Microtest, a $50-million computer and LAN products supplier, celebrates National Customer Service Week each year. The Phoenix-based company designs a series of activities to recognize the firm's 200 employees for their dedication to customers. At the central event--a recognition banquet--the company presents awards based on peer nominations, customer letters, and management selection. Linda O'Keeffe, Microtest's director of channel marketing and customer operations, offers the following cautions for those considering similar events.

  • Focus on the future. Bagel breakfasts, cookie breaks, and potluck lunches are fine, but remember that the purpose of the annual celebration is to remind people of the excellent work they have done. A week-long theme such as "Making A Difference" can reinforce this emphasis.
  • Recognize employees for service to others within the company as well as to external customers. Everyone makes a contribution that ultimately affects the customer's experience. Don't limit your focus to employees with direct customer contact. Manufacturing, engineering, and other departments will feel slighted if they're not included.
  • Don't view the celebration as a complete recognition program. Long-lasting motivation comes from recognizing employees "in-the-moment," not just once a year. O'Keeffe E-mailed everyone in the company to recognize one individual's effort in saving an order.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing