The Stevie Awards Blog

Taking Aim At Student Debt With a Social Conscience

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 01, 2017 @ 02:42 AM

Making student finances more affordable and easier to manage in a sea of “loan sharks” is no easy task, but Stevie Award-winner CommonBond does it sucessfully. CommonBond is a reimagined student loan experience offering low interest rates with great customer service. Their customer satisfaction rates have been overtly positive, which is one of the many reasons why they received $1 billion in funding this year. Learn more about CommonBond to see how they won customer service awards in the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Crunching Numbers That Don’t Crunch Students

commonbond.jpgOver 40 million Americans are affected by student loan debt. On average, CommonBond members save $24,046 by refinancing their student loans. They also cover MBA student loans, and recently launched student loan benefits for today’s workforce – giving their partners the resources to stand apart from the competition, and giving their employees the tools to achieve financial wellness.

Senior Communications Manager Bethany Hill gave us the CommonBond perspective, “We’re creators, movers, shakers, numbers geeks, and finance freaks. We’re people just like you, who were frustrated by the high rates and poor service that came with our student loans. We knew there had to be a better way. So we created one.”

More Than Just Student Loans

CommonBond helps their community gain access to complimentary tickets to CommonBond-sponsored events, dinners, panel discussions with entrepreneurs and other companies. This is most apparent in their industry-first program called “CommonBridge.” It’s a service that matches members in between jobs with a consulting opportunity at CommonBond, making it easier to earn money, gain experience and spend a little more time on the job hunt.

A Social Promise

CommonBond has been committed to giving since they funded their very first loan – and it's still a driving force behind everything they do. Here's how their “Social Promise” program works:

  • 1-for-1: For every loan funded, they also fund the education of a child in need.
  • Education for all: Loans give kids unprecedented access to schools, teachers, and technology
  • Pencils of Promise: Ensures that funds go to those who need them most

CommonBond is constantly finding ways to fill a void in the student lending space. David Klein, Co-Founder and CEO believes their success is best explained by what they’re always taking aim at.

“We strongly believe that business can - and should - be a positive force for change”

Tags: customer service awards, Customer Service, top customer service

Chairs Named for 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service Final Judging Committees

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 @ 12:14 PM

The following seven executives have been appointed to head the final judging committees that will determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie® Award winners in the 2017 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  (All the category groups can be viewed in more detail here.) The winners will be announced at the awards gala on Friday, February 24 at the Caesars Palace Hotel in  Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service is accepting nominations through January 11. 

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

SALES INDIVIDUAL/BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Chair: Stephen Gill, President
Stephen Gill Associates, Aston on Trent, Derbyshire, United Kingdom

17 SASCS Chair Gill.jpgStephen Gill is an experienced, award-winning, international business development consultant and company director with a strong engineering background. He gained much of his experience at the senior management or board level of international organizations.  With a focus on helping individuals to excel, and organizations to grow and thrive, he is a trusted advisor, mentor, and strategist to executives and businesses. 

Stephen is a high profile figure in the HVACR engineering field serving as President of the Institute of Refrigeration, and as a refrigeration expert consultant working on many prestigious HCAVR projects around the globe.  He is known for providing energy-efficient, sustainable cooling solutions that are practical and affordable. Stephen Gill Associates won a Gold Stevie® at the 2014 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Services Awards in Las Vegas; and went on to win two Gold Stevies® at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards in Shanghai for a refrigeration industry awareness poster campaign. These posters have since been translated into 8 languages.

Comments Stephen: “The Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service bring a focus to the diversity of energy, professionalism, creativity, and sheer passion of working in this industry for individuals, departments, and organizations.  As a past Gold Stevie® winner I know just how much it means to win one of these coveted awards.”

Stephen is a regular contributor to business and technical magazines and books, as well as a conference speaker.  He has an MBA from Loughborough University and an LL.M (Business Law) from De Montfort University. He divides his time equally between his businesses in the UK and Southeast Asia.

SALES ACHIEVEMENT/NEW PRODUCT & SERVICE
Chair: Kelly Waltrich, SVP, Marketing and Communications
eMoney Advisor LLC, Radnor, PA, USA

17 SASCS Chair Waltrich.jpgKelly Waltrich joined eMoney Advisor in the fall of 2013. Since that time, she has established—and now leads—the team responsible for the planning, development, execution, and monitoring of eMoney’s Marketing and Communications and Lead Generation initiatives.

Prior to this position, Kelly served as Assistant Vice President, Director of Advisor Marketing and Communications at Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC, where she was responsible for creating and managing marketing strategies that increase brand awareness, positively impact revenue, and improve the client experience. Before joining Janney, Kelly provided strategic marketing support to institutional sales and client service professionals at Turner Investment Partners in Berwyn, Pa.

Kelly attended James Madison University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications, and holds her Series 7 and 66 securities licenses. She is a member of Women in Investing of Philadelphia, as well as the CMO Club. She also serves as Treasurer for the Bucks County Chapter Board of Associates of the Fox Chase Cancer Center and is a member of the American Marketing Association.

SALES TEAM/SALES DISTINCTION
Chair: Jeffrey C. Taylor, Co-Founder & Managing Director
Digital Risk, LLC, Maitland, Florida, USA

17 SASCS Chair Taylor.jpgSince 2005, Jeffrey Taylor has been co-founder and managing director of Digital Risk, the nation’s largest provider of mortgage risk, compliance, and transaction management solutions. Jeff sets the strategic vision for the company’s business development and marketing. He has been on the forefront of addressing challenges faced by the mortgage industry across origination, quality control, and compliance. Under his leadership, Digital Risk has grown from a start-up venture to as many as 2,000 plus U.S.-based employees. The company has become a partner to many of the largest U.S.-based mortgage investors and banks and government-sponsored enterprises in processing mortgage transactions, as well as identifying and correcting regulatory/compliance risks. 

As a serial entrepreneur, Jeff has built dynamic, innovative businesses by identifying opportunities to meet specialized needs within the financial services ecosystem. He has launched three companies: Digital Risk; Rapid Reporting Marketing Group; and American Transfer & and Trust, Inc.  Jeff is a voice for the industry and is a frequent guest on financial television networks such as Fox Business News and CNBC.  He is also a source for top tier news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, sharing keen insights on the US mortgage market and the economy.

Jeff is an active leader in both his industry sector and his community, serving on the boards of the following non-profit organizations: Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), The Baptist Health Foundation of South Florida; Virtual Enterprises International; and the Taylor-Cata Foundation. He has a degree in political science from the University of Miami.  Jeff is honored to have won several Stevie® Awards and to have had Digital Risk recognized at multiple Stevie® Awards programs over the past few years. He looks forward to acting as Chair, along with the esteemed colleagues who will make up his judging committee.

CUSTOMER SERVICE/CONTACT CENTER INDIVIDUAL & CUSTOMER SERVICE/CONTACT CENTER ACHIEVEMENT
Chair: Will O’KeeffeVice President, Customer Services
Acquia, Burlington, MA

Cus Service and Contact Center.jpgWill has more than 25 years experience leading, growing, and transforming global customer support organizations. In his role at Acquia, Will is responsible for building and maintaining a world-class Global Support team that is recognized for excellence by Acquia's customers and partners. 

Prior to Acquia, Will was Vice President of Customer Service and Support at ATG where he led efforts that resulted in dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction and retention. When ATG was acquired by Oracle in 2010, Will transitioned to lead the global support team for Oracle Commerce and was responsible for the integration of Endeca and Inquira into the Support portfolio. Prior to ATG/Oracle, Will led the Customer Care organization at NaviSite and was a Principal Consultant at PRTM. 

Will lives in the Boston area. He has a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Boston University.

CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT & CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCCESS
Chair: Chuck Browne, Sr. Manager, Customer Care
Vivint Smart Home, Provo, Utah, United States

17 SASCS Chair Browne .jpgAs a Senior Manager on Vivint Smart Home’s Customer Care team, Chuck is responsible for the daily operations and strategic growth of the organization. On being appointed Chair of the Customer Service Department & Success Final Judging Committee, Chuck told us it was an honor for him to be asked to assist in the judging of the operations and success of other businesses. As he put it: “I know so many companies do so many great things. I’m looking forward to reading through best practices and being a part of recognizing some of the great work in the Customer Service industry.” 

He added: “I know our team felt a big confidence boost from the recognition in the 2016 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service for all their hard work.  I’m excited to be able to pay that feeling forward to another team in 2017.”

Chuck has been involved in the Customer Service industry for fifteen years. For six years of those years, he has been a major influence on the strong customer-facing approach to service at Vivint Smart Home. Chuck co-leads a team of nearly a thousand customer service agents and leaders across three sites. In 2016, Chuck’s team successfully launched a work-from-home program that has rapidly expanded to over 100 agents and 4 supervisors. Chuck has played a vital role in the consistent improvement of Vivint Smart Home’s quality of service and operational efficiency, amidst 30%-plus growth each year, an aggressive product-launch schedule, and market expansion.

Chuck received his Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University in 2012. Chuck has been married for 10 year and has two beautiful daughters. When Chuck is not in the office, he can often be found on one of Utah’s world-class rivers practicing his fly fishing or hiking trails with his family.

CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM
Chair:  George Cleveland, Vice President, Customer Operations
Cricket Wireless, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

17 SASCS Chair Cleveland.jpgAs Vice President of Consumer Operations at Cricket, George is responsible for Cricket's sales operations, customer care, training and communications, and the digital experience. Prior to his current role, George was assistant vice president of the AT&T Customer Solution Centers. George tells us he is “excited and humbled” by this opportunity to participate as Chair of this Final Judging Committee.

George began his telecom career in 1996 as a senior accountant with BellSouth Cellular in Atlanta. From there, he progressed through several sales leadership roles within AT&T Mobility before assuming the role of regional sales operations director for Company Owned Retail, supporting the South Central region. He then became executive director of AT&T University.

George is a certified CPA and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Morehouse College in Atlanta.

SOLUTION PROVIDER
Chair: Alaa Jamaleddine, Senior Back Office Advisor
DHL Express, Beirut, Lebanon 

17 SASCS Chair Alaa.jpgIn 2007, while still pursuing his education, Alaa Jamaleddine started his career as a part-time call center agent with DHL Express–Lebanon. When he graduated, he resumed his career as a full-time employee, assuming many roles in the Customer Service Department throughout the years.  DHL is a multinational company operating in more than 220 countries and having around 325,000 employees. Alaa’s job consisted largely of following up and communicating with these overseas facilities and offices. This taught him a wide range of skills and allowed him to be flexible in handling and resolving any type of customers’ claims or complaints, while avoiding any delays and meeting deadlines. Not only was he able to satisfy the customers’ concerns, but he also helped the organization to retain key customers and gain new ones.

As a Certified International Specialist, Alaa is designated coach and trainer for newcomers to the back office team. He trains new agents on how to empathize with a customer’s problems, and how to give their best when handling a critical situation. In 2015, Alaa was selected by the regional office to attend an Operational Excellence Training (OET), as he had demonstrated throughout the years a great ability and passion to analyze trends and forecasting.  Not long after his return from the training, he initiated a work plan to reduce workload and increase productivity.  With his wide analytical skills, Alaa conducted a study on network profitability that grabbed the attention of the country manager who made a price revision for a specific network product code that was below profit margin. This initiative helped the company provide customers with the option of Global Quality Control monitoring. To top it off, Alaa won the 2016 Gold Stevie® Award for Back-Office Customer Service Professional of the Year in the transportation industry

Alaa is the holder of Extra Miler, Job Well Done, Hero of the Day, and Employee Of the Month certificates at DHL, and has been nominated for Employee Of the Year. Alaa graduated with a Business Administration Degree from Haigazian University in Beirut.

Tags: sales awards, Customer Service, awards judging, judges

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

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Winners of the 2016 People's Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Customer Service, a worldwide public vote, were announced today. Voting was conducted from January 21 through February 19, with the highest number of votes deciding the winners in 11 industry categories.

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 10th year, are the world’s top honors for customer service, contact center, business development, and sales professionals.

PCSAFCSAwardImage_medium-1.jpgThis year’s people’s choice winners, who will each receive the coveted crystal People’s Choice Stevie Award, are:

  • Computer Software (<100 employees): dESCO
  • Computer Software (100+ employees): Carbonite, Inc.
  • Distribution & Transportation: DHL Express Bangladesh
  • Financial Services (<100 employees): Provident Financial Bulgaria
  • Financial Services (100+ employees): Paycor, Inc.
  • Healthcare / Pharmaceuticals: Navicure
  • Leisure & Tourism: Marriott Vacation Club International
  • Public Services & Education: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Logistic Support Center
  • Retail: Wayfair
  • Telecommunications: Vonage
  • Other Industries: CubeSmart

More than 27,000 votes were cast this year.

Nicknamed the Stevie® for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards banquet on Friday, March 4 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets for the event are now on sale. More than 500 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 six 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, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 60 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.

Sponsors of the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include ValueSelling Associates.

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, Customer Service

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