• Kelly E. Middleton

Celebrate National Customer Service Week by Recognizing Your Staff!

Updated: Oct 1, 2018



Those of us who follow the news in the customer service world know that the first week in October is National Customer Service Week (NCSW). It's a great annual reminder to celebrate achieving your customer service goals and reflect on what you've done well. (Afterward, I recommend leaders set goals for the new year so your service can continue to improve. To learn more about this process of planning and reflecting you can read my book, Competing for Kids.)


Customer service guru Shep Hyken says that a great way to celebrate NCSW is by having a day (or after-school event, if you can't take that much time) when you can celebrate with your entire building staff. He goes on to say that one activity that comes up for NCSW year after year is trading places. In this scenario, leaders "work" the front lines to get a sense for what it's like for their employees, which can foster a greater respect and build relationships - on top of being hilarious at times!


This activity reminds me of the show Undercover Boss. For those of you who are not familiar with it, this reality show takes a top executive and places him or her in a front lines position (in disguise so nobody knows who they actually are). The goal of this covert operation is to get some insight as to what a work day entails for their employees and hopefully improve the company and workers' happiness by amending troublesome rules or making personnel changes.


I've found that trading places, or, walking in the shoes of the customer as I like to say, is helpful for school leaders whenever possible. Substituting for a teacher for one period so he or she can take a break is a great way to practice this concept and simultaneously give back to your staff. Another way is to sub in at the cafeteria - or better yet, cook for your staff! Taking time out of your busy schedule to show your appreciation with food is a great way to endear yourself to staff and show you appreciate them at the same time.

This year, in October, my district level leaders and principals will be shadowing one student all day from the bus ride to and from school and everything in between. We are going to sit through classes all school-day long, eat in the cafeteria, and listen to student issues. We will then meet with all leaders as a group, share our day, and see if we make our students school life any better.


Another thought for leaders would be to substitute for a half or full day in the roles of the most experienced staff. Teachers and staff can witness their leaders in the classroom, cafeteria, school buses, etc. I like to think it is a good reminder of what life was like back when they were starting out in education.


For more ideas on how to celebrate National Customer Service Week, you can check out Shep Hyken's post in Forbes. You can also check out the Customer Service Week website for ideas, planning tools and ways to connect with others celebrating this special day.

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