woman in the rain

A great customer service experience means repeat customers. Making that happen requires more than just a friendly face or being attentive, however.

In the digital age, memorable customer experiences flow from a variety of sources that vary by business and industry vertical.

And there’s no better time than now to think about this because it’s National Customer Service Week.

The brainchild of the International Customer Service Association, the event was created in 1984 and proclaimed a national event by the US Congress in 1992. It runs today through Friday.

The organization is specifically promoting the work of Chip Bell, who offers several books and presentations about offering superior customer service.

(Editor's Note: Great digital experience is a foundation of customer service across many touchpoints. Learn more about it at CMSWire's DX Summit 2015 conference on Nov. 3 and 4 in Chicago.)

Chip Bell’s Practical Tips

Chip Bell
While going all-in with one individual’s advice is sometimes risky, Bell’s recent book offers three rather solid points about connecting with customers. He recommends you find ways to laugh, celebrate with and use your “crystal ball” with your customers.

With laughter, he argues that you should know your customers’ interests, lifestyles and find out what they really like and appreciate.

In terms of celebrations, get to know customers well enough to recognize any milestones they cross while being a part of your business.

Finally, he recommends Nordstrom's “outcome after the outcome method,” where employees are taught to play out the possibilities of what customers will be doing, thinking and feeling after their needs are met. This way you’re thinking about other opportunities and making a deeper connection with their interests.

Tomorrow is CX Day

Another component to the week is CX Day, which runs tomorrow. It’s the third annual event from the Customer Experience Professional Association, with plenty of online and face-to-face activities built in.

Bruce Temkin
There’s a webinar, Twitter discussion and various videocasts scheduled for throughout the day. For example, you can watch CXPA co-founders Bruce Temkin, a CMSWire contributing author, and Jeanne Bliss talk about trends impacting how customer experience happens.

If you’re in a city like San Francisco, London, Oslo or Washington, DC, then you might be able to find a local event.

Microsoft, for example, is hosting a gathering at the Microsoft Visitor Center with a keynote address, roundtable discussion and opportunities for networking. Other events can be found in cities worldwide, so check the CXPA website for details about one in your area.

Even if you don’t attend an event online or in person, you’ll probably spend a good portion of your time — all year long — thinking about ways to provide a good customer experience. It’s a 365 day a year mandate for customer-centric businesses.

If there’s a unifying theme from the disparate customer service week events, it’s about building a strong relationship with customers. No matter the nature of the business, finding strategies for doing this is a key part of the customer retention process.

10 Great Customer Service Reads from CMSWire

  1. 7 Things Stew Leonard's Can Teach You About Your Customers
  2. Customer Service Success Starts at the Source
  3. DX Digest: Mike Hughes on Customer Journey Mapping #DXS15
  4. How Is Your Customer Service Team Doing?
  5. Modern Customer Service: Are You There Yet?
  6. Personality Matters in Customer Service
  7. Reimagine Customer Service with the IoT
  8. The 3 C's of Personalized Customer Service
  9. This Tiny Restaurant Knows More than You About Customer Experience
  10. What's the Future of Customer Service? Ask Salesforce

If you'd like to learn more about customer service — and how digital customer experience can help you provide seamless interactions across touchpoints, attend the DX Summit in Chicago on November 3 and 4. Find out more here.

Title image by Matthew Wiebe.