We celebrate Customer Service week during the first full week of October. Signed into law by President George Bush in 1992, the focus is employees!

“Attention is devoted to recognizing the importance of customer service and to honoring the people who serve and support customers with the highest degree of care and professionalism.”

How amazing is that?! Congress recognized that without caring employees who provide excellent service, businesses would suffer. While I think that a more appropriate name for the week’s observance would be “Employee Recognition Week”, it is important to acknowledge what your staff and employees contribute to your business. Even if you are a ‘solo’ business owner, there are people who contribute to your business; a bookkeeper, administrative assistant, computer guru, social media consultant, etc. Take the time to acknowledge each person’s contribution to your business and your customers. There are numerous studies that cite the power that recognition has to motivate employees. Nearly 80% of employees who quit their jobs, do so because they feel unappreciated. While they may say in an exit interview, that they are leaving because of salary or a better offer, the underlying reason is most often a lack of recognition. We all need to feel that our efforts make a difference and a contribution. If we are never acknowledged for our work, demotivation sets in and we need to get that very human need met in some way.

handshakeWhen staff is demoralized, how can the customer be served well? Recognition does not require a trophy or cash, it is about taking the time to verbally thank people for their contribution. A genuine “thank you” from the business owner or manager can make a huge difference in performance and productivity. Knowing how to acknowledge and thank people is a skill worth developing.

Many times, when I suggest to a client that employee acknowledgement is an important part of their work, I hear comments like, “ why should I thank them for just doing their jobs?” or “ if I recognize them too much, they will expect pats on the back all the time.” Those comments drive me to look at the turn-over statistics for the business. Acknowledgement – real and genuine acknowledgement – is a powerful employee and customer retention tool! Use it.

If you don’t know how to provide recognition that is meaningful, learn how. Say, “Thank you” and use the person’s name and be specific about what you are thanking the employee for. Write a ‘thank you’ note. Bring in lunch for the team when you want to recognize effort. Give fun awards or certificates.

Make your “thank you’s” fun for both you and your staff!

Your customers will benefit from your acknowledgement of your staff. A happier staff will mean more satisfied and served customers.