Customer Service Week is celebrated from October 4 to October 8, recognizing the importance of customer service and honoring the people who provide the best examples of great service. The International Customer Association began Customer Service Week in 1988, and in 1992 Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week a nationally recognized event.
Celebrations range from information sharing, inspirational stories, coffee and cake breaks to huge celebratory dinners, but all hold the service and support of those working on the front lines in great esteem.
Kathy Garcia of The Job Training Center speaks about this year's theme which is 'A brand new experience.' Branding used to be just associated with a company logo or a business card, but that was 20 years ago. Today Garcia describes it as the experience customer service provides.
Branding is how businesses live and breathe. With the popularity of the internet, consumers are much better educated and have become savvy decision makers. Branding becomes the impact a company has on their customers' lives through their services or their products. Instead of a business stating, "We want you as a customer," the customer or client says instead, "We need you."
How do you develop that positive perception others have on you? That's when we come full circle with the best of the best in customer service by raising awareness, using it, and helping to educate and understand a company's target group or market, but it's hard work. A company can't be everything to everyone, and each company needs to find their own particular niche. As an example, Wal-Mart caters to low prices, Microsoft is known for technology, and Mercedes-Benz is known for luxury.
Once companies have decided on their central focus, they work on building brand equity. Compare it to your house. If your home is worth $200,000 and your mortgage is $100,000, your equity in your home is $100,000. The same can be said in business, except brand equity is relatively intangible, but nevertheless that perceived value is what will make you a success as long as you supply good service, good value, and an overall great experience.
P.S. In honor of Customer Service Week, our friends Lori Jo Vest and Marilyn Suttle (who contributed to Service Untitled back in May) are launching the "Who's Your Gladys?" video series of customer service "quick tips." The quick video-clips are ideal for staff meeting openers, weekly mini-courses, or tools for reinforcing an already great customer service culture. Their book called "Who's Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan," is on store shelves and online resellers. Visit the video launch page for special offers at www.whosyourgladys.tv.