Customer service is one of the most hands-on roles in any company. These professionals interact directly with customers, answering questions, demonstrating products, and solving problems. The relationship between the customer service representatives and clients is one of the most important that a company can foster.
Good customer service retains client accounts and keeps them returning again and again. And as much as technology has changed many parts of the workplace, there is still no match for excellent, interpersonal relationships.
So it’s important to ensure your customer service professionals feel appreciated and recognized for the hard work they do. For Customer Service Week, we have some great ideas to help your organization celebrate, whether it’s a new twist on team building or ramping up employee recognition programs.
Build a Strong Team with Creative Team-Building
If the words “team-building exercise” elicit groans, that’s probably because everyone’s picturing awkward activities from an old job. Often these are thrown into the mix on a single day, and out of context, they can seem irrelevant.
But when you build team development into your work culture, it can bring your whole organization closer together. Here are a few creative ideas catered specifically to customer service that might just get the crew excited about team-building.
The key to these exercises is to make sure your customer service team is on equal footing with one another. Therefore, they will need to know things about each other on a more personal level. It might sound silly, but a great way to do this is with show and tell.
This keeps relationships professional, while also giving the team a chance to learn things about each other they might not know. Members can choose items and stories of personal significance that they feel comfortable sharing. This kind of sharing helps the team bond and may lead to the discovery of similar interests.
If You Have an Active Group…
You could also liven things up with a scavenger hunt. Pair teams of two co-workers and have them compete to see who can complete the hunt first. This can happen inside the office or even around your local community. Prizes at each location might include candy, gift cards, and other fun finds.
Each team gets to keep the items they discover, and whoever collects the most wins the scavenger hunt. This works on an interpersonal level because it allows two customer service representatives to connect and solve problems together. Not only will this help if there is ever conflict within the office, but with solving client problems as well.
If you’re in the mood for a classic, consider an egg walk. (This is best done outside to avoid ruining the office carpet.) The goal is to get the egg across the room without breaking it. One teammate walks across the boundary, balancing a whole egg on a spoon. The egg is handed off to the second teammate, who has to walk back across the boundary without breaking it.
You can incorporate this into an office barbecue or other type of fun event to make it seem less like an exercise and more like a game. Sometimes the opportunity to get silly and take a break from work can lead to stronger connections. Remember, the goal is to build the interpersonal skills that will directly translate into how your customer service interacts with the community.
Time to Build Connections
Speaking of the community, why not set up opportunities for your team to volunteer? This gets them directly involved with the community, sharing interactions, and fostering collaboration with current and potential clients. Work with local legislatures and organizations to get a tent set up at a carnival or special festival. Do a toy or food drive around the holidays.
Or you can swing open your company’s doors wide for an open house or community-oriented event. This has multiple benefits, the best of which is that you are getting your customer service team out there into the community. They can establish relationships with clients and work together to promote the company in the best way possible.
Make Sure Your Crew is Appreciated
There is nothing more demotivating for a customer service team than to feel that they are not appreciated for the work they do. Fortunately, it’s easy for an organization to make recognition a part of their regular practice.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to coordinate social media posts that celebrate individual employees and the team as a whole. Schedule posts around birthdays, special occasions like Customer Service Week, community service events, career milestones, and etc. Almost anything can be turned into a special post. This helps employees feel good knowing the company wishes them well, and it’s encouraging to see the responses from others who react to the post.
You could also throw a special office party to celebrate a team victory. Say your customer service team helped make a significant sale. Go out and order some food to celebrate! If you know the team members feel comfortable, give them a shout-out when you have everyone gathered together. If that’s not the case, take the time to connect with them one-on-one or write a letter of thanks.
Or put together an informal after-hours party to celebrate the team as a whole. Spontaneous signs of appreciation go a long way into helping your customer service team feel recognized for their efforts.
Plan Ways to Recognize Employees All Year Long
A formal Staff Recognition Program is another excellent way to acknowledge employee excellence throughout the year. Not only does this foster healthy competition, but it also lets employees know upper management is watching and appreciating everyone’s hard work and dedication.
So if you’re stumped on ways to celebrate your customer service team, give some of these strategies a go. Your team will thank you for it, trust us!
At Masiello Employment Services, we know a thing or two about customer service. We’ve been in the business of matchmaking between great candidates and employers for over four decades. If you’re ready to find your next fit, we can help! Visit our offices on Elm Street in beautiful Keene, New Hampshire, or give us a call at 603-358-1000.