The Stevie Awards Blog

Enable Salespeople to Sell on Value—Not Price

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 @ 11:20 AM

It’s a conference room typically reserved for regimented business meetings, but on this winter day, the space transformed into a playground for a small group of sales associates. Each carefully bends and conjoins pipe cleaners in order to build a menagerie of animal figures and trees.

The undertaking isn’t simply an opportunity for distraction, however. In this case, the participants, who are taking part in a workshop by the sales training firm PJ Nisbet & Associates, are getting a lesson in kinesthetic learning. The idea is to help sellers use tactile experiences in future presentations with would-be buyers.

Welcome to the world of sales performance improvement, where clients look for whatever edge they can get in order to gain an advantage over the competition. For the consultancy, which is based in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom, raising top-line numbers is mission number one.

pj nisbetThat companies are looking to give their sales teams a leg up is, perhaps, no big surprise. The ability to generate leads and to convince customers to buy a product or service is the lifeblood of most businesses.

“It doesn’t matter how good the rest of the organization is. If the sales team is not functional, you are not generating revenue, so the rest is irrelevant,” says Nisbet, who founded the company more than a decade ago.

Often, the heart of the sales process is an interpersonal relationship between seller and potential buyer. Through workshops and e-learning modules, Nisbet’s firm tries to help professionals understand how to identify their best prospects and to get those individuals to buy into their offerings.

The company, which recently earned a Bronze Stevie® Award for Sales Training Practice of the Year, offers what it says is an easy-to-use, repeatable sales method. Clients can use this to secure more prospects at the top of the sales funnel, to qualify them in or out, and, ultimately, to close more purchases with higher profit margins.

One of the program’s core objectives is to help participants articulate their organizations’ strengths so they don’t have to put in rock-bottom quotes to seal deals.

“We enable salespeople to sell on value—not price,” says Nisbet.

New Challenges in the Selling Process

A seasoned business executive with a degree in organizational behavior, Nisbet launched the eponymous sales training firm in his native South Africa in 2006. He eventually relocated it to the United Kingdom, but he still does a lot of business back home. Presently, 50 percent of his clients are in the United Kingdom, and 10–15 percent are in Africa, with the remainder spread throughout Europe and the rest of the globe.

The company has taken on some big-name clients over the years, including Dunlop, Deloitte, and the investment giant J.P. Morgan. Instilling a companywide training philosophy at a global business presents certain logistical difficulties, but Nisbet seems to relish the challenge.

“Last year, over a nine-month period, we trained one thousand five hundred salespeople for one company at fifty-three events in twenty countries using materials in fourteen different languages,” the entrepreneur says. “The best part is that the company’s share price was the highest it’s ever been, which they attribute, in large part, to the implementation we spearheaded.”

In an age when most big companies are using one or more software platforms to manage the sales funnel, Nisbet says the flexibility of his company’s approach is a key to its success.

“When we start an engagement, we go through a discovery phase, and we learn about the automation tools our client is using,” he says. “We then methodically adapt our program to make sure we are using a common language.”

His team is also willing to use a shared risk–reward model, which reduces up-front fees in exchange for a share of the client’s future profits.

“Most sales training organizations wouldn’t do this,” Nisbet adds, “but we’re confident in our methods and enjoy having a little skin in the game, so to speak.”

In a couple of important ways, Nisbet suggests the stakes are higher than ever when it comes to training salespeople. For one, more customers are doing preliminary research online. This means they’re more knowledgeable when they first engage with sales reps. Secondly, purchase decisions have become more complex in the wake of the Great Recession, with stakeholders from finance, quality, compliance, and other parts of the organization getting more involved.

For PJ Nisbet & Associates, though, that’s also an opportunity to help those professionals adapt to a different selling climate.

“Today’s salesperson must be more consultative and better informed to guide buyers and influencers through the process and to help them to ask the right questions. It’s no longer about just showing up with a great product and pitching its attributes,” says Nisbet.

Tags: sales awards, sales achievement

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 http://www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

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, Chorus.ai, 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, Overstock.com, 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 www.StevieAwards.com.

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

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards

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 www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

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
Chorus.ai, 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
Overstock.com, 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
Salary.com, 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

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards, excellent customer service, customer service excellence

Call for Entries Issued for 13th Annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 @ 09:30 AM

Top Sales Awards and Customer Service Awards Winners to Be Recognized in Las Vegas

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the world’s premier business awards programs, has issued a call for entries for the 2019 (13th annual) Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Entry kits and complete details on the competition are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

All customer service, contact center, business development and sales departments, teams and professionals worldwide are eligible to be nominated, in addition to new products and services and solution providers used by those professionals. The 2019 awards will recognize achievements since July 1, 2017.

SASCS 2018 pic 5

The early-bird entry deadline with reduced entry fees is October 17, 2018. The final entry deadline is November 14, but late entries will be accepted through January 10, 2019 with payment of a late fee. Finalists will be announced in mid-January, and the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements revealed during a gala awards banquet on February 22 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 150 sales awards, customer service awards, business development awards, new product awards and solution provider awards categories. Entrants may submit any number of nominations to any number of categories, which include:

  •         Sales Individual categories such as Senior Sales Executive of the Year and Sales Representative of the Year
  •         Sales Team categories like Global Sales Team of the Year and Online Sales Team of the Year
  •         Sales Achievement categories such as Sales Turnaround of the Year and Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year
  •         Sales Distinction categories in 14 industry groupings
  •         Customer Service and Contact Center Individual categories such as Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year and Customer Service Leader of the Year
  •         Customer Service and Contact Center Team categories like Contact Center of the Year and Back Office Customer Service Team of the Year
  •         Customer Service and Contact Center Achievement categories such as e-Commerce Customer Service Award and Award for Innovation in Customer Service
  •         Customer Service Department categories in 12 industry groupings
  •         Customer Service Success categories in five industry groupings
  •         New Product and Service categories like Best New Business Intelligence Solution and Best New Marketing Solution
  •         Solution Provider categories such as Sales Consulting Practice of the Year and Incentive, Rewards or Recognition Provider of the Year
  •         Business Development categories such as Business Development Professional of the Year and Business Development Achievement of the Year - Hospitality & Leisure

New categories for the 2019 competition include Woman of the Year in Sales and in Customer Service. Among other new Sales Awards categories include Account Management Team of the Year, Sales Diversity and Inclusivity Initiative of the Year, Sales Recruitment Initiative of the Year, Social Selling Initiative of the Year, and Sales Distinction of the Year - Consumer Products & Services. There are four new awards for Innovation in Customer Service including Best Customer Feedback Strategy, Best Customer Satisfaction Strategy, Best Return on Customer Service Investment, and Best Use of Customer Insight. The new Customer Service Department of the Year category is for Consumer Products & Services. Among the new categories for New Products & Services are CRM Suite - Enterprise - New and New Version, CRM Suite - Mid-Market – New and New Version, CRM Suite - Small Business – New and New Version, and Sales Performance Management Solution - New and New Version.

2019 will see the return of the People’s Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite Customer Service, a popular feature of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service in which the general public may vote for their favorite providers of customer service, from among all finalist nominations in the Customer Service Department of the Year categories.

Winners of the 2018 edition of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service included Carbonite, Care.com Homepay, Chewy, CubeSmart, Dell Technologies, DHL Express Bangladesh, FieldEdge, John Hancock Financial Services, Loop Communications, Standard for Success, TravelZoo, and Zelis Payments, among others.

The 2019 competition will be judged by more than 150 professionals around the world.

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards

How a Start-up Went From 0 to 4,000 in a Global Market

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 @ 12:49 PM

Over one trillion dollars are spent annually on technology and IT services. Three software engineers went against the fastest-growing technology corporations in the world, like Google and Adobe Systems, and succeeded in claiming their piece of the global tech pie.

Druva CEO and founder, Jaspreet Singh, anticipated the software management shift into the cloud, and developed cloud-based programming to organize, centralize, and protect information for businesses. Singh even pitched Druva’s cloud-based solution to NASA, who refused it at first because they did not believe software management would move to the cloud. But, Singh was right. Druva became a first mover in a cutthroat industry, and its information software solutions propelled the company into the global market in less than 10 years.

In Pune, India in 2008, Singh and two other engineers started Druva. The company provides data management and security service solutions for businesses. While many new businesses flounder in their initial months, this team grew to an impressive seven employees and 53 clients by the end of their first year.

DruvaSince its inception, Druva has worked to connect and to protect business data on servers and drives accessed from multiple mobile access points, such as smartphones and laptops, by employees on the move.

Druva worked to stay ahead of the technology innovation curve and became one of the first providers of cloud-based data management and security software. The software helps aggregate data, then unifies the backup, disaster recovery, archival, and governance capabilities onto a single, optimized data set.

It may sound complicated, but Druva simplifies a common business conundrum: Who has the information to complete the task, and how does the responsible employee access it? Placing servers, backups, and archives in the cloud means all data is in one place. Access is simple, trackable, and transparent, and information is readily accessible and visible to employees but protected from bad actors in the cyber landscape.

Having the information in one location and limiting and restricting access makes the data easier to protect and to preserve. By reducing risk and simplifying processes, most businesses experience a great cost savings.

Druva’s cloud management includes security-based data mining and other information governance options. This is useful, for example, when seeking archived legal records. With this increasing shift to the cloud, however, there has been a shift in responsibility.

“In the past, the security of the software after it was sold wasn’t our problem. If something broke or someone hacked into it, that was the customer’s problem,” Singh told TechinAsia.com. “In the cloud, everything is your problem. You even have to predict a failure from the customer’s side because now you have part ownership of the data. All these nuances led to an interesting new model.”

Excellence and innovation in customer service are part of that new model and solution. Druva received seven Stevie® Awards in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service for their excellence and innovation in customer service in the Technology and Computer Software Industry categories.

  • Gold Stevie Winner: Customer Service Leader of the Year—Computer Software Industry
  • Silver Stevie Winner: Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year—Technology Industries—Computer Hardware & Software—100 or More Employees
  • Silver Stevie Winner: Contact Center of the Year (Up to 100 Seats)—Technology Industries
  • Silver Stevie Winner: Best Use of Technology in Customer Service—Computer Industries
  • Silver Stevie Winner: Customer Service Department of the Year—Computer Software—100 or More Employees
  • Bronze Stevie Winner: Customer Service Management Team of the Year
  • Bronze Stevie Winner: Award for Innovation in Customer Service—Computer Industries

Druva now services more than 4,000 diverse companies, both domestic and international. This includes major corporations and agencies, such as NASA, General Electric, Marriott Hotels, AIG, Deloitte, Pfizer, Black & Decker, McAfee, Live Nation, and Hulu. They are headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, United States, and employ 400 team members across the world. They currently have offices in Germany, United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, and India. Through hard work and dedication, the small start-up from Pune, India, has now become a global leader in cloud data protection and management.

As the technology industry races onward, a resilient business model and a flexible customer service team are imperative to success. In all they do, Druva highlights their core values: to embrace hard work, to strive for consistent performance, to work as a team, to collaborate to innovate, and to work with a customer-first attitude.

“The entire Druva team is energized to be part of winning groups,” says Druva employee Sunil Wadhwa.

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards

In HR Software, Nursing and Rehab Providers Find the Prescription for Wasteful Spending

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Sep 11, 2018 @ 12:12 PM

Increased efficiency. Unified processes. Lower costs.

This combination of benefits has led to rapid growth for SmartLinx. The U.S.-based company provides a workforce management suite that helps organizations, including long-term and post-acute care facilities, simplify everything from hiring and payroll to scheduling and time recording.

Among the organizations that saw substantial results from the SmartLinx universal software solution is the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation. The New York, New York, United States, senior living facility was suddenly able to make payroll more efficient and streamline employee work practices within one platform. Ultimately, this saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor costs.

smartlinxNumerous organizations have experienced similar results across the United States. Oriol, a health care agency in Massachusetts, United States, was able to slash inefficient overtime costs. The Greek Rehabilitation and Care Center near Chicago, Illinois, United States, was able to reduce a process from 60 reported work hours down to just two minutes. Outcomes like this consistently help SmartLinx achieve high user retention rates and average more than 50 percent annual growth.

SmartLinx was also the first software company to offer a complete solution for Affordable Care Act compliance, and the company routinely expresses a commitment to staying ahead of all ACA regulations.

While health care and senior living facilities are a core part of the company’s business, its software also serves the needs of government agencies, hospitality programs, and manufacturing enterprises. With the SmartLinx software, companies are able to unify their processes and departments and make them more efficient, saving them significant money in the process.

SmartLinx was founded in 2000 and maintains 100 staff members. It operates from its headquarters in Edison, New Jersey, United States, and has a support center in North Charleston, South Carolina, United States.

A Focus on Customer Service

A personal approach with their partners only improves business relationships and increases success for SmartLinx, according to CEO Marina Aslanyan.

“We don’t work with ‘clients,’” she told Forbes. “We consider them our partners, and we provide services to them that allow them to transform their businesses.”

The company’s laser focus on customer service, which includes using scorecards to enable customer health monitoring and value confirmation, earned it the Bronze Stevie® Award for Best Use of Technology in Customer Service in the Computer Industries category.

It is not, however, the first time SmartLinx has crossed the stage at a Stevie Awards ceremony. In 2017, the management team won a Bronze Stevie Award for Innovation in Customer Service. In 2016, the firm earned a gold Stevie for Customer Service Management Team of the Year.

The company’s commitment to creating a satisfying user experience made this latest accolade all the more special, according to Darcy Grabenstein, a content manager at SmartLinx.

“The Stevie Awards, particularly those for customer service, underscore the priority SmartLinx places on customer success,” Grabenstein says. “They validate our efforts to ensure our customers are satisfied, not only with our products but with the support behind them.”

Two SmartLinx customer support team members also earned individual awards in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service this year. Thomas VanAntwerp, a customer support team leader, won the gold award for Young Customer Service Professional of the Year in the Technology Industries segment, and Brandon Tahquette, a customer support specialist, won a silver award as Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year.

The leadership team consistently ensures innovation and diversity are part of the company’s culture. Grabenstein says the team regularly evaluates and advances technology concepts; targets industry challenges, such as those evolving in the ACA, senior care, and health care fields; and encourages growth, training, and sharing perspectives in the workplace. This fosters a healthy working environment and company growth.

“We are growing rapidly, but we are committed to maintaining the level of service our clients are accustomed to,” says Grabenstein. “We are committed to their success.”

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards, customer service success, sales turnaround, business developement

A Kitchen on Wheels Proved to Be the Ultimate Recipe for Success

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

There’s tailgating, and then there’s tailgating.

Meet MAXimus. He’s a 72-foot tractor-trailer outfitted with an elaborate kitchen, self-leveling stage, three giant screens, and multiple high-definition cameras. All this combines to create the ultimate go-anywhere culinary experience.

MAX (short for “mobile activation x-perience”) drew huge crowds at several culinary festivals, and it even became a favored playground for the likes of Food Network host Jeff Mauro. Chef Gordon Ramsay saw MAX as the perfect sidekick for his show 24 Hours to Hell and Back, which debuted this summer on Fox, the popular US network TV channel.

Innovative groupTo the experiential marketing firm that created MAX, he means even more than that; he’s the future. The U.S.-based Innovative Group (IG) developed the colossal cooking rig as part of its effort to push the envelope and to develop new revenue streams.

With offices in Miami, Florida, United States, the company specializes in providing immersive marketing experiences, and they have close to two decades of experience doing so. The team developed a virtual reality program for Universal Studios locations, and they helped American Express engage audiences in Las Vegas by hiring a local illusionist to use its credit card in a physics-defying display. Its solutions have appeared everywhere from Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas, United States, to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last year in Miami.

“We create experiences by specializing in immersive, experiential marketing programs. These fuel and even change perceptions about a brand—all while fostering lasting relationships at every opportunity,” says Jared Shattuck, the agency’s Chief Operating Officer for Sales & Marketing. “Couple that with a passion for bringing communities together in distinctively customized and uniquely engaging ways, and you’ve got a recipe for the fantastical.”

The company, now with 87 employees, prizes outside-the-box thinking as part of its DNA. Its management team, however, wanted to take this a step further and encouraged employees to create an entirely new offering capable of shaking up the industry.

The result was three unique mobile assets the company can rent out to marketers for events and even TV programs. In addition to MAX, the team dreamed up DRAFT (the “dynamic restaurant aboard fire truck”). This features two huge Southern Pride smokers, a flattop grill, and 12 beer taps.

Rounding out the fleet is GameDay Traditions (GDT), a hospitality platform that gives event and festival guests the VIP treatment with its homey atmosphere and luxurious amenities.

“Rather than rely on traditional means of advertising and marketing, companies are always looking for the next way to create memorable experiences,” Shattuck says. “For this reason, we are always looking for ways to help our clients stand out in a sea of competitors, and that is why we created our very own exclusive assets.”

The bold investment proved to be a huge success. IG evolved from a service-only agency to a company with $2 million in rentable assets—a category that continues to grow. It also helped the company, founded in 2000, earn a Gold Stevie Award for Business Development Achievement of the Year in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Shattuck says the IG staff members discovered the Stevies while Googling prestigious award opportunities where they could submit the game-changing program. Dunbar sees the company leveraging this new accolade as a powerful marketing tool.

“It means we can let our current and future clients know what separates us from the other boutique agencies out there,” Shattuck says. “We are the proud recipient of a Gold Stevie Award, and that's what makes us different.”

Tags: innovation awards, sales awards, business development

Bills From Health Care Providers Are No Longer Confusing With Stevie-Winner Patagonia Health

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 @ 10:59 AM

Effective Software in a Rapidly Evolving Industry

Patagonia Health Inc. offers cloud-based and app-based software solutions for health care providers. This includes integrated, federally certified Electronic Health Record (EHR), Practice Management (PM), and billing software.

The innovative software is easy to use and affordable, and it also addresses the customer’s biggest problem: billing. The apps provide timely data that allow organizations to improve workflow, streamline operations, and take their organizations to the next level.


Because government regulations drive the EHR market, most health care agencies have a difficult time keeping up with the changes. Patagonia Health helps clients stay up to date by advancing the software to comply with the regulations and to further customer support with excellent and accessible customer service.

Expert Beginnings

patagonia healthPatagonia Health was founded in 2008 in Cary, North Carolina, USA, by three expert software and computer engineers: Mr. Ashok Mathur, Mr. Abhi Muthiyan, and Ms. Sonali Luniya.

Luniya, the current vice president of customer experience, earned her PhD in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University in 2006, and she earned her BE in computer engineering from Pune Institute of Computer Technology, Pune, India, in 2000. She began her career in the telecommunications industry and developed her analytic and software engineering skills here.

Abhi Muthiyan, the CTO, has an MBA in new product development from North Carolina State University and a BS in computer engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune, India. He began his career working for Symantec, where he identified potential product opportunities. As an architect and innovator, he designs products and features that solve real business problems.

CEO Ashok Mathur served as head of North America software development for Sony Ericsson Mobile and as managing director for Nortel Networks, international software operations. Mathur gained his health-care prowess from serving as the director of software development at Misys Healthcare Systems for five years. His deep understanding of the health care IT market and the emerging Software-As-A-Service business model contributed to the foundation for Patagonia Health.

Mathur recognized the gap clients experienced between the product and the necessary customer service support. While traveling through South America, he identified what would become the core of the customer service model at Patagonia Health.

“People want to be treated as people, and they deserve to get a quality product that is backed by a high level of product support,” Mathur says. “They deserve a holistic approach to training and to implementation and a vendor that is accessible to them at all times.”

Good Service Yields Success

After a decade of service, Patagonia Health won the 2016 Bronze Stevie® Award and the 2017 Silver Stevie Award for Customer Service. Their small company of 25 employees is honored to win the 2018 Gold Stevie Award in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

“It reinforces the efforts we purposefully put forth every day to support our customers. It acknowledges the level of service we aim for. Our customers and future customers need to know that,” Mathur adds.

Patagonia Health also earned a spot on Inc. magazine's list of fastest-growing companies two years in a row (2015 and 2016) and on Healthcare Tech Outlook magazine's top-10 most promising EHR solutions for 2017. They recently made Insights Care magazine's top-10 most trustworthy EHR vendors.

“We don't just sell our customers a great product; we coach them through the people, process, and product strategy to help them achieve success in the transition process.” Mathur states. “We also provide ongoing training, so they can fully utilize the EHR and, ultimately, provide better patient care.”

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards, top customer service, sales growth achievement

Travel Firm Helps Customers Explore Europe in Style on a Budget

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jun 06, 2018 @ 01:21 PM

Hospitality, you could say, is in Vyacheslav Shirokov’s bones.

He grew up in the vast eastern region of Siberia, Russia, where his parents ran a small hotel. To say the lodging was remote is an understatement. The nearest buildings were 500 kilometers away.

As the only one at the hotel who spoke English, it fell on Shirokov to help the occasional tourist from the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom. Even back then, he enjoyed teaching visitors about Russian culture and playing the role of tour guide.

After receiving a master’s degree in the United States from New York University, he decided to help Americans and other foreigners explore his native country. He created a company named Travel All Russia to do just that.

A New Way to Explore Europe

firebird ceoShirokov’s organization was a far cry from the stodgy bus companies that once dominated the Russian tourism sector. The company, since creating a new brand of Firebird Tours, prides itself on putting customers in top-tier hotels and offering more convenient travel options, such as private transfers and high-speed trains. Customers can trek from city to city privately or with small groups.

From its inception a decade ago, the U.S.-based tour operator—with its main office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States—has worked to deliver a great travel experience to the masses. To drive down costs, the Firebird team works with local suppliers to get lower rates on transportation and hotel fees. Small-group tours cost about $200 per day, while private tours cost about $300 per day.

“The quality of the tours is better than any bus tour, and it’s half the price of similar luxury tours,” says Morta Jablonskaitė, marketing specialist for Firebird Tours.

Going one extra step for its customers, Firebird does something a lot of its competitors won’t: It helps clients obtain proper visas, which eliminates a key hurdle to overseas travel.

While the company started with a focus on Russia’s historic cities, it has since expanded to cover all of Europe, as well as Mongolia and Morocco. In addition to its Florida, United States office, Firebird now has satellite offices in Saint Petersburg, Russia; Minsk, Belarus; and Vilnius, Lithuania. By having experts on the ground, the Firebird team believes it can design better trips that steer customers to the most compelling locales.

By offering its products online, Firebird is also trying to shed the exclusivity that once plagued the European travel industry.

“The right use of technology helps us make upscale traveling available to all people who want to discover the beauty of the world on their terms,” Jablonskaitė says.

Impressive Growth

Firebird users clearly believe the operator is making good on its promise to offer more bang for your buck. The company has an average rating of 5.0 and 4.9 on Google and Facebook, respectively.

Those high reviews are helping the organization, expand at a robust rate—the company now has 88 employees. In February, its leadership team was handed a bronze Stevie Award for Sales Growth Achievement of the Year at the 12th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Jablonskaitė sees the honor as validation of the company’s business model.

“It shows that our sales team did excellent work in crafting itineraries and communicating to our clients,” she says. “This comes from ongoing training, a team-first culture, and, of course, a comfortable working environment.”

Going forward, Firebird hopes the award will help pave the way for continued growth.

“Winning the award helps us assure potential and current partners and suppliers that working with Firebird Tours is the right business choice for them,” she says. “The bronze in Sales Growth Achievement is a credibility mark we are excited to have.”

Tags: sales awards, best sales team, sales growth achievement

Collective Health Makes Customers Happy and Healthy

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 @ 02:58 PM

The United States is experiencing a shift in healthcare today and employers are at its center. Collective Health, based in San Francisco, California in the United States, strives to give companies a smarter way to provide healthcare coverage through technology and design. They won in the 2018 Silver Stevie® Awards for Sales and Customer Service: Silver for Customer Service Department of the Year and for Best Use of Technology for Customer Service.
 
Happier and Healthier Customers

collective healthFounded in October 2013, Collective Health is backed by NEA, Founders Fund, Google Ventures, and other leading investors. Erika Alperin is the Corporate Marketing and Internal Communications Manager at Collective Health.

“We’re focused on serving the 170M+ Americans who receive healthcare coverage from their employers,” says Alperin. “We are interested in the shift to recognizing that the member experience really matters when it comes to healthcare. When people get the help they need to understand their health benefits, they are better, happier, and healthier consumers of healthcare.”

They replace traditional health plans with a flexible, data-driven alternative that enables companies to get more out of their investment while taking better care of their people.

Collective Health has become a popular choice for organizations to review their increasing costs year over year, and how to improve long-lasting effects of profits and employee spending not running as efficiently as possible.

An Effortless Experience for Everyone

Collective Health is powered by an all-in-one solution that connects and administers the entire health benefits ecosystem: health plans, benefits programs, spending accounts, and employee support. Their technology delivers a more effortless experience for everyone.

This has led them to achieving an NPS (Net Promoter Score) score that is 10 times greater than the industry average, which is due in large part to their amazing Member Advocate team. Alperin explains why their team has played a pivotal role.

“A few of our MA's joined the role because they have had to navigate health insurance and coverage issues for some of their family members. Not only were they trying to understand their plans, they were translating their coverage to family members from English to Spanish. Upon joining Collective, they helped to start a group on our team to serve our Spanish members and translate complex plan documents.”

Collective Health has also been recognized by The Wall Street Journal Top 25 Tech Companies to Watch, 2017, and Rock Health's Best Digital Health Company to Work For, 2017.

“We offer a rigorous training program, both content and cultural, work with internally built tools and technology that streamline processes, and allow us to focus on doing our job,” Alperin says.

Hiring advocates with a passion for helping others and solving complex issues can provide an important sense of empathy to customers.

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, sales awards, customer service department of the year

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