Build Stronger Teams

Secret Agents Discover Other Departments

To celebrate Customer Service Week, the team at Systems Services of America took a page from the classic television series Mission Impossible.

While the theme music played on reps’ computers, each person selected an unmarked envelope with their mission … should they choose to accept it.

Dressed in trench coats and dark glasses the team made their way through the building gathering important information. The goal was to learn about the many steps taken to ensure worker safety in the company’s warehouse. The idea would work equally well to inform and educate staff about other departments.

After all of the safety information was gathered, the staff met at a non-alcoholic cocktail party to celebrate the week and share their new-found information.

Gala Director’s Luncheon

At the Memphis IRS Employee Resource Center, Customer Service Week is a time to show reps how much they are appreciated, celebrate milestones, recognize outstanding service, and connect with coworkers and former employees.

How do they do all that in one week? It’s a very busy week.

Each day is celebrated with a different theme and then there are the major events like the gala Director’s Luncheon on Thursday. While the management and leadership team serves lunch, the Director’s Awards and the Length of Service Awards are presented. To make this event even more special, executives and former employees from near and far are invited to attend and share in the celebration.

Another important event was incorporated into the celebration when the team received its 4 millionth customer call. That’s like one call from each person in the state of Oregon. It’s an amazing milestone, which was celebrated by all, including a special gift for the lucky rep who took the call.

Finally, to wrap up the festive week, a special video was created. It included highlights of the 2010 event as well as prior celebrations.

Celebration Spans 8,000 Miles

The celebration at Approva Corporation in Virginia was designed to include everyone from local service staff to support staff over 8,000 miles away. To get everyone involved three different types of events were organized.

  • Department-Wide. Each day, members of the service and support team received a small token of management’s appreciation. By the end of the week everyone had a treasure chest of mementos from the week. The team was also treated to a thank-you lunch, which was hosted by the Senior Vice President of Global Customer Solutions. But the highlight was surely the desk-chair parade. Teams of service and support staff worked together to transform their chairs into festive “floats” for a parade through the department.
  • Company-Wide. The entire company joined in a mid-week celebration with a giant cake and words of thanks and encouragement from the company CEO.
  • World-Wide. Finally, the off-site service and support team in India celebrated Customer Service Week as well. They hosted their own parade with amazing costumes made entirely from paper. While the groups are over 8,000 miles apart, they bridged the distance by sharing photos of their celebrations.

Theme Photos Create Memories

Each year, the team at Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley finds an opportunity to take individual and group photos during Customer Service Week.

The 2009 celebration included a “Night at the Oscars” party with dinner, goodie bags and more. The paparazzi were on hand to photograph each rep as she walked down the red carpet. Because there is only one man in the department, he individually escorted each woman and posed for a photo.

The following year, the team celebrated with a holiday theme and the lone male rep dressed as the Easter Bunny. He posed for photos with each rep and distributed plastic eggs filled with surprises after each photo was snapped.

The photos are wonderful momentos of the celebration and are sure to bring a smile for years to come.

If you don’t have an opportunity to take team photos, consider distributing disposable cameras so that you are sure to capture the fun.

Managers Serenade Their Stars

At Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, the weeklong celebration focused on teambuilding.

The first activity to bring people together was a special scavenger hunt. The instructions were to seek out supervisors and managers (excluding your own), introduce yourself and ask for their signature on your raffle ticket. The tickets were entered into a prize drawing for movie tickets or lunch with the department managers.

Manager Dena Williams tells us that even the department ’s director got into the spirit and had people stopped her all over the building to request her signature.

The second activity was the Star of the Day program. Stars were nominated by team members and supervisors. Each day a group of managers visited people who were nominated. They read the accolades from the nomination forms and distributed large paper stars. But the highlight of the presentation had to be when the managers broke into an original song, as they thanked reps for all they do each day.

Lunches Hosted by Other Departments

At Snap-on Diagnostics the customer care team celebrated with a different theme each day. And while here on the east coast the weather was definitely chilly, on the west coast they were able to enjoy a beach day at the office (the forecast called for a high of 90 degrees). There was also a pajama day, a sports jersey day, and more.

The team also enjoyed sharing a catered lunch each day. To make this possible, managers from Sales & Marketing and Finance each hosted a lunch to thank the customer care team for their hard work throughout the year.

It’s a wonderful way to build strong bonds with other departments, to recognize frontline staff, and stretch the celebration budget.

Teams Focus on Core Values

The team at AliMed celebrated Customer Service Week 2012 with an Olympic theme that focused on fun and some powerful messages.

To begin, the entire department was divided into five cross-functional groups. Each group represented an Olympic ring and a core attribute of great customer service.

Each group created materials and activities to share their attribute with the entire team. They used word searches, crosswords, tip sheets in the form of bookmarks, and more. Each day, a different attribute was celebrated:

Monday — Red — Positivity
Tuesday — Black — Empathy
Wednesday — Blue — Integrity
Thursday — Yellow — Communication
Friday — Green — Problem Solving

In addition to the color days, there were daily activities including an awards ceremony for reps with Olympic-related categories such as the AliMed Sharp Shooter, the person who has “the quickest trigger finger on the phone and is always on target.”

Throughout the week, the Olympic Medal Leader Board showed each team’s medal count. Winning teams received raffle tickets, and prizes were awarded at the end of the week.

New Moms and Babies Visit

The team at Systems Services of America has been celebrating Customer Service Week for years. But each celebration is fresh, fun and creative. Last year it brought together individuals, departments, and even former staff.

The service department celebrates on three out of the five days when everyone is on-hand to celebrate together.

Manager Dianna Bailey-Thompson shares highlights of each day:

  • Day 1. The festivities start with a company wide kick-off breakfast. Everyone is included to “signify everyone’s role in customer service,” says Bailey-Thompson. The service team also played a version of Jeopardy, with questions about the company. The prize for each correct question was a dress-down pass.
  • Day 2. The highlight of the second day was a Ladder Ball competition. This team-building activity saw reps randomly assigned to teams and then asked to invite one person from outside of the department to join their team. There was also a special surprise when the entire operations crew arrived in the customer service department with gifts for the reps and inspiring words from the Director of Operations.
  • Day 3. The final day’s activities focused on stress relief and included a catered lunch and visit from two reps who had left the department to have babies. “The babies were referred to as the ‘CSRs in training,’” says Bailey-Thompson.

Reps Recognize Each Other

To celebrate Customer Service Week, Systems Services of America created an event filled with movie trivia and an Academy Awards-style party where every rep was a star.

Weeks before the celebration, service manager Dianna Bailey-Thompson asked each rep on her team to write something special about every other person in the department. All of the comments were then combined into a “You Are The Star” booklet.

For the Oscar party, reps dressed in sparkle top hats and star shaped glasses and lined the red carpet to wait for the stars. Dianna called each rep’s name and read the compliments she had received while the rep walked, or danced, down the red carpet past cheering coworkers who blew horns and tossed confetti.

Dianna tells us that it was “a great way for the CSRs to celebrate each other as well as themselves and it was a huge success!” As a momento of the celebration each rep received a copy of the star booklet and an award for her desk.

Include Every Shift

The Customer Service Week celebration at the Gansevoort Miami Beach Hotel featured three things we love in a celebration: Great food, recognition for all, and a spectacular wrap up.

The week started with a special welcome for the morning team at 7:30 a.m. Team members were ushered through a balloon runway, past cheering executives, to a breakfast buffet.

When the afternoon team arrived at 3:00 p.m. they were greeted with cheers and applause along the runway to a cookie and “mocktail” reception.

Then on Wednesday, the overnight crew was saluted with a full breakfast with white tablecloth service as cheers and bubbles filled the air.

The week wrapped up with a carnival including games ranging from pin the nose on the general manager to, bean toss, to office chair races. Cotton candy, balloon animals, and raffles rounded out the afternoon event.