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National Customer Service Week-'United Through Service'

October 08, 2014

There is a line in Arthur Miller’s iconic play “Death of a Salesman” where the character Linda is providing  Biff, the son of flawed central character Willy Loman perspective on his dad and says, “Attention must be paid.” I cite this because in case you were not aware October 7-11 is by presidential proclamation here in the U.S., National Customer Service Week. It is a week that for years has been established as a time to honor those who are on the frontlines of providing customer care.  And, rightfully is one where attention should be paid if you have not done so already.


It should be noted that enhancing the customer experience is now a top priority of C-levels around the world, that recognition of the frontline people who daily are engaged in hundreds of millions of customer interactions this year’s theme “United through Service” is extremely relevant.

 History of National Customer Service Week

A little bit of history is in order. The International Customer Service Association (www.ICSAtoday.org) created National Customer Service Week in 1984 in support of its mission to recognize and reward individuals who provide service to customers as the primary function of their job. Thanks to ICSA’s efforts, in 1992, President George H. Bush signed a Presidential Proclamation setting aside the first week of October as National Customer Service Week. In the Proclamation, President Bush cited the clear value of service excellence in a free market economy:  

A business will do a better job of providing high quality goods and services by listening to its employees and by empowering them with opportunities to make a difference. Customer service professionals work in the front lines where a firm meets its customers; where supply meets demand. With responsive policies and procedures and with simple courtesy, customer service professionals can go a long way toward ensuring customer satisfaction and eliciting the next round of orders and purchases.”

As ICSA explains, this year’s theme is about the tremendous value customer care professionals provide in not only creating an exceptional customer experience but also a bond between the customer and the company, i.e., they become – united, through that service experience.

The logo for this year is presented below, and for those looking for some swag to provide as recognition, ICSA has created NCSW merchandise available through Café Press.

Source: ICSA

The realities are that because of the nature of the news, bad or sensational news dominates. Unfortunately, the old rules of journalistic practice prevail.  Dog bites man is not news, while man bites dog is. It is why stories about bad customer service go viral and social media is filled with anecdotal horror stories, while there is scant notice of the fact that most interactions do satisfy and even delight customers. Indeed, for most sectors, thanks to a combination of technology and people with a passion for solving customer problems, customer satisfaction rates are high and going higher.

If you do a search on National Customer Service Week, you will find a slew of advice on how best to recognize the efforts of your frontline people. I leave it to you to select from all of these suggestions which are too numerous to recite here. The best advice is this week should not go unnoticed, and the hard work done by those who regularly engage customers should be recognized and in some measure rewarded. 

As noted at the top, attention should be paid. And, while providing great customer service, internally as well as externally, is not something that deserves attention one week of the year, why not use this week as a way to get in the habit of appreciating those who in many respects are vital to the stewardship of your brand and all that this entails.  




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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