The Evolution Of The Customer Service Hike

The view from my customer service hike today at Kwaay Paay Summit.

The view from my customer service hike today at Kwaay Paay Summit.

About a year ago, I was reading one of my favorite customer service blogs written by Jeff Toister.  In this particular post he talked about the friendliness of the people he encounters while hiking.  While reading that post, I quickly realized that Jeff hikes many of the same San Diego trails as me.  (If you live in San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park is a gem. Check it out!)

So one thing led to another and Jeff Toister and I began embarking on customer service hikes.  On these hikes we generally discuss anything from baseball, to vacations, to interesting hiking factoids–oh and of course we talk about everything having to do with contact centers and customer service.

Never being one for stuffy networking events, this is the kind of networking I can get used to.  While I’m in no way proposing that we turn all networking events into hikes, I do want to take a moment to reflect on just a few benefits of networking with other professionals in a similar line of work.

1. Getting an outside opinion– We are so good in our companies at getting wrapped up in our issues and operating like we are the only company that has experienced such an issue.  I’m positive that there is someone else out there who has been in your shoes.  Networking enables you to find those people and they just might be willing to help you work through the problem.

2. Gateway to other opportunities- Networking enables you to learn about opportunities for learning and growth in your industry.  Some of the many include conferences, webinars, books and other resources.

3. Getting away from the desk- Couple the fresh air with a healthy discussion about what’s going on in your company or industry and you have a recipe to breathe fresh life into your work and your company.  I return from every customer service hike inspired and equipped with a bunch of ways to do my job better.

What are your favorite ways to network with other professionals in your line of work?  If you’re into customer service and you’re ever in San Diego, give me a call and we’ll go on a customer service hike!

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Jeremy Watkin is Director of Customer Experience and Support at NumberBarn. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service and contact center professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, product marketing, social media, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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