What is Customer Service Week?
Customer Service Week is about a passion and a purpose that transcends all of humanity. It’s about appreciating meaningful and noble work. You might say that it is a recognition and celebration of the importance of the people on the frontline who serve customers daily.
We can trace back the origins of International Customer Service Week back to 1984 when the International Customer Service Association (ICSA) and its members began the practice of recognizing and celebrating their frontline staff in their call centers.
Over the past three decades, the Customer Service Week celebration has grown to be a global celebration. For many, the celebration has even extended to outside the contact center to other customer-facing roles. Some have also made the celebration about appreciating customers.
Many questions like Who started Customer Service Week? When did it start? How did it get to where it is today? I will attempt to answer with the information currently available to me. I fully intend to update this post, so bookmark it for future updates.
Building the Customer Service Community is Vital
One of the many significant aspects of Customer Service Week is that it unites us all. If you were to speak to the senior leaders in contact centers of Global 2000 organizations that serve customers, they would all share how they celebrate Customer Service Week.
This is astounding! Over the past three decades, this celebration of humanity and those that serve on the frontline has quietly become more recognizable to contact center professionals as any global brand. It’s has become its own unique brand. And it’s the largest in our industry.
I wonder if the founders of Internal Customer Service Week could have ever imagined this type of proliferation? I have to think they did.
How they Made National Customer Service Week Law
Since its inception in 1984, the Customer Service Week celebration grew, and the founders of the ICSA began to set their sights on putting a much larger spotlight on getting this vital purpose of appreciating those that serve in the mainstream.
What better place than the U.S. Government to make that happen. While we do not have an official record of how ICSA leaders went about getting National Customer Service Week into law, we can research how it all came about.
What we know is that on June 20, 1991, former U.S. Senators Robert Dole and Nancy Kassebaum were the original sponsors of a bill that eventually received a total of 55 co-sponsors.
Then in October of 1992, President George H. Bush, via Presidential Proclamation #6485, created Public Law No: 102-481 (PL 102-481) proclaiming the first full business week each October to be National Customer Service Week!
It’s all year long!
A quote from then ICSA President John Kressaty, puts all of their efforts into context and connects me to its higher-purpose more than three decades later.
“There are two main purposes of National Customer Service Week,” says Kressaty. “It lets you recognize the job that your customer service professionals do 52 weeks a year. The other purpose is to get the message across a wide range of business, government, and industry that customer service is very important along with bottom-line profit in running a business,” explains Kressaty.
And the message in the proclamation helps us to understand how enduring this legislation is. When you read it, you become stricken as to how its still a vital message and reminder (even more so) for today.
Whereas recognizing the value and importance of the customer drives the
quality of customer service;
Whereas the high cost of attracting new customers today further emphasizes
the need to keep existing customers through effective service;
Whereas when customer service is recognized as contributing to the profit of
a company, the professional status of customer service continues to increase;
Whereas excellent customer service distinguishes successful companies that
understand the importance and influence a customer has on success; and
Whereas excellent customer service contributes to the growth and success of
every company: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled, That the week of October 4 through 10,
1992, is designated as `National Customer Service Week’, and the President
is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling on the people of
the United States to observe the week with appropriate programs, ceremonies,
Launching a Global CX Celebration
Once Public Law No: 102-481 was passed, the U.S. politically and economically began to influence the entire world to recognize National Customer Service Week.
As the economy became more global, and the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry grew, Customer Service Week became significantly more than a U.S. celebration. It was a worldwide celebration.
While the originators desired to raise awareness about Customer Service Week’s higher purpose, I suspect they never dreamed it would go global.
Where is Customer Service Week Going?
After many years of serving members, the ICSA decided to be acquired by PACE (Professional Association for Customer Engagement). In March of 2020, PACE proudly inherited the history and responsibility to carry forth the intent and spirit of Customer Service Week and to unite the community.
Each of us owns the success of all of us. Customer Service is meaningful and noble work and appreciating and celebrating those that serve is our duty.
Helping others to deliver better customer experiences honors those that served to get this treasured legislation passed into U.S. law.
In August 2020, PACE partnered with CX Global Media to help launch the Customer Service Weekly, the Official Podcast, and Publication of National Customer Service Week.
The purpose that drives the Customer Service Weekly is to build community and help everyone Ignite CX Celebration all year through stories, tools, tips, and more.
Be a member of our purpose-driven community today. There are two free membership opportunities awaiting you.
- Learn more about the Customer Service Weekly Podcast
- Learn more about the Customer Service Weekly
- Learn about Supporting Customer Service Weekly
Here is the timeline of this valued piece of U.S. Legislation:
10/23/1992 Became Public Law No: 102-481.
10/23/1992 Signed by President.
10/20/1992 Presented to President.
10/06/1992 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed without objection.
10/06/1992 Committee on Post Office and Civil Service discharged.
04/29/1992 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Voice Vote.
04/29/1992 Senate Committee on Judiciary discharged by Unanimous Consent.
06/20/1991 Introduced in Senate (S.J.Res.166)
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Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.