This week we have been overwhelmed with submissions from organisations in response to our call for Customer Service Heroes campaign in advance of CCA Convention which is only two weeks away (and counting!)
What’s striking apart from the volume and incredible testimonials, is how few accolades those nominated actually get, apart from within their own departments and organisations. 
Guiding distressed women through early childbirth, helping prevent someone ending their lives, taking time to reassure bereaved individuals of their financial position; in reality providing a distressed person with an empathetic ear. The cliché ‘going the extra mile’ doesn’t begin to do justice to the reality faced by thousands of dedicated professionals in public and private sectors, who get huge satisfaction, yet modest financial rewards, from their valuable interactions with a needy public. Providing customers with the most precious of all words ‘please don’t worry let’s see how we can sort this out’.
And yet our public perception of customer service roles remains distorted, like a worn out record, a generic collective, failing to keep abreast with the new norm that most organisations are now in fact essentially a front-line with less and less happening in the middle and face to face. Once self-serve has been exhausted, what's left for human intervention is emotional difficult, complex; probably all three.
The colossal lack of trust between consumers and organisations today, many of whom were previously held in high esteem, is a seismic shift resulting in a demand for clarity and affirmation from sceptical consumers like never before. Speaking to 'people like me' whom I might trust becomes vital yet we still struggle to understand the true value of these interactions.
Being empathetic, experienced, non-judgmental, a problem solver, dedicated, able to reassure and of course accurately record the proceedings all at the same time; plus of course having an innate ability with multiple technologies are just a few pre-requisites for the job today - any takers?
True leadership recognises and empowers this activity, ensuring that technology decisions are rigorously challenged to ensure they enable colleagues and customers alike - a win win. It understands that responsibility for customer is an enterprise-wide collective, ensuring that non customer facing departments understand and support the front-line real-time.  True leadership ensures that the voice of customer is understood and that the organisation becomes agile and adapts to changes in sentiment and behaviour as it happens - avoiding the creation of a defensive buffer zone where customers feel alienated from the organisation.
The strength of an organisation’s ability to deliver this are tested in the CCA 'health check' for customer service, a thorough diagnosis of how your organisation is placed against the industry benchmark when serving customers; what are your strengths and equally where are the blockages preventing you delivering to set expectations?
We are delighted to present awards to the latest 20 organisations achieving this award at our forthcoming Convention. To date more than 200 organisations have worked hard to achieve and exceed this benchmark. Organisations have benefited in building trust between them and their customer base.
At the end of the day it's the small things that build and equally erode trust - no matter how digitally sophisticated we become, keeping promises will never go out of fashion.