There actually is a week set aside as 'Customer Service Week'. Most people don't even know when it is so for those who don't, it's the first full week of October. Believe it or not, there are even resource centres set up to provide things to do for this week-long celebration. Things like rewarding your team and having a patriotic colour day, making a difference by participating in community events and so on and so on and so on, according to John Tschohl, president for the US-based Service Quality Institute.
It is recommended that you start with a theme and let it serve as a guideline for decisions you make and coordinating activities for the week. But why isn't every week Customer Service Week?
Take the Home Depot for instance. They celebrate Customer Service week 52 times a year. Home Depot is light years ahead of other home improvement stores when it comes to superior service. Home Depot has created a service culture with empowered and service-driven employees. Week after week its employees excel at service. Home Depot's four keys to success are:
- The customer is king. Everything is done for that customer when he needs it done to ensure that he will return.
- Do not believe the hype. The only way for executives to really know what is going on in the store is to be in the store and see what the customers are saying and doing.
- Run scared. Always be ready to rethink your plans and change to meet the new needs. Do not get complacent when you are doing a good job, because the market is continually evolving.
- Be an entrepreneur. Everyone within the organisation must be empowered to do what is right in a situation, not just what company policy dictates.
The 2014 fiscal year was a great year for The Home Depot; they had record retail sales, and all three U.S. Divisions, Canada and Mexico had positive comparable store sales. Sales growth in the year was $4.4 billion, or 5.5%, with comparable store sales up 5.3% for the Company and 6.1% in the U.S.
And then there's Apple: If you walk into an Apple store today you will be greeted by a sales staff member and you are not asked, "How can I help you?" Instead they ask, "What would you like to do today?" They go right to the heart of any technology user's question, a question that's always related to what they want to do with the technology the user is interested in.
Once you explain your needs, they take care of it - on the spot in most cases. If you need more hand holding, they turn you over to the Apple Geniuses. By adhering to their basic principles of keeping it simple and by constantly offering great customer service and in-store experiences, Apple will continue to grow and command a large share of the market.
On March 28th, 2015, Apple reported quarterly results of $13.6 Billion Profit based on $55 Billion in Revenue. That included 10 new stores, and remodelling of 3 stores. It has 437 stores, 41% of which are outside the US and, of a total of 25 new stores in 2015, three-quarters are outside the US, and there are plans to remodel 5 more stores. Average revenue per store was $11.9 million compared to $10.9 million one year before. The stores had 102 million visitors, representing 18,000 visitors per store per week. Apple's customer service is the company's secret weapon for success.
While Apple's bank account has swelled to nearly $200 billion on the back of innovative products like the iPod and the iPhone, the company's incredible customer service has similarly played an instrumental and pivotal role in that success.
"And the moral of the story? Companies with incredible customer service steamroll the competition, continuing for years to confound competitors with poor customer service by out-performing them no matter what they do," concluded Tschohl. "Service should be part of everyone's job description. Service should be the umbrella over your corporate organisation plan. What is needed is a whole-company customer service mentality for every hour, every day, every single week of the year. It's not for just one week in October - it's for 52 weeks of the year."