for big profits. My thirty-plus years in the corporate world have allowed me to witness well-planned change strategies that made the companies stronger on paper and at their core because the companies took into consideration all the aspects of what the changes would mean to everyone involved. I have also witnessed hastily made changes designed to boost the Bottom Line for the upcoming shareholders meeting that ultimately produced devastating results.

The advice that my grandfather gave me when buying my first car holds true for all of Life’s decisions:

“I you are pressured into buying the car without being allowed to step back and consider the deal from all angles, walk away because the deal’s no good. If it were good, it would stand on its own.”

  • If your goal is not simply to survive the change but to thrive throughout the change process, be certain to include solid change management practices into your strategy. By helping your employees to deal with the emotional aspects of change throughout each stage of the technical/physical change process, you will have a workforce fully able to support the change from beginning to end, becoming advocates as opposed to adversaries.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – Volume 3; Number 2 – “Brown Grass – How I Came to See the Light”

The Rossiter Report – Volume 3; Number 2

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

“Brown Grass – How I Came to See the Light”

boy looking through binoculars

“There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” – Old Proverb –

Gazing out upon the nearly-full tidal pool at the Plum Island Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, Massachusetts on this unseasonably warm, early April day, I see brown. The parking lot in which I sit, writing, is at a slightly higher elevation than the tidal pool and the adjoining fields of marsh grasses. This vantage point affords enough of an aerial view to see partially over the hillocks in the near distance, across the harbor to the towns of Essex and Ipswich on the horizon. This bird’s-eye view (albeit that of a bird perched on a very low tree branch or a parking sign) places my vision above the fields of newly mown marsh grasses to see dozens of acres of brown. Even the tidal pool is cast with brown in the harsh light of the noon sun.

Very few people stop here for more than thirty seconds. To them, it is just a brown and lifeless landscape; boring. The only people who stay for any length of time beyond the thirty second mark are those birdwatchers who stay only long enough to spot (then consequently check-off) a new bird on their list, with no intention of actually observing the bird and getting to know it. What astounds me is the wealth of beauty that this spot possesses and is missed by those who come in search of a pre-determined idea of what is worthy of notice.

A few years ago (wink, wink) when I was eight years old, I ventured into the kitchen after viewing my Saturday morning cartoons and stood next to my mother at the kitchen sink. “Mumma, I’m bored,” I announced. In her characteristic, gentle firmness, yet in an uncharacteristically direct tone, my mother looked down at me (without skipping a beat in the washing of the breakfast dishes) and said, “Cathleen. The only people who get bored are boring people,” returning her gaze to the garden while continuing with the dishes. Not only was I NEVER bored again, but also this experience taught me to seek out continually something new. A treasure or lesson could be waiting for me in the haphazard pattern of a first coat of paint on the front of a dresser; or the way a reed bends and sings in the midst of a storm yet never breaks; or the fact that the overriding expanse of brown before me is, in point of fact, made up of greens, reds, purples, yellows, and blues in myriad variations on a theme.

The same thing is true of the people we hire and the customers who purchase from us. Without the individual talents, viewpoints, and insights each one brings to the table (the painter’s palette, as it were), then the work of art we call our company or team would lack the depth, luster, and uniqueness that makes our work a masterpiece.

Consciousness is a choice. Simply wanting to be aware does not make it happen. One must choose to open one’s eyes and mind. One must choose to see everything, not only what is pleasant or comfortable.

The thing that changed for me on that Saturday morning so many years ago is that I decided to stop refusing to see the world in front of me. I became determined to remain blind no longer. This choice of consciousness has brought a depth, richness, and joy to my life and work that I have carried with me to every aspect of my life, particularly in relation to the people I encounter. I choose to uncover the layers of wealth and richness buried in each person in front of me at any given time so as to bring the very best to the relationship, project, team, or circumstance. In doing so I find no need for the all-too-standard jealousy, defensiveness, and subsequent subterfuge that plagues Cubicle Farms around the world. Allowing for the enrichment of the team with the free-flow of each other’s talents, insights, and experience (as opposed to the general practice of trying to control and suppress it all) creates an infectious dynamic among the team members that creates a pride in the work and an enthusiasm to produce the best; to be a part of the best. I, for one, would much rather spend the 10+ hours each day that I am at work in the quest to produce the best, to be part of the best in a lively, dynamic environment. When one ponders the alternative, which is what one has become all-too-used-to in the working environment, one wonders why one hasn’t seen the light sooner.

 

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Motivational Monday – V2:N2 – Power

Official_Presidential_portrait_of_John_Adams_(by_John_Trumbull,_circa_1792)

Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.

 

In honor of Presidents’ Day, today think about the quote above from our 2nd President, John Adams, and review (with honesty) how your leadership style stands up against such a measure. Remember, no matter what your position or title, everyone is an example of leadership to someone.

Until the next time, I wish you all my best.

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Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Thank You Thursday

Candy Hearts

I hope this issue of Thank You Thursday finds that you are well. Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Today, let’s take the time to let our colleagues know the one thing we love about working with him or her. Perhaps you will make it a habit that goes beyond the confines of a single day, thereby changing the environment in which you spend the majority of our time.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Question of the Week

The Rossiter Report – Re-humanizing the Workplace to Elevate Client Relations

The Rossiter Report“Re-humanizing the Workplace to Elevate Client Relations”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 

In my wanderings this past week, I have come across a good deal of jargon used in reference to employees. The examples I came across range from Human CapitalIn-sourcing, and Onboarding, to Sweat the Asset, Surplused, Extract the Max, and Deselect. With terms like these being used to refer to the human beings (in other words, people) that make your business run and bring in the profit that fills your wallet as business owner, it is no wonder that  more and more employees lose all sense of loyalty and desire to give 1000% to the company they are working for. It is no wonder that workplace morale is at such a low level. It is no wonder that employees readily treat clients as they are treated themselves. One thing that business owners overlook is the fact that your employees are the ones who keep you in business. If your clients are your reason for being in business, your employees are the reason you stay in business. Without your employees, you cannot run your business.

Looking at the terms referenced above, think about what happens in your way of thinking about the person that the term refers to. For example, what do you think of when you say the word “employee” versus what you think of when you say the term “Human Capital”.  The definition of Employee refers to “a person” where as “capital” refers to “accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods; or accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income”.  How would you feel if you were viewed as a good or possession? Go through each of the terms used above and return to the original definition (I have attached links to the definitions for your convenience). By looking at the original meaning of the words we bandy about the office and industry thoughtlessly, we can get a good hold on what it is we are actually communicating. Once we realize what we are truly saying about the people who are serving us by running our business for us, we begin to get a handle on why a particular culture exists in our company.

In order to get a handle on the various ways in which your company is devaluing and de-humanizing your employees, try jotting down all the jargon you use during the day when referring to the people you have hired to run your business. Even if you do not make note of all the references you make, you will be quite surprised at how often you use jargon relating to your employees and how truly awful these terms can be. Once you have a list of terms you use, write down how each term makes you feel as the target of the term (include in your feelings the way you now relate to the work you are doing for the person giving you the label). Finally, think about how you want your employees to feel, then choose (and use) your words accordingly. It is easy to get caught up in the buzz-word frenzy because buzz-words make you feel as though you belong to the cool crowd, those who are In-the-Know. What we often do not think about is that, once you become part of a group you exclude everyone who is not part of the group; Those People on The Outside become of no value. Remember, your employees become who you tell them they are.

Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.