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A Thing

The wisdom in celebration

By Ken Musante, Humboldt Merchant Services

It seems there is a holiday for nearly every day of the year. Occasions for sending greeting cards have certainly been proliferating. Many calendars, for example, now list Grandparent's Day, Stepfamily Day, Administrative Professionals Day, Sweetest Day and Earth Day.

We even celebrate Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day by bringing our progeny to the office.

I am both impressed by the creativity of these pseudo holidays and bothered that they diminish the spotlight on our more hallowed, traditional celebrations.

Some of you may feel the same about National Customer Service Week, which occurred this year during the first week of October. National Customer Service Week at Humboldt Merchant Services, however, is like Easter at the Vatican.

Partying with a purpose

In the weeks leading up to this year's event, we hung posters throughout the building. We also provided a calendar listing the week's events, games and prizes. We updated our merchant statement message, announcing the celebration, and several of our vendor partners joined in the fun.

The Friday before the event, we all received invitations to the festivities, which kicked off with an HMS-sponsored bagel breakfast the following Monday.

Each day of the merrymaking, specific units within HMS were highlighted and gifts were distributed, compliments of VeriFone, American Express Co., Authorize.Net and Hypercom Corp.

We organized teams that combined individuals from throughout the organization so staff would have a chance to partner with professionals from other units. Both sales and operations folks worked side by side to accomplish their goals. Such activities increase inter-unit cooperation, communication and empathy.

Praising superior service

Karen Houseworth, HMS Customer Service Manager, has led our Customer Service Week Committee for three years. She respects and celebrates this week because even though customer service is something we do all year round, it's important to understand - regardless of our titles or job duties - we all have customers. Further, in this age of outsourcing and automation, it's important to personalize customer service.

Despite the proliferation of holidays, we tend to emphasize the days set aside for individuals or events that stir within us feelings of affection and pride. Grandparent's Day may be another excuse to buy a greeting card, but staying connected to grandparents makes for stronger families.

Yes, I am proud of my daughter. The chance to bring her to work and introduce her to my colleagues enhances my relationships - with her and with my peers.

And, because we at HMS are proud of our customer service, we are able to celebrate Customer Service Week. The overall experience is making us a better team.

I encourage everyone within the merchant services industry to honor and recognize superior customer service. After all, every day is a holiday when you are working in the payments industry.

Ken Musante is President of Humboldt Merchant Services. E-mail him at

Article published in issue number 061101

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