Julian works as a cleaner in one of the big institutions in town. Owing to the nature of his work, clients and other employees do not usually meet or deal with him, apart from few security officers of the company.
He starts work early in the morning and, by the time customers and other employees arrive, the place is always clean and in order. No one ever notices Julian and his contribution to the friendly and conducive environment that helps the company to offer such great service to both its customers and employees.
Just like Julian, many work in areas that indirectly affect the productivity of companies, yet they are people no one ever thinks of or notices when talking about customer service because many usually think about front-line staff and often forget the numerous people behind the scenes.
Obviously, as Julian and many of his kinds may not read this story; however, I have a simple question: How many times do you meet people like Julian and greet them? As an employer or manager, do you ever ask them about their families? It is true, you are a busy manager or customer and do not necessarily have anything to do with the likes of Julian. Or is it?
Therefore, as we prepare to mark this year’s Customer Service Week, a week set aside to celebrate both customers and employees, we need to think of the lower cadres in our organisations, too. Every first week of October, customer-oriented organisations and institutions around the world celebrate the Customer Service Week to recognise the importance of customer service excellence in their organisations.
In Rwanda, The ServiceMag has been promoting this event and engaging the general public for several years now, organising special events targeted at both internal and external customers. Last year, for instance, we organised several activities in partnerships with other institutions, including rewarding outstanding organisations as part of our celebrations.
During the week, some of nominated service personnel were appreciated live on radios, while other were visited at their workplaces and their work broadcast on some of the local television stations. Over 50 individuals and companies won prizes, including a business class return ticket, during a fun and entertaining service cocktail that attracted 200 service stakeholders. This year, we are calling upon the general public, all companies, whether small or big; private or public to use the first week of October to promote service excellence in Rwanda. Here below are some ideas of topics to engage on each day of the week: Monday can be dedicated to consumer reports, Tuesday for understanding complaints, while Wednesday can be for developing or reviewing customer service strategy. Thursday may be set aside for collaboration, and Friday marked as a time to recognise and celebrate outstanding employees.
Note that it is not compulsory to participate in the Customer Service Week, but it is a great opportunity for your institutions to recognise and appreciate external customers for their custom and loyalty, remind customers of their commitment to customer satisfaction, recognise and appreciate staff for the role they play in delivering great customer experiences, as well as reward employees who are exemplary in serving customers. Organisations should also boost the morale of workers, motivate them and encourage teamwork, as well as raise company-wide awareness on the importance of customer service, and appreciate all departments for their support in delivering great service to customers, and highlight the important role they play in serving customers.
On this note, we are inviting the general public to nominate individuals who offer excellent service by sending their names to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a lined up a number of activities for the week and grand finale where the nominated service frontline or back employees will be recognised as heroes for the daily efforts in the different roles.
It is also important to note here that organisations and institutions that will participate in this year’s Customer Service Week will undeniably highlight the importance of great customer experiences and reinforce a customer-focused culture in Rwanda.
Remember, improving service delivery in Rwanda is a collective effort, requiring all of our efforts as Rwandan people. It is through such activities that many firms and individuals will get to understand why customer service is a competitive edge for Rwanda and Africa.
The writer is a customer service consultant and the publisher of The ServiceMag