The Stevie Awards Blog

Use Fun Surveys to Gather Valuable Customer Feedback

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Apr 30, 2019 @ 12:21 PM

We all get them from time to time: emails from places we’ve shopped promising “quick” surveys in order to assess the buying experience. Most customers, however, soon learn the process is rarely as swift as advertised.

While it’s not hard to see why response rates to these survey requests tend to be abysmally low—often less than 10 percent of consumers to whom they’re sent respond—British entrepreneur Lindsay Willott is trying hard to increase that number.

Her solution is an email survey individuals can complete with just a single click. Rather than making customers navigate a series of questions about various aspects of the business encounter, she’s selling clients on the idea that simple is better.

customer thermometer

When consumers get a survey from her eight-year-old company, Customer Thermometer, they have just four options: gold (very satisfied), green (happy), yellow (mildly concerned), or red (dissatisfied).

Because of the survey’s concise nature, clients can choose any number of delivery options, including emailing the survey to subscribers or embedding the quick poll into their help desks or marketing automation apps. Companies can even place them into the email signatures of their employees, allowing businesses to track how each team member is performing.

A New Level of Response

Prior to launching Customer Thermometer, which is based in Oxford, England, United Kingdom, Willott ran a marketing agency that sent out annual customer satisfaction surveys. She says the firm never had an effective way to link that feedback to a specific customer experience, which limited the value of the response.

“Customers were leaving without warning and often for reasons that could have been fixed, had we known about them in advance,” she says.

Willott came to the realization that a dramatically stripped-down approach to surveys was not only a lot quicker but had the potential for much better response rates. Nine months pregnant with her son, she sold the agency in 2010 and began working on her new customer feedback venture.

It was a bold move—and not simply because she soon had a baby to care for. For one, Willott admits she did not have much in the way of technical experience, a significant hurdle for any software-based business. After extensive research and planning, she partnered with local developers to get her idea off the ground. Four months later, the app was ready for launch.

“Early on, we focused on the UK market. We signed up a few customers, including [the telecom firm] BT Group, which was our chance to really understand how people wanted to use the product,” says Willott.

Eventually, several foreign companies heard about the service and signed on.

“It wasn’t until four years ago we really realized the potential of the overseas market and made a concerted effort to grow our international business,” she says.

Customer Thermometer managed to amass a litany of big-name enterprises to its client list, including Dollar Shave Club, Sonos, and the job-searching website Indeed.com. In total, the company now has nearly 2,000 customers in more than 60 countries.

Companies aren’t left with troves of data for analysis, but they do get a sense of what their customers’ overall experiences are like. Some of Willott’s clients now enjoy survey response rates of 80 percent or higher—a number that is far beyond the norm in the marketing research field.

“Our vision is to create surveys that customers actually love responding to because they use such a light touch and are fun,” says Willott.

It’s not just about having a sound idea, though. Willott says her small team of eight employees also makes sure customers get a high level of service to ensure positive relationships. Recently, Willott and her team became finalists for Customer Service Department of the Year in the Computer Software category at the upcoming 13th annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Interested in entering the Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service?

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“Our core values are caring about each other, accountability, and a genuine belief that amazing customer service feels like magic,” the executive adds.

Tags: customer service awards, new product awards

One Canadian Firm Believes the Right Software Can Help Governments Become Smarter Shoppers

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Apr 25, 2019 @ 10:49 AM

MTC, the transit planning entity for the area around San Francisco, California, United States, is responsible for ensuring residents of the bustling California community get to work and back home again efficiently. Until recently, though, “efficient” wasn’t exactly the way to describe the agency’s process for managing vendors.

All submissions were still done on paper, making it hard for the MTC staff to score and to aggregate proposals in a timely manner. As a result, it took around two to three months to complete a typical request for proposal (RFP).

That all changed when the commission turned to the Canadian software firm Bonfire Interactive, which was founded in 2012 and specializes in streamlining the procurement process for public sector clients. By converting its antiquated process to Bonfire, MTC was able to reduce the RFP time to around thirty days while improving its reporting capabilities.

bonfire

MTC certainly isn’t the only public entity hampered by wasteful and inefficient internal processes, but the roughly ninety-employee team at Bonfire is trying to turn that around.

To hear the management team at Bonfire talk about it, the company’s mission isn’t merely about gaining market share but doing good for society in the process.

“The people behind Bonfire aren't just building purchasing software solutions; they're enabling organizations to turn the purchasing function into a powerful lever that can improve the world,” says Meghan Hennessey, the company’s marketing communications manager.

Ultimately, she believes, when public entities get more out of every dollar they spend, the public is better served.

“Increased fiscal efficiency means patients in hospitals can benefit from better equipment and receive better care. Municipal citizens can experience safer means of transportation, and schools can have proper resources for a more enriched learning landscape,” says Hennessey.

There Must Be a Better Way

Born out of an incubator in Silicon Valley, a region in San Francisco, California, United States, Bonfire, which is based in southwest Ontario, Canada, has developed an impressive client list that includes the Chicago Board of Education, the University of Massachusetts, and the city of Dallas, Texas, United States. In the process, its revenue has grown an impressive 225 percent annually.

“Through various experiences in my career, I witnessed the time, energy, and frustration that went into thousands of RFPs,” says Corry Flatt, the cofounder and CEO of Bonfire. “Every time I thought, There must be a better way, it turns out there wasn’t. Eventually, in order to address that problem, Bonfire was born.”

By initially focusing on governments, the company bucked a trend within the tech industry, which often tailors products to private businesses. According to Hennessey, however, that’s why it made sense to move in the other direction.

“There’s an entire blue ocean of opportunity when you step away from the commercial sector,” she says.

Through it all, the Bonfire management team emphasizes client satisfaction, helping the company become a Silver Stevie-winner for Customer Service Department of the Year in the Computer Software category at this year’s Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Today, the company’s software as a service (SaaS) solution handles more than $20 billion of procurement activities, and Bonfire expanded its portfolio to include private-sector users, such as the global accounting firm BDO.

In 2018, US-headquartered GTY Technology Holdings purchased Bonfire for $108 million. In an effort to provide a full cadre of services to public-sector organizations, including everything from budgeting and permitting to grants management and procurement, GTY Technology Holdings also acquired five other firms in the government technology field.

“Legally, what’s happening is an acquisition and a merger, but it’s more like they’ve assembled a team of stallions, and they’re letting them all run,” Flatt said in a statement after the deal. “For us, our employees, and our clients, it’s just a really good news story.”

The purchase will ultimately allow the firm to boost its marketing efforts to both public and commercial clients and to develop additional product capabilities, including predictive analytics. It also expects to substantially increase hiring at its offices, which are about a mile west of Toronto, Canada.

For Hennessey, the deal means the ability for organizations to make better use of their financial resources, which she reaffirms is most rewarding part.

“To paraphrase a famous quote, the smartest minds of our generation have spent the last decade figuring out how to get you to click on ads,” she says. “Today, though, that's not good enough. People want their creativity and energy poured into something that matters.”

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards

Winners in 2019 Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards Announced

Posted by Clara Im on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 @ 06:15 PM

April 22: Winners in the sixth annual Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards, the only awards program to recognize innovation in business throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region, were announced today.  The list of Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners is available at http://Asia.StevieAwards.com.

APSA 2018 pic 1-1-1The Stevie Awards are considered to be the world's premier business awards, conferring recognition for achievement in the workplace over the past 17 years in programs such as The International Business Awards® and The American Business Awards®. The name Stevie is derived from the Greek word for "crowned".

The 2019 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards have recognized organizations in 17 markets including Australia, mainland China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S.A. and Vietnam. More than 900 nominations about innovative achievements in the 29-nation APAC region were considered by the judges this year in categories such as Award for Excellence in Innovation in Products & Services, Award for Innovative Management, and Award for Innovation in Corporate Websites, among many others. 

Among the top overall winners are PT Petrokimia Gresik (Indonesia) with eight Gold, nine Silver and 15 Bronze Stevie Awards and SM Supermalls (Philippines) with three Gold, 25 Silver and 20 Bronze Stevie wins.

Winners of two or more Gold Stevie Awards include Airport Railroad (South Korea), Alorica Inc. (China), A.S. Watson Group (Hong Kong), BOC Group Life Assurance Company Limited (Hong Kong), Burson Cohn & Wolfe (China), Chengdu IFS (Hong Kong), DHL Express Vietnam (Vietnam), D.TRIBE (South Korea), Freelancer.com (Australia), Hong Kong Tourism Board (Hong Kong), IBM (Singapore), INVNT (Australia), KT (South Korea), MediXserve Philippines (Philippines), Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (India), Seocho-gu Office (South Korea), Songpa-gu Office (South Korea), Squawk Squad (New Zealand), and Synchrotron Light Research Institute (Thailand).

Stevie winners will be presented their awards at a gala banquet at the InterContinental Hotel in Singapore on Friday, 31 May.  Tickets for the event are now on sale.

Close to 200 executives around the world participated in the judging to determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners.  

"We extend our warmest congratulations to all of this year's Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners and look forward to celebrating their achievements in Singapore in May," said Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards.

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 Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, 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 http://www.StevieAwards.com.

Tags: business award, Asia

Call for Speakers and Topics Issued for Second Annual Women|Future Conference

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 @ 01:02 PM

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the world’s premier business awards programs, has issued a call for speakers and topics for its second annual Women|Future Conference. This two-day event about how working women can and should prepare for change will be presented in conjunction with the 16th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business on November 14-15, 2019, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

Speaker and topic proposals may be submitted at https://www.womenfutureconference.com/speaker-topic-proposals. The deadline for submission is June 14. Questions about the conference, presentation opportunities, and sponsorship options may be directed to Ruslana Milikhiker, Conference & Event Manager, at Ruslana@StevieAwards.com

WomenFutureConference2019_V

The mission of the conference is to help working women—entrepreneurs, executives, and employees—understand and prepare for the changes that will affect their businesses, their industries, their careers, and their lives. Speakers and topics may address impending change in areas such as technology, international trade, government regulation, access to capital, and the nature of work, for example.

Last year’s speakers included Liz Carisone of GroundLink, Shimona Chadha of HCL Technologies, Cheryl Eisen of Interior Marketing Group, Debbie Profit of Otsuka Pharmaceutical, and Jessica Rovello of Arkadium, among others.

After the conference, speakers will be welcome to attend the Stevie Awards for Women in Business gala on November 15, where Stevie nominees will be awarded in categories such as Entrepreneur of the Year, Startup of the Year, Women Helping Women and Women-Run Workplace of the Year, in Equal Pay, and Achievement in Developing and Promoting Women.

Tags: women entrepreneur awards

Telehealth: How Technology Is Revolutionizing the Health Industry

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 @ 01:38 PM

Few industries are as integral to well-being as health care—and by capitalizing on the globe’s exponential technological achievements, the medical field continues to advance telehealth. Much as the Internet changed how people communicate, telehealth is disrupting the status quo of health and wellness in order to improve how people live.

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth essentially leverages technology in order to distribute health-related services and critical health-related information. Even when a clinician is in another city, state, or even country, telehealth allows that clinician to provide advice, reminders, health monitoring services, and more to his or her patients.

The field of telehealth is not necessarily new, but with burgeoning technological advances, the applications continue to expand and to change. Here are just a few ways telehealth is pushing the medical field in an innovative, positive direction:

  • Two or more doctors, regardless of location, can meet via video conference to discuss a case. (Lab results and tests can also be distributed to multiple facilities across the nation or world to ensure the proper specialists analyze the results.)
  • Through remote access, a surgeon can perform robotic surgery.
  • A patient can complete a physical therapy regimen from home through live feeds and digital monitoring equipment.
  • Transitioning health data management online can make the process more secure, accurate, up to date, and integrated with the health care system.

triagelogic

Benefits of Telehealth

Even as this industry evolves, the underlying benefits remain clear:

  • Increased access to health care for those living in remote or rural areas.
  • Increased access for those with limited or no means of transport to a medical facility.
  • Increased access to care for historically vulnerable populations, including the elderly and disabled.
  • Minimized health care costs.
  • Consolidation of a company or organization’s resources into a single platform (e.g., a mobile app).
  • Access to live health ambassadors any time, day or night.
  • Ability for working parents in the medical field to perform job tasks from home. (Many nurse call centers today are moving toward a remote nursing model.)
  • A modernized health care system that prioritizes convenience, communication, and wellness.

As people continue to live longer, demands on the health care system increase, but there’s often not a correlated increase in funds for those facilities. When critical resources—namely, money and staff members—are low, telehealth can fill in many of those gaps, ensuring more people get easy, affordable access to the care they need.

Recognition of Innovation

Every year, telehealth becomes an increasingly integrated part of the medical landscape. Companies at the forefront of that innovation are receiving both recognition and support for their important work.

Continuwell, a company based in Jacksonville, Florida, United States and part of the TriageLogic Group, provides telehealth software and mobile communication solutions to U.S.-based medical centers and businesses.

“Continuwell is an innovative platform with a mobile application designed to simplify the employee well-being experience,” said CEO Dr. Charu Raheja. “We keep members engaged and informed, and we empower them to access key company resources through our easy-to-use mobile app.”

For her efforts, Dr. Raheja won the 2018 Gold Stevie® Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the Business Services category of the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the TriageLogic Group and Continuwell took the 2018 Silver Stevie Award for the Most Innovative Company of the Year in the same category.

“This recognition is an honor to our team,” said Raheja. “By increasing our visibility, we sincerely hope we can help other companies engage with their colleagues and prioritize health and well-being.”

Tags: women in business awards, health awards

How Employee Performance Metrics Can Help Improve a Company’s Bottom Line

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 @ 01:54 PM

As technology and artificial intelligence play increasingly large roles in the economy and as the global population increases, the question of how to manage people effectively becomes more critical. Companies evaluate their assets, refine their budgets, and audit their ROIs. Many implement premier software to manage accounting, product systems processes, customer relations, and even human resources needs. But what about managing the productivity of the greatest (and most expensive) cost of doing business—human capital?

Human capital management (HCM) is becoming more prominent as companies seek to manage assets and to allocate resources better, and business software companies, such as Asure Software, are going beyond time card tracking to do so. Through HCM, master employee records can be kept in one place. With all the data logged, managers can better allocate their workplace talent in a cost-effective way. A company can even break down the overhead cost of each employee, down to how much electricity every office uses. When streamlining systems, this kind of detail makes efficient business sense.

asure software 1asure software 2

Eric Garton, a Harvard Business Review contributor, discussed HCM in his 2017 article “What If Companies Managed People as Carefully as They Manage Money?”, which used talent productivity statistics to demonstrate how and why companies should manage people better. According to the article, only 15 percent of employees make a tangible difference in their workplaces. It also noted inspired employees are three times more productive than dissatisfied employees, but only one out of eight employees is inspired. Garton argues businesses should measure, invest in, monitor, and reward employees in order to improve each employee’s contribution. Essentially, Garton is lobbying for a metrics aspect to every annual review.

Asure Software offers a cloud-based system that does this. The software helps organizations measure, monitor, and analyze employee interactions and performances, providing the information necessary for managers to make strong, evidence-based decisions about everything from promotions to raises. When applicable, the software can even track compliance with government regulations (e.g., required job training). Asure Software offers expansive insights and tools in the following areas: asset and move management, benefits administration, full-service meeting room scheduling, hoteling and mobile workforce management, human capital management, payroll and tax management, talent management, time and attendance management, and workplace usage and occupancy sensors.

Asure Software won a Bronze Stevie® Award for Best New Product or Service of the Year in the Human Capital Management category of The American Business Awards®. Asure Software also took the People’s Choice Stevie Award for Favorite New Products.

The analytics provided by companies like Asure Software do more than just track time, though. By measuring employee productivity and seeing where different team members excel, a company can capitalize on strengths and improve areas that need more attention. This streamlines employee deliverables and product lines. It can even provide opportunities to improve customer relations and to reduce costly time spent in meetings.

When managers can identify star talent, that star talent can be rewarded. This motivates standout employees and, ideally, inspires other team members to achieve that status. It fosters a rewarding cycle that can resonate positively throughout the business culture.

The bottom line is this: HCM affects every organization’s bottom line. It makes practical, financial, and system-based sense to get real metrics and to manage people well because the organization and individual employees both benefit.

Tags: new product awards, human capital awards

U.S. Startup Helps Working Moms “Stay in the Game”

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 02:58 PM

Mona Andrews is many things: a California, USA, resident; an entrepreneur; and the operator of a business process outsourcing firm since the early 1990s. She notes she had the flexibility to balance the demands of raising young children, but when her kids reached preschool, she noticed other moms didn’t have that same luxury.

“Either they stayed employed and missed many of the important moments of being a mother, or they dropped out of the workforce altogether,” recalls Andrews.

Many of her female friends continued working after their first child was born, she says, but when the second son or daughter came along, the financial and emotional toll became too much.

stay in the game“It’s an impossible situation,” says Andrews.

With her latest venture, Stay In The Game, she attempts to eliminate the dichotomy between being a mother and having a career. The company, launched in 2017 in Los Angeles, California, United States, offers “downshifting” opportunities, where women can work part time or remotely. This allows mothers to be home with their children either all day or at least more each day. The company also works with individual employers to reintegrate a mom into the workforce after a prolonged absence.

“As the children of these women grew, I noticed a surprising phenomenon,” says Andrews. “Over and over again, I met highly educated women who previously had important careers, and now they were telling me they wanted to get back into the workforce but didn’t know how.

The most jarring realization was their lack of confidence. They had not been in the workforce for a while and felt insecure regarding their relevance, their ability to compete, and their skill levels.”

At the same time, she noticed employers were reluctant to interview any woman who had taken an extended leave. To Andrews, this seemed a regrettable waste of talent and energy.

A Changing Workforce

While society has progressively abandoned the idea of strict gender roles, women continue to sacrifice their careers for family to a much greater degree than men. A 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, for instance, found 42 percent of women reduced their work hours after the birth of a child, which compared to 28 percent of men.

Even more telling was the fact that 27 percent of women left their jobs to handle child-rearing duties, according to the Pew study. Only 10 percent of men did so.

Stay In The Game provides its services as a way for businesses to leverage the talent of experienced, skilled workers, who are often less expensive than lower-level temporary employees. Candidates work in a range of fields, from data entry and customer service to IT and accounting.

At the same time, employers can demonstrate their social responsibility by providing continuity for caregiving parents. For Andrews, the service is also a means to retain talented employees who might otherwise drop out of the workforce completely after having children.

“There will be an exponential increase in the demand employees have for remote and flexible work, and companies will be forced to change in order to successfully retain great employees,” says Andrews.

As her firm grows, she sees it as a way for more employers to manage that challenge.

“We can offer employers a solution that includes a talented, dispersed workforce,” the entrepreneur says.

Though the company is still in its infancy, Andrews says it’s not having any trouble finding female job candidates. In the case of one advertisement she placed for a remote position, she received 240 applications in just three hours.

“The demand for our service is huge,” she says.

For its innovative approach to helping skilled, professional mothers achieve greater work-life balance, Stay In The Game won two Bronze Stevie Awards at the 15th annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business in November. It earned one for Best New Product or Service of the Year in the Business Services category and another for Start-Up of the Year.

“This has really reinforced the value of what we offer, and it shows our business concept resonates with many other people,” says Andrews.

Tags: women awards, women entrepreneur awards

Call for Entries Issued in the Stevie® Awards for Great Employers

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 11:06 AM

Fourth Annual Awards Honoring Employers and HR Professionals is Accepting Nominations

The Stevie Awards has issued the call for entries for the fourth annual Stevie® Awards for Great Employers, which honor the world’s best companies to work for and the human resources teams, professionals, suppliers, and new products and services that help to create and drive great places to work.

All individuals and organizations worldwide—public and private, for-profit, and non-profit, large and small—may submit nominations to the Stevie Awards for Great Employers. The early-bird entry deadline, with reduced entry fees, is May 1. The final entry deadline is June 5, but late entries will be accepted through July 17 with payment of a late fee. Entry details are available at www.StevieAwards.com/HR.

SAGE 2018 9

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

An international judging panel of more than 50 executives will determine the Stevie Award winners. Finalists will be announced on August 15. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be revealed and presented their awards at a gala event in New York City on September 20.

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers recognize achievement in many facets of the workplace. Categories include:

  • Employer of the Year Awards
  • HR Achievement Awards
  • HR Individual Awards
  • HR Team Categories
  • Solution Provider Awards
  • New Product & Service Categories
    • Software
    • Training Programs or Media
    • Curated Training Platform of the Year

There are many new categories in 2019 for HR achievements including Best CSR Strategy, Best Leadership Development Program, Best Learning & Development Strategy, Best Reward & Recognition Strategy, Best Talent Management Strategy, Best Use of People Analytics, and more. Under the HR Individual Awards the new category is Rising HR Star of the Year.

Winners in the 35 industry-specific Employer of the Year categories will be determined by a unique blend of public votes and professional ratings. Public voting will take place from July 23–August 12.

Stevie Award winners in 2018 included Allianz Partners, AstraZeneca / MedImmune, Benefax, Ceridian, Citizens Bank, Daimler AG, Deutche Telekom Services Europe GmbH, ej4, Gamelearn, Globe Telecom, Smile Brands, SweetRush, TaskUs, VESTEL, and many more.

Tags: hr awards, great employer awards, top business awards

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