By Sofie Thompson

Around the world, the first week in October recognizes the critical role customer service plays in almost every organization. Established in 1984, this recognition week focuses on acknowledging the impact customer service has on the loyalty and satisfaction of customers. Here are some easy ways SMB owners can celebrate National Customer Service Week.

One of the ways we recommend celebrating this day is by showing appreciation to your employees who provide that frontline customer service.  They spend a significant amount of time making your customers feel special and taken care of – take this week to do the same for them.

Develop a plan for the week dedicating specific themes and activities to each day. This planning should take place several weeks in advance, so there is enough time to plan activities, cater food/treats, decorate and prepare for any themes or costumes.

Have a dress-down or dress-up day to add a little fun in the office. Although ICSA creates a theme every year, many companies often pick their theme for every day of the week. Easy themes include Team Spirit, Denim Day, Hawaiian Shirt Day, Tie Dye, Pajama Day, Ugly Sweater Day and more. Be creative and take advantage of this excuse to dress up for a whole week! It could also be fun to include a costume contest to end the week!

Choose a day or two to cater food for the team! This doesn’t need to be anything fancy unless you want to go that route. Some easy examples include a pizza party, subs, a grilled cheese bar or a build your own taco station. Bagels, pastries and a fruit bowl are also easy ways to cater a brunch. If you want a way to incorporate your team into the mix, have everyone sign up for a day to bring in a goodie or hold a baking/cooking contest.

Nothing says an office celebration like some trivia or Bingo! Take some time out of the day to gather your team for activities and chances to win prizes. Some activities can include the cookie challenge, playing a movie, charades, a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, typing-speed races, show and tell and playing games that let you know more about employees personally. Is your team not a “gaming” kind of team? Try hiring an instructor to teach a class, including yoga, self-defense or painting. If possible, develop a creative way to relate some of these back to customer service or turn them into team-building activities.

As fun as it would be to play games all week, incorporate some skill-building activities into the schedule to encourage your team to learn something new and get involved. This can include inviting a motivational speaker to give a presentation or having your team understand the skills of other departments.

Reward your customer service team for their hard work! Plan an awards ceremony at the end of the week to recognize each team member individually for their dedication to the critical role they play within the organization. Pass out a physical award and make a statement of gratitude for their contribution to the team. These awards can be as simple as a certificate, medal, trophy or even a goody bag.

Having the whole team sign a personalized card can be a meaningful gesture as well. Your group can fill out appreciation notes throughout the week and post them on a bulletin board displayed where everyone can see them.

As you can see, there are multiple different ways to make the most out of National Customer Service Week! Use this time to get your team involved and acknowledge your customer service team’s hard work daily.