Customer service is not what you say about yourself, it’s what people say about you through frequent interactions with your customer-facing employees. The customers are the best judges of your customer service strategy. No matter how great your product or service is, if you do not have a great customer service team, your chances of surviving in the highly competitive marketplace are indeed low. Sometimes, some organisations overlook the roles of these professionals in interacting and managing the customers. They focus all their energy and expertise on developing a great brand or building a flawless process for the company. Their understanding of the roles and functions – and impact on revenue – of customer service is largely medieval. Little wonder, you find in their advertising such claims as “we’re a customer friendly company, please buy from us.” No, we won’t buy from you!
This year’s International Week for Customer Service provided a number of organisations the opportunity to reiterate the customer-facing roles and its impact on the bottom line. Beyond this, it also created an avenue for these professionals to be celebrated and appreciated. All around the world, Customer Service Week is celebrated in the first full week in October. It’s an international celebration to mark the importance of customer service and appreciates the individuals (champions) who serve and support customers on a daily basis. During the week, a lot of corporate organisations, especially those who relate with their customers on a daily – sometimes hourly basis – organised some activities to celebrate. For instance, all the Jumia Travel ventures in over 23 countries celebrated the Week with some interesting and team building activities such as, Customer Call Workshop, Customer Experience Sketch, Fashion Show (crazy glamorous) and Awards Presentation to the customer service team.
For Jumia Travel Nigeria, the week started with the managing director Kushal Dutta appreciating all employees, especially the customer service staff who are called Travel Advisors. Kushal mentioned that customer service isn’t just a department, rather it’s a culture that every single employee must have. He underscored the importance of each member of the team to act as customer service agents for the company. He outlined the direct impact of good customer service on any business, saying that a customer’s lifecycle value (which is measured by how long a customer stays once he/she is acquired) most times depends on the kind of service he gets from the company. Effective customer service, according to him, reduces negative word of mouth and impacts revenue positively.
Organisations should start investing a lot of capital on equipping its customer service unit. For them to perform effectively, Jumia Travel’s Head of Customer Service, Nigeria suggested these recommendations:
- Strengthen your customer service skills: show empathy, integrity, respect, integrity, professionalism and expertise.
- Improve customers’ interactions: practice active listening, follow up after a problem is resolved, and admit mistakes even before customers find out.
III. Develop a customer service strategy.
- Encourage feedback from customers.
- Engage your customer service representatives.
During the two days celebration, Omolara who heads the Nigerian customer service team commended them for holding the forte for the company. She reminded the team that a great customer experience is the best lever for word of mouth and word of mouth is the best lever for growth.
To spice up the celebration and truly appreciate the team, some awards although with funny categories were presented to members of the customer service team. Some of these included Cliff Jumper; Most Excited About Friday (Everyday is Monday); The Caffeine Addict; Iron Chef; Can-Do Spirit; Trash Can; Yackety Yack; Firing on all Cylinders; One More Thing; It’s 5’o Clock Somewhere; and The Evil Twin. There was also a fashion show where employees were grouped into teams and each team was expected to dress up a customer service agent in the team to contest with other teams. The theme of the fashion show was “Dress Crazy Glamorous”. And truly, the participants did not disappoint.