The Stevie Awards Blog

Should Companies Be More Cautious?

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Feb 27, 2019 @ 01:13 PM

Ask executives about their biggest priorities, and you might hear plans to grow sales, to generate efficient systems, or to develop new product lines.

Jillian Hamilton’s mission is to remind corporate leaders they should also focus on threats that seemingly come out of nowhere: an expensive fine from regulators, a large-scale cyberattack, or a costly workplace accident.

For Hamilton, founder and managing director of Australian risk advisory firm Manage Damage, organizations tend to be under-invested in certain areas. The reason? It’s hard to put a dollar amount on the potential damage an incident will produce.

A corporate safety officer and risk manager by background, Hamilton decided to change that dynamic. She launched Manage Damage in 2016 with what she calls a “risk dollarization” approach, in which nonfinancial risk is translated into a financial cost.

“Our method provides senior management members with risk information in language they understand,” says Hamilton. “It enables businesses to see where issues lie and where true associated costs are located.”

manage damage

Monetizing Risk

By putting a dollar value on risk, she says leaders are more likely to act on the threats most likely to cripple a business. As an example, she points to a client whose workers’ compensation premiums were so high the entire business was on the brink of shutting down. In an industry where workers’ insurance normally accounts for 6.5 percent of an operating budget, the company was paying more than 16 percent.

After working with Manage Damage, which is based in Brisbane, Australia, the company was able to significantly curtail its expenses and improve profit margins.

“We often find the businesses we help are not even aware of how much they are paying,” Hamilton says. “More importantly, they are not aware that what they are paying is far too much.”

Hamilton will sometimes hear people object to putting a monetary value on a human life, but for her, there’s a simple way to think about this dilemma.

“Each person who works at a business is valued,” she says. “Today, you are costed at your business, and you are part of a line item in a budget.”

That number, she says, includes salary, taxes, retirement contributions, and insurance payments made on your behalf. However, she believes monetizing a potential accident only makes the workplace safer for workers.

“It’s vital we create this financially savvy safety approach precisely because I care deeply about minimizing work-induced harm,” she says. “A pragmatic approach that effectively translates safety risk into terms business and financial people can understand has the best possible chance of delivering that outcome.”

Though it only launched a couple of years ago, the company is quickly winning converts, and Manage Damage now has clients in five continents. At the 2018 Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards, the company won a Gold award for Innovation in Human Resources Management, Planning, and Practice. They also won a Gold in The 2018 International Business Awards®.

The company is certainly benefiting from a rising tide concerning risk awareness. A 2017 survey by risk management association RIMS found that nearly three-quarters of businesses have either a complete or partially integrated enterprise risk management solution in place, up from about half in 2013. Hamilton, though, sees her company’s approach as a particularly effective solution.

“Money talks,” she says. “When you start talking about the costs of safety, people listen. They listen when it is in the newspaper—that is, when it's far too late. We aim to capture people’s attention before incidents and workplace disasters. Follow the money, and listen to where business risk truly lies.”

Topics: International business awards, top business awards, risk awards

Winners Announced in 13th Annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Feb 25, 2019 @ 11:26 AM

Winners in the 13th annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, recognized as the world's top customer service awards and sales awards, were unveiled on Friday night at a gala ceremony in Las Vegas, NV, attended by more than 700 executives from around the world.

The complete list of Stevie Winners by category is available at

DP DHL, with Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award wins for activities in Canada, Ecuador, Kenya, the U.S., Vietnam, and other nations, was the most honored organization this year, earning the top Grand Stevie Award trophy for the sixth consecutive year. Other Grand Stevie Award winners, in descending order, include IBM, HomeServe USA, Sales Partnerships, Inc., VIZIO Inc., Delta Vacations, ValueSelling Associates, Dell Technologies, GuideWell Connect, and Cvent.

SASCS 2019

DP DHL won 11 Gold Stevie Awards, the most in the 2019 competition among Stevie Award winners. Among other winners, winners of three Stevie Awards include: American Airlines, EFG Companies, Teleperformance D.I.B.S, and Holiday Inn Vacations. Winners of two Gold Stevie Awards are: Birevim, Bose, CarrefourSA,, Comcast, Delta Defense, Employment Background Investigations, Inc., MarketBridge, Nextiva, Qurate Retail Group, RAIN Group, VXI Global Soluations, and WNS (Holdings) Limited.

Leaders among multiple winners of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevies include: Allianz Global Assistance, Autosoft, Inc, Cross Country Home Services, Delta Defense, Druva, Inc., Electronic Arts, First American Database Solutions, FIS, GoDaddy, iHeartMedia, Inc., John Hancock Financial Services, KT, Liveops, Mailchimp, Michael Kors, MRO Corp, Municipality and Planning Department, Nextiva, Nuance Communications, Offerpad,, Periscope Data, Pushpay, QNB Finansbank, Response, Rimini Street, TCL USA, TTEC, UPMC Health Plan, Visualize, Vivint Solar, VIZIO, VXI Global, Wells Fargo Treasury Management Client Delivery, and Wyndham Destinations.

Winners in the People’s Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Customer Service, as determined by more than 76,000 public votes were also presented at the event.

The presentations were broadcast live via Livestream and are available to watch online.

The awards are presented by the Stevie Awards, which organizes several of the world’s leading business award shows including the prestigious International Business Awards® and The American Business Awards®.

More than 2,700 nominations from organizations in 45 nations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition. Winners were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals worldwide in seven specialized judging committees. Entries were considered in 93 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Customer Service Department of the Year; 60 categories for sales and business development achievements, ranging from Senior Sales Executive of the Year to Sales Training or Business Development Executive of the Year to Sales Department of the Year; and categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at

Sponsors and supporters of the 13th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include HCL Financial Services, Sales Partnerships, Inc. and ValueSelling Associates, Inc.

Topics: customer service awards, sales awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service

What's Old is New Again

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Feb 20, 2019 @ 11:14 AM

The last few years have seen a spread of digitalization and a subsequent disruption of nearly every corner of the economy. However, vintage clothes and consumer products have been on the rise. As Western economies and professional mind-sets became increasingly future oriented, popular culture and trends simultaneously became more concerned with the styles of bygone eras. Furthermore, some consumer products that embodied this age of rapidly accelerating digitalization—arguably, Apple devices—were seemingly inspired by the simple elegance of consumer products from past eras.

In a time of rapid progress, simplicity is at the heart of this attraction to all things vintage. Professional lives are growing ever more demanding; industries are becoming more complex and are changing at an increasing pace; and the same is true of the skill sets required of workers, as well as the tools available to them. Even as the tech-driven post-crisis recovery saw unemployment eventually decline dramatically across the West, fears about job security were exacerbated, not alleviated.

chili concept

While politicians grabbed the headlines, this nostalgia for simpler days was expressed in a primarily aesthetic manner. Individual items of retro clothing, including fedoras, were imbued in their day with controversial political meaning. Today, however, most consumers simply associate those bygone eras with personal style and culture, and they prefer to think of items from the past as culturally (rather than politically or socioeconomically) historical. Widespread interest in the social upheavals of the 1960s, for example, continues, but that interest is still mainly manifested through a fascination with the era’s music and fashion.

Adapting to this trend was easy even for the makers of high-tech consumer products, who simply had to cover their innovative technologies in vintage-looking cases. For service providers, such as marketing specialists, marrying a tech-based, innovative approach to vintage style proved more difficult. After all, advertising and marketing characters are more difficult to dissociate from their broader historical contexts than consumer products.

For these service providers, they soon found choosing an era to focus on was a delicate balancing act. A vintage approach to marketing events and campaigns required careful, detailed deliberation. As with consumer products, the idea is to use an appealing vintage look and feel that harks back to an earlier age but conceals the decades of development and insights gained under that veneer.

Such a concept has to be created from the ground up, as exemplified by the vintage “Lady Betty” brand from Chili Concept. Chili Concept is a blue-chip marketing company with an eye on digitalization and innovation, which was demonstrated by their 2018 Gold Stevie® Award for Best Product Launch Event and 2018 Bronze Stevie Award and Best Brand Experience Event in the German Stevie Awards. The company won for its work with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and the launch of his Shriro Everdure barbecue grill in Australia.

lady betty

The company is future-oriented, and founder Christine Clemenz is aware of the significance of digitalization. Chili Concept is also evidently capable of contemporary direction and program management at the highest level. This makes their unique Lady Betty brand all the more noteworthy.

The brand places a heavy emphasis on sound, using primarily German swing and German-language pop music to evoke that country’s economic miracle era from the late 1940s and 1950s. The era is expertly chosen.

While the 1950s are remembered in the Anglosphere as the pre-60s era of social repression, those years are mostly remembered in Germany for a rapid ascendance from the country’s bleakest political and socioeconomic phase. Lady Betty encapsulates both the era’s style and entertainment while it conducts complex, tailored events, such as “Lady Betty’s Evening of Dance.” This included casino-like events and tastings of different foods considered treats during that time, including the obvious candidates, cheese and wine, as well as beer and lemonade.

All these items were recently marketed by their industries as fresh and interesting rather than staid and boring. With small-batch craft beers becoming increasingly popular in recent years, this approach exemplifies how marketing events can be both vintage in outlook and perfectly attuned to contemporary trends, as well as high-level corporate expectations and standards.

Topics: event awards, German Stevie Awards, event marketing

Who's Coming to the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service on Friday?

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 @ 11:37 AM

A record gathering of more than 700 business development, customer service, and sales professionals from around the world will convene in Las Vegas, Nevada this Friday, February 22 for the presentation of the 13th annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top honors for achievement in those disciplines.  The setting will be the Augustus Ballroom of Caesars Palace.

caesarsTickets for the event are on sale through Wednesday.

More than 2,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes, in virtually every industry, in 45 nations were evaluated in this year’s competition. Finalists. announced last month, were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals worldwide in seven specialized judging committees.  The Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists will be revealed during Friday's presentations.

10 Grand Stevie Award (best in show) trophies will also be presented on Friday, as well as the crystal People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite Customer Service, whose winners were announced last week.

Learn more about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service at

Here is the list of organizations that have already reserved their places for Friday's awards gala.

Access One Inc, Chicago, IL
Achievers, Toronto, ON, Canada
ActiveCampaign, Chicago, IL
Adaptiva, Kirkland, WA
AINS, Inc., Gaithersburg, MD
Air Canada, Montreal, QC, Canada
AkSigorta, Istanbul, Turkey
AllClear ID, Austin, TX
Alliance Data, Columbus, OH
Allianz Global Assistance, Richmond, VA
Allianz Services India, Kerala
Altus Group / ARGUS Software, Houston, TX
American Airlines, Ft. Worth, TX
Arizona Public Service, Phoenix, AZ
ArmadaCare, Hunt Valley, MD
AWeber - Email Marketing, Chalfont, PA
Bank of America, Charlotte, NC
BankMobile, New Haven, CT
Barclays, Henderson, NV
BenefitMall, Dallas, TX
BerniePortal, Nashville, TN
BMC Software, Houston, TX
BNY Mellon's Albridge, Pennington, NJ
Bose, Framingham, MA
C3i Solutions, Horsham, PA
CGS, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA
Cisco Systems, Inc., San Jose, CA
CivicPlus, Manhattan KS
CLEAResult, Tempe, AZ
Cloudistics, Reston, VA
Comcast, Philadelphia PA
Comm100, Lewes, DE
Con Edison, New York, NY
Concentrix, Fremont, CA
ConnectiCare, Farmington, CT
Constant Contact, Waltham, MA
Cricket Wireless, Atlanta, GA
Cross Country Home Services, Fort Lauderdale, FL
CubeSmart Self Storage, Malvern, PA
Curriculum Associates, North Billerica, MA
Darlings of Chelsea, London, United Kingdom
DataCore Software, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Dataprise, Rockville, MD
Dell Technologies, Round Rock, TX
Delta Air Lines, Atlanta, Georgia
Delta Defense, West Bend, WI
Delta Vacations, Minot, ND
DHL Express US, Tempe, AZ
DHL Global Forwarding, Miami, FL
Diligent Corporation, New York, NY
Druva Inc., Sunnyvale, CA
Dubai Airport Freezone, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
EFG Companies, Irving, TX
Electronic Arts, Austin, TX
Employment Background Investigations Inc., Owings Mills, MD
Etech Global Services, Nacogdoches, TX
ExakTime, Calabasas, CA
ezCater, Boston, MA
Firmex, Toronto, ON, Canada
First Advantage, Atlanta, GA
First American Database Solutions, Santa Ana, CA
FIS, Jacksonville, FL
Florida Blue, Jacksonville, Florida
Forrest Performance Group, Fort Worth, TX
FreshBooks, Toronto, ON, Canada
Further, Eagan, MN
Future Generali India Insurance Company Ltd., Mumbai, India
Genpact, New York, NY
GES, Las Vegas, NV
GoDaddy, Scottsdale, AZ
Hanzo, New York, NY & Leeds, United Kingdom
Hetzner, Cape Town, South Africa
Highspot, Seattle, WA
Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Orlando, FL
HomeServe USA, Norwalk, CT
IBM, Armonk, NY
InsureMyTrip, Warwick, RI
Intellis, New York, NY
Intuit Inc., Mississauga, ON, Canada
iQor, St. Petersburg, FL
ISN, Dallas, TX
Janek Performance Group, Las Vegas, NV
Johannesbad Hotels Bad Füssing GmbH, Bad Fuessing, Germany
Kronos Incorporated, Lowell, MA
KT, Seoul, South Korea
Learning Tribes, Miami, FL
Lexmark International, Lexington, KY
Linode, Philadelphia, PA
ListenFirst, New York, NY
Logical Position, Portland, OR
Mailchimp, Atlanta, GA
Malouf, Logan, UT
Marketo, Denver, CO
MediaRadar, Inc., New York, NY
MEDIATEL DATA SRL, Bucharest, Romania
MentorcliQ, Columbus, OH
Merrill Corporation, St Paul, MN
MetTel, New York, NY
Michael Kors, New York, NY
Migros Ticaret A.S., Istanbul, Turkey
Mixpanel, San Francisco, CA
MTM, Lake St. Louis, MO
Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc., Palm Harbor, FL
Network Alliance, Reston, VA
Nextech, Tampa, FL
NICE Systems, Paramus, NJ
NuCO2, Stuart, FL
Nutrisystem, Fort Washington, PA
Offerpad, Gilbert, AZ
Oi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
OneCause, Indianapolis, IN
OneWest Bank, Pasadena, CA
OnTarget Partners LLC, Frisco, TX
Optum, Eden Prairie, MN
OptumCare, Phoenix, AZ
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Raritan, NJ
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Rochester, NY
Outdoor Voices, Austin, TX, Midvale, UT
Panera Bread, St. Louis, MO
Paycor, Cincinnati, OH
PayLease, San Diego, CA
Periscope Data, San Francisco, CA
PipelineDeals, Seattle, Washington
PJ Nisbet & Associates Ltd., Cambridge, United Kingdom
PlanGrid, San Francisco, CA
PlumChoice, Lowell, MA
Purchasing Power, LLC, Atlanta, GA
Pushpay, Redmond, WA
ReSourcePro, New York, NY
Response, Lindon, UT
Revenue Storm Corporation, Schaumburg, IL
Riva CRM Integration, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Rycor, Chandler, AZ
Safelite Solutions, Columbus, OH, Waltham, MA
Sales Partnerships, Broomfield, CO
SAP, Newtown Square, PA
SCAN Healthplan, Long Beach, CA
ServiceNow, Santa Clara, CA
ShopKeep Inc., New York, NY
Sitel Group, Miami, FL
SmartLinx Solutions, Edison, NJ
SolarWinds MSP, Durham, NC
SolarWinds, Austin, TX
Southwest Airlines, Dallas, TX
Sparkcentral, San Francisco, CA
Spinnaker Support, Greenwood Village, CO
Standard For Success, Cloverdale, IN
SurePayroll, Glenview, IL
Tata Communications (UK) Limited, London, United Kingdom
TCL USA, Corona, CA
Teleperformance D.I.B.S., Mumbai , India
The Western & Southern Life Insurance Company, Cincinnati, OH
TTEC, Englewood, CO
UniFirst Corporation, Wilmington, MA
Unisys, Blue Bell, PA
UPMC Health Plan, Pittsburgh, PA
USAA, San Antonio, TX
UserTesting, Mountain View, CA
ValueSelling Associates, Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Vengreso, San Francisco, CA
Verified Volunteers, a Sterling Company, Fort Collins, CO
VIPRE Security, Clearwater, FL
Visualize, Inc., Birmingham, MI
Vivint Solar, Lehi, UT
VIZIO Inc., Irvine, CA
VPay, Plano TX
VXI Global Solutions, Los Angeles, CA
WekaIO, San Jose, CA
Wells Fargo Treasury Management Client Delivery, San Francisco, CA
West's Health Advocate Solutions, Plymouth Meeting, PA
Wheels, Inc., Des Plaines, IL
WinWire, Santa Clara, CA
Wolters Kluwer's ELM Solutions, Houston, TX
Wolverine Worldwide Contact Center, Richmond, IN
WP Engine, Austin, TX
Xvoyant, West Jordan, UT
Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Mumbai, India

Get the Entry Kit

Topics: customer service awards, sales awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service, excellent customer service, customer service excellence

Stevie-Winner Offers a Place of Hope and Healing for Trafficking Victims

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 @ 02:53 PM

 By all outward appearances, Jeanne Allert had everything going for her in the mid-2000s: a successful career as an internet consultant, an elegant home, and a sizable income. Inside, however, she remembers feeling an emptiness.

“I reached a point in my life where I said, ‘Is this all there is?’” Allert recalls in an online video.

Little did the American businesswomen know her life would forever change when she met a group of volunteers who were performing outreach to women caught up in prostitution. It was there, on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, United States, that Allert saw the magnitude of the sexual exploitation crisis—and the power of a helping hand.

samaratinOne particular victim moved Allert so deeply that, in 2007, Allert decided to launch the Samaritan Women, the mid-Atlantic region’s first residential care program for females ensnared in the domestic sex trafficking industry. It meant selling her lucrative business, putting her home on the market, and dipping into her savings to buy an abandoned 23-acre estate in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

The organization started providing around-the-clock shelter, counseling, and medical care to women and girls who had been coerced into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. As a Christian-based entity, it also began fostering spiritual healing in its residents, many of whom were suffering emotional trauma as a result of their experiences on the street.

Allert says the people who work at the homes often serve as the positive role models who have been lacking in the residents’ lives.

“When we show forgiveness, grace, and compassion, the women are observing our behavior,” says Allert.

According to Shared Hope International, girls as young as 14 to 16 are among the most commonly exploited. Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable, including those who have suffered child abuse or grew up in broken homes. They often find their victims through social media platforms and internet sites, as well as at schools and local hangouts.

Traffickers then offer the girls false promises of shelter and protection; instead, these girls face a cycle of physical and emotional abuse. By one estimate, roughly 100,000 American children are exploited in this manner every year. While getting accurate data is always difficult, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime makes it clear that sex trafficking is very much a global problem.

People in all walks of life know that freedom is a basic human right, and human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” says Linda Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Samaritan Women.

Addressing a Shortage in Care

Despite the enormity of the problem in the United States, Thomas says 17 states don’t have a single shelter program to serve this population. Another 11 states have only one residence. Allert, who earned the 2018 Silver Stevie® Award for Most Innovative Woman of the Year in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, is trying to fill that vacuum.

She and her team opened up two more homes for trafficking victims, enabling the group to create a full continuum of care for young women. Though limits exist to how many people the organization can impact directly, it’s trying to help other nonprofits meet this need across the country.

Toward that end, the group created the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance, which serves as a trade association for shelter programs across the country. Its goal is to improve the effectiveness of shelter care nationally through advocacy, networking, agency accreditation, and an annual conference.

Another new initiative, the Institute for Shelter Care, serves as a research, training, and equipping entity to help establish new shelter programs, to stabilize and to improve current programs, and to facilitate qualified research in order to advance national standards of care and best practices.

“Human trafficking is a problem both internationally and domestically,” says Thomas. “We have only scratched the surface of providing care and healing for victims across the world.”

Topics: stevie awards for women in business, women awards

Winners Announced in 2019 People’s Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Customer Service

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Feb 12, 2019 @ 11:05 AM

Winners of the 2019 People's Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Customer Service, a worldwide public vote, were announced today.  Voting was conducted from January 17 through February 8, with the highest number of votes deciding the winners in 12 industry categories. More than 76,000 votes were cast this year.

All organizations honored in the Customer Service Department of the Year categories of this year’s Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service were eligible to be included in voting for the people’s choice awards.  The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, now in their 13th year, are the world’s top honors for customer service, contact center, business development, and sales professionals.

SASCS 2018 pic 6More than 2,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes, in virtually every industry, in 45 nations were evaluated in this year’s competition. Finalists were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals worldwide in seven specialized judging committees and were announced last month.

This year’s people’s choice winners, who will each receive the coveted crystal People’s Choice Stevie Award, are:

  • Computer Hardware: Dell Technologies | APJ Consumer - Premium Tech Support
  • Computer Services: Linode
  • Consumer Products/Services: Birevim
  • Distribution & Transportation: DHL Express Bangladesh
  • Financial Services: ReSource Pro
  • Healthcare & Pharma: TSI Healthcare
  • Other Industries: CubeSmart
  • Public Services & Education: Curriculum Associates
  • Retail: Qurate Retail Group
  • Software < 100 Employees: Bonfire
  • Software 100+ Employees: Periscope Data
  • Telecommunications: Comcast

    Nicknamed the Stevie® for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at the 13th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards banquet on Friday, February 22 at Caesar’s Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets for the event are now on sale. More than 600 executives from around the world are expected to attend.  The presentations will be broadcast live via Livestream

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at

Sponsors of the 13th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include Sales Partnerships, Inc. and ValueSelling Associates, Inc.

Topics: customer service awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service, favorite customer service

40 Million Reasons to Keep Going

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Feb 06, 2019 @ 05:31 PM

After raising more than $40 million in January during a series D funding round led by Al Fahim Group, a Berlin, Germany-based, automotive and travel conglomerate, 2018 was going to be a make-or-break year for Blacklane GmbH as it continued its expansion.

Jens Wohltorf, CEO and co-founder of Blacklane, highlighted the high-end chauffeur service’s vision and ambitions, declaring that “this investment accelerates Blacklane’s ability to bring end-to-end peace of mind onto the road and into airports around the world.”

Blacklane GmbH is taking an alternative approach to capital-intensive transportation start-ups, such as Uber and Didi. While those companies target growth and demonstrate scant regard for losses, Blacklane aims to create a highly efficient back-end system for managing rides and customer care. The system is a proven success, winning a 2018 Gold Stevie® Award for Technology of the Year. The system will ultimately allow Blacklane to beat its competitors on utilization rates and, therefore, prices.


While its funding levels and recorded losses pale in comparison to larger rivals, frugality and efficiency are of great importance in its domestic German market. By emphasizing these characteristics, Blacklane offers an attractive alternative to investors who are eager to give money in the transport innovation sector but are wary of the all-or-nothing strategies of other start-ups.

With its emphasis on ensuring sustainable growth, investors expected tangible deals and value-adding investments from Blacklane. The company delivered on this while demonstrating its potential. It earned the aforementioned Gold Stevie Award for its back-end technology, as well as a Gold Stevie Award for Transportation Company of the Year and a Bronze Stevie Award for its carbon-offset program in the Corporate Social Responsibility category in April. The company, however, did not simply rest on its laurels. In May, Blacklane announced its integration with the SummitLink booking tool provided by SummitQwest. This put Blacklane at the disposal of the platform’s corporate clients, who even have the option to choose it as a preferred service provider.

The company’s official goal for 2018 was to expand its services to 300 cities worldwide. It achieved this in early September when 32 more cities were added to its roster. According to Blacklane representatives, Limerick, Ireland, became the 300th city the company served. The remaining 31 cities were located in countries all over the globe, including France, Germany, Switzerland, India, Japan, and Malaysia. The careful selection of targeted regions again speaks to the company’s discerning approach, underscoring that Blacklane enters markets suited to its service rather than entering them simply to boost growth rates.

An August announcement swiftly followed wherein Blacklane introduced a “Green Class” to its services. Tesla BEVs became available for booking in 20 cities the company covers, including locations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

“We welcome battery-electric, chauffeur-quality vehicles from all premium automakers to our fleet,” Wohltorf says. “Supporting business and leisure travelers with green travel options is essential to a healthy planet.”

While unlikely to generate significant extra revenue alone, the availability of a green option is of great importance to the company’s reputation in its domestic market, as well as any other markets that value environmental sustainability. As more people and countries grow concerned about the impact of climate change, a green transition is inevitable. By considering environmental concerns early on, Blacklane puts itself in a prime position to take advantage once that tipping point is reached in any given market.

In November, Blacklane then reached an agreement with the Shangri-La, an Asian luxury hotel chain. The agreement stipulated that members of the hotel chain’s Golden Circle loyalty program would receive incentives, including fare discounts and extra loyalty points for using Blacklane. This news coincided with the announcement that Blacklane opened an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Following the significant investment made by the Al Fahim Group in January, Blacklane then announced Emirates Airlines had selected Blacklane to provide its complimentary chauffeur service to first-class and business-class passengers in Bangalore, India; Bologna, Italy; Chennai, India; Delhi, India; Hyderabad, India; Milan, Italy; Mumbai, India; Rome, Italy; Stockholm, Sweden; and Venice, Italy. Both deals seem likely to give a significant boost to the company’s revenue.

In reflection, 2018 was a very successful year for the multiple-Stevie-Award-winning company. The funds raised at the beginning of the year were deployed gradually and strategically, and the company rigorously followed its strategy of sustainable growth. Investors are happy to see the funds allocated to Blacklane are being used to grow revenue and market presence, as well as to bolster the company’s green credentials. It remains to be seen whether Blacklane can manage to reduce its losses—or even to turn a profit—in 2018, let alone gain the upper hand over its larger competitors.

However, by seeking to differentiate itself from and to improve upon their rivals’ business models and by consistently pursuing its strategy of sustainable growth, day-one efficiency, and strategic partnerships, Blacklane certainly created an impressive foundation upon which it can build.

Topics: International business awards, technology awards