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How to Identify your Customer Service Heroes

Does your business or organization have a process to identify your customer service heroes? If not, consider this brilliant, simple, and cost-effective strategy.

Several years ago, I attended a conference in Branson, Missouri. One of the “perks” included free admission to Silver Dollar City, a theme park that features a variety of rides, attractions, shopping, and dining. In fact, if you’re a fan of Undercover Boss, you might remember an early episode featuring Joel Manby, who was the president of Herschend Family Entertainment, which owns Silver Dollar City, among other entertainment properties in the United States.

While enjoying some ice cream during a warm fall afternoon, I sat on a shaded bench and watched a park employee on “broom and dustpan duty” interact with visitors. Although the park employee was an older gentleman, he exuded a tremendous amount of energy – all positive energy, by the way.

Using an exaggerated “hillbilly” voice, the park employee struck up a conversation with a child, whom he had laughing within seconds. Soon, the child’s mother and I joined in the laughter, despite my status as a mere bystander on a nearby bench.

And then I saw something interesting happen. The mom handed a wooden silver dollar to her son. She told her son to give it to the park employee. Her son then gave the silver dollar to the park employee, who said, “Well, thank you very much, young man. I’ll keep this forever!”

Once the child and his mom wandered away, I asked the park employee about the wooden silver dollar. The park employee explained that when visitors purchase their tickets and enter the park, a theme park representative randomly provides some visitors with a wooden silver dollar. Those visitors are asked to give the wooden silver dollar to a park employee who “made their day.” Then, during employee team meetings, park employees who receive wooden silver dollars from visitors are recognized for their customer service.

I asked the park employee how many wooden silver dollars he had received. He replied, “Quite a few,” which, based on my short observation, didn’t surprise me at all.

And that experience at Silver Dollar City sparks an important question: What process does your business or organization use to identify and recognize customer service heroes?

As leaders in our business or organization, we tend to assume that the key to cultivating a culture of customer service excellence consists of monetary rewards, such as bonuses, commissions, and incentive pay; however, although the value of monetary awards cannot be entirely dismissed, let’s not forget the power of non-monetary incentives, including the simple and cost-effective approach used by Silver Dollar City. By the way, Silver Dollar City also provides the ability to recognize park employees who have gone “above and beyond” via a website link.

This week, take a moment to think about and discuss the following:

  • Does our business or organization have an effective process in place to identify and recognize our very own customer service heroes?
  • If we don’t have such a process in place, what process can our business or organization create and implement, similar to the one used by Silver Dollar City?
  • If we have such a process in place, how effective is our process, and how can our business or organization improve it?

As always, have a customerific week!

Mark