Published: September 27, 2013 | Comments
Note from the editor: The helpdesk and support team play very different roles within the contact center. As such, they approach and see things differently. We want to explore those differences in a featured article each month. This month, in honor of Customer Service Week being right around the corner, we’re taking a bit of a more light-hearted approach to this series. Read as Jeremiah and Brooks share their favorite Customer Service Week memories. Do you have a favorite Customer Service Week memory to share? Leave it in the comments below.
Take the Party Out of the Office
I’ve always looked forward to Customer Service Week because it takes me back to when I first started working for iContact. Just a few weeks after I started on the floor as a support rep, we were in the midst of Customer Service week, with lunchtime events every day, food brought to our desks and a culminating Friday afternoon event at Frankie’s Fun Place (an amusement park in Raleigh). This was my first ever job as a support rep facing external customers (my previous work experience was providing internal tech support), so having that experience early allowed me to really feel the value of what I was doing and know that our support agents were appreciated. I knew right away that this was an amazing company and department to work for and 3 years later, I’m still here!
Based on this experience, if you can swing it, I do recommend having an off-site event for your Support team. Since by nature, Support departments don’t get to shut down very often, if there’s one time you can pull it off, Customer Service Week is a great time to do it! If you can’t pull that off (or, even if you can), try to come up with a smaller fun event to do each day. In that first Customer Service Week I was with iContact, we had a lot of creative events that allowed us all to interact and get to know each other, such as creating our own ‘mood boards’ as a small art project. We would take half the agents off the floor for lunch one hour and the other half the next hour to ensure everybody got to participate. Collect all those customer kudos you’ve been gathering from satisfaction surveys and make sure your agents are feeling the love from customers. Being a support rep can sometimes be a stressful job, but this is a great time to try to relax and have fun.
Give Back to the Community
We at iContact have celebrated Customer Service Week for as long as I’ve been here, and I must say that we’ve had a great time every single year. We’ve participated in a wide range of activities over the years, including senior executives delivering breakfast to each agent’s desk, video game competitions, and even cubicle “yard sales.” We typically do these smaller things throughout the week and then end with something BIG that Friday.
My favorite end to Customer Service Week was one year when we all volunteered for local non-profits, and then shared a team outing at a local restaurant. As a department, we picked out two local non-profits that could use large groups of volunteers for the day. Everyone picked a non-profit to volunteer for, and on that Friday, we skipped the morning commute to the office and went straight to the non-profit organizations instead. Half of us, including myself, chose to volunteer with Urban Ministries of Wake county while the rest of the team volunteered at a local food bank. At the Urban Ministries facility, they offer health services, a food bank, and a women’s shelter. The list of chores was extensive, but we had the manpower to knock it out in a matter of hours. Those that liked the outdoors got to help out in the vegetable garden. Those that were fairly active got to help organize the food bank. Those that were less active stayed inside to help out where needed. Depending on what type of person you were, you were allowed to help a great cause while remaining in your element. After wrapping things up with the non-profits, everyone in the department met up at a local BBQ restaurant to share stories from the day, and eat some excellent food.
The takeaway for me: Customer Service Week doesn’t have to be all about us. Sure, it was nice being out of the office, but more importantly, we got a chance to be part of something that was much bigger than our team or our department. We got to help out our community while still working with one another as a team. While a lot of Customer Service Week is all about rewarding agents with free food and games, offering our services to a good cause was the most rewarding experience of all.
All of the Customer Service Week activities have been great over the years, but this was something that I will always fondly remember. I would encourage anyone reading this to do what you can to make this happen in your organization.