Customer Service Awards Blog

Not Just B2B, People 2 People, Too

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 08, 2017 @ 10:27 AM

With the whole world going digital, many companies have become focused on their online activity, and customer service has become automated and frustrating. But for one of the original outgoing email service providers, SMTP2GO, their dedication to offering a friendly personal service to all clients is one of the many reasons why they won the Front-Line Customer Service Team of The Year award in the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Better Life = Better Business Sense

smtp2go.pngSMTP2GO provides 24/7 international customer support for servers across the globe. They’ve been listed by Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for five years in a row now and believe their success stems from their work-life balance values.

“Our employees' happiness directly affects their work performance and the customers, so we make sure that our team is happy.” SMTP2GO representative and fellow-blogger Louise Feaheny told us, “Our flexible positions, allowing them to work from home, or from a co-working space, means that they have the option to live their life around their jobs.”

Success and Giving Back

SMTP2GO is a business with a heart. Last year, a beach in the Abel Tasman National Park was almost sold and made private. SMTP2GO donated to the “Give A Little” project so they could purchase it and donate it to the people of New Zealand. Flexible work methods have also helped one of their customer support agents volunteer to foster abandoned puppies and kittens from an animal rescue center in Spain. Since she started, over 30 pups and kittens in the last year received loving attention in a home. SMTP2GO heard about what she had done and sponsored the shelter with a portion of the donation paying for a life-saving operation on an old abandoned Podenco dog named Amatxi.

SMTP2GO was pleased to say that Amatxi on the mend and looking for a home.

The Numbers Speak For Themselves

SMTP2GO also speaks to all of their employees on a regular basis to get feedback on anything they think is important. They then conduct annual reviews to make sure they're satisfied with their work. With over 90, 000 satisfied customers in over 140 countries, keeping employees happy is going well to say the least.

“Being kiwis, we're friendly!” Feaheny concluded, “We enjoy life and realize that problems and issues with work can affect your personal life, which is why we aim to resolve them as quickly as possible with little hassle. We get a kick out of helping people!”

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, Customer Service Team of the Year, Sales & Customer Service

How Would Your Development Team Program Customer Service?

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 @ 10:11 AM

Most of the time, the engineers and other professionals at software firm Olark are busy manipulating code as they try to push their product forward. But once a month, those computer gurus tackle a much different task: handling customer service inquiries from their users.

The company calls it their “All Hands Support” policy, intended to keep staffers throughout the organization in tune with the needs of clients. “Everyone in our 40-person company continues to contribute to our customer service efforts in some way,” says Karl Pawlewicz, the company’s spokesman.

Customer service is, in fact, at the very core of the San Francisco-based company. Founded in 2009, it offers a live chat platform that businesses large and small can use to address the real-time needs of their buyers. Today, more than 12,000 organizations around the globe use Olark’s easy-to-implement solution in order to address customer needs.

Olark.pngBy giving all of its employees a taste of the customer service experience, they’re able to create a better product, Pawlewicz suggests. “It keeps our entire company in close contact with our customers' successes and frustrations, and ensures each department is aligned on customer priorities,” he says.

The idea originated from the early days when Olark’s four founders were living together in Palo Alto and developing the software platform. “They each took turns on customer service so they wouldn't burn out and so they could stay close to customer feedback,” according to Pawlewicz.

At a time when a lot of customer service is being automated through artificial intelligence and bots, Pawlewicz says it was important for Olark’s principals to create a solution that was simultaneously economical and person-oriented.

“We’re looking for ways to develop a hybrid approach, ensuring technology makes humans more efficient, rather than replacing them,” he notes.

Building Empathy

Creating a better customer service experience is about more than spreading the workload around ‒ it’s also about developing a culture that turns employees into advocates for the company. That can can be a challenge for a geographically-diverse organization, where many employees work from home throughout North America, South America and Europe.

To develop that cohesiveness, the company, which recently won the Gold Stevie Award in the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service for Customer Service Department of the Year ‒ Computer Software, hosts in-person retreats once a year. There, the company leaders preach Olark’s core values. Among them: “assume good faith,” “practice empathy” and “help each other grow.”

But the most unconventional of the company’s axioms is “chill out.” As its website describes, Olark  wants its employees to “seek activities that recharge you and allow you to bring your best self to work.” So it’s no accident that the company has amateur musicians and even a couple of part-time farmers among its ranks.

Olark has some off-beat customs, to be sure. Its employees join in to sing Darius Rucker’s  “Wagon Wheel,” the firm’s unofficial anthem, whenever they get together. And they have secret, gift-giving gnomes to celebrate birthdays, since they’re apart for the other 51 weeks each year.

“Creating this positive environment helps our team maintain a healthy work/life balance and come to work every day refreshed and renewed,” explains Pawlewicz. (L1)

That balanced approach has paid off in the form of excellent customer service, decided by Stevie Awards judges. Pawlewicz says the honor has been a major shot in the arm for workers at the burgeoning company.

“It's a testament to the hard work that our customer service team puts in every day, and we hope it will be a compelling proof point for future candidates who consider working at Olark,” he says.

Tags: sales awards, Customer Service, customer service department, Buisness awards

Drug Tests in Bulk Tests Positive For Stellar Customer Service.

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 @ 11:15 AM

Drug and alcohol testing mitigates the risk of injury and property damage to help companies establish a strong safety culture. Stevie Award winner Drug Tests In Bulk (DTIB) provides instant drug testing kits for businesses ranging from correctional facilities, corporate accounts, government offices and anyone who wants to detect the use of abused substances.

The company recently won the Silver Stevie for the e-Commerce Customer Service Award - All Other Industries in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, in addition to gaining media attention for filling an invaluable need for organizations.

Sumant Vasan, Director of Digital Marketing at Drug Tests in Bulk told us, “We have been mentioned in many notable publications, such as Forbes, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Chicago Tribune and Buzzfeed for our product selection, customer service, and marketing prowess. We are also recognized by DATIA, SAPAA, and SHRM and BBB with an A+ as an exemplary provider.”

drug tests in bulk.png

The Best and Affordable

DTIB finds the change from lab testing to instant tests to be the most profound as of late. While most lab tests can cost up to $120, instant tests can go for as little as $2-$10 per test. This opportunity helps DTIB help businesses keep a safe workplace, without causing them the difficulty of choosing a sizable investment to do so.

Knowing Your Customer

Regular "Power Hour" meetings to review customer inquiries help address any concerns in a uniform and a thoughtful manner. They also look at customizing the best products for certain industry types, to reduce customer confusion and increase trust in their customer service team.

“We also have a catered lunch every Friday, where we all get a chance to eat, laugh and get to know our fellow team members better.” Said Sumant.

Growing Up With The Company

DTIB believes they’re much more than a drug testing company.  Implementing drug testing policy, protocol, and regulations is a serious responsibility. They also design exercises that include friendly competitions, collaborative projects and focus group sessions to maintain their family oriented environment that sets them apart.

“Our team members have ‘grown up’ with the company. Many of us have gotten married, had children, and bought homes while working here.” Recalled Sumant, “The company definitely has a family feel to it, and we often do things in the community together. For example, we support local food banks, girl scouts, boy scouts, drug rehab centers, and animal shelters.”

Passing With Flying Colours

DTIB customers constantly save on service that matches expensive lab based tests, with an instant solution that delivers the results in less than 5 minutes without sacrificing the quality of the test itself. With more than 15,000 businesses and clients in the U.S., DTIB has definitely tested positive for stellar customer service.

Learn more about Drug Tests in Bulk and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards, e-commerce awards

Signs, Smiles and Second to None Service

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 10:32 AM

Providing the best customer service for homes and businesses is what Stevie Award-winner Signs.com is all about.

Signs.com is the industry leader in a variety of indoor and outdoor custom signage options for businesses and homes. They also offer one day turnaround time on most of their products. If clients need assistance, they proclaim, “no problem!” by providing free design services and “world-class customer service.”

This is how they garnered such high customer satisfaction rates all the way to win the Gold Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year.

Interested in entering the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service? These are the top customer service awards, sales awards, business development awards, and new product and service awards around the world.

Request the entry kit here and it will be emailed to you in June.

Signs.com

No Small Parts

Signs.com believes each of their team members bring unique qualities to the table. Whitney Pikula (nee Matagi) is their “bubbliest” customer experience agent on the Signs.com chat service. Whitney was hired as a temp while she finished school and immediately charmed everyone, leading her to land the Customer Experience position.

“She's helpful, sweet, and endearing...Her vivacious spirit is infectious. She's such an asset to our customer service team!”

Whitney has also been a professional dancer for most of her life. She danced for the University of Utah (her alma mater), the Utah Jazz basketball team and the Arizona Cardinals football team. She also traveled through China cheering on the United States Basketball team. Whitney has made it her mission to always keep clients happy and her co-workers laughing.

Smooth Strides to The Stevie Awards

Signs.com made the UVEF (Utah Venture Entrepreneur Forum) top 25 companies under five years old for the second year in a row, before placing sixth in the top ten.

In 2015, they were awarded "Utah's Emerging Elite," an award that honors Utah's fastest growing companies.

In 2017, they plan on applying to be on the INC 500 list.

“We pride ourselves on being on the forefront of these innovations. Who knows where the future of printing will take us.”

Signs.com considers the Stevie Awards a great place to share their company success.

“What a great place to showcase our amazing company. Upon learning of the Stevie Awards' tremendous reputation, we couldn't think of a better match! We became obsessed with creating the best submission out there!”

All Work and No Play...

Working hard but also playing hard is very important to Signs.com. Team building activities include escape rooms, games of darts, nerf gun wars and frequent pranks keep a sense of play for a company in the business of creative council for signage.

“To shake things up, we always play a game after each meeting! We've done some crazy things we aren't really proud of, including putting nylons on our head, eating donuts from a string and playing aggressive games of Spoons. We even have gold and silver medals to hand out to the weekly winners. Yeah, not competitive at all. And TOTALLY normal.”

Samantha, their resident baker, always makes snacks for meetings and birthday celebrations. Because of this, they have sage advice:

“Invest in treadmill desks.”

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, sales awards

Redefining the Average Call Center

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Apr 06, 2017 @ 10:16 AM

A common thread among successful, enduring brands is always putting the customer first. Selling to existing customers is much more inexpensive than attracting new ones. Research shows that companies spend five times more to attract a new buyer than to retain a previous one.

Yet a primary mechanism for delivering customer service – a large call center operation – can be limiting. Often, these facilities are trying to lure local job seekers who have little attachment to the brand. And that becomes evident in their interactions with the customer.

Arise.pngArise Virtual Solutions is trying to fundamentally change that paradigm. The Miramar, Florida-based company provides a cloud-based platform that allows businesses to utilize a network of “micro” call centers around the country. Often, these are semi-retired adults, stay-at-home parents, or even people with disabilities who work out of their homes.

Because the talent pool isn’t confined to a small geographic area, companies can look for individuals who have a higher level of work experience or who possess specific skills, such as the ability to speak a foreign language.

It also enables organizations – whether they’re manufacturers, retailers or service providers – to recruit representatives who share their values and interests. That aspect resolves some of the high turnover issues that plague a lot of traditional call centers. It also turns those individuals into advocates for the brand.

A cycling equipment maker, for instance, is able to staff people who are avid fans of the sport. As a result, they have a clearer understanding of the questions that customers have and are able to suggest products that will fit their needs.

In the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Arise was recognized for its innovative solution. The company was awarded the Gold Stevie® in the Best Use of Technology in Customer Service - Business Services category.

Want to submit entries in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service? Request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you when it's available. 

A more flexible workforce

For firms that use the Arise platform, the advantages go beyond the talent level of the customer service workers. The technology also provides a flexibility that traditional call centers don’t offer.

Based on call volume, for example, companies can increase or decrease the number of on-duty reps in under an hour. As a result, users can turn a fixed cost into a variable cost – and save money in the process. The company calls it being “right-staffed.”

Consequently, an industry that was once dominated by large brick-and-mortar operations is undergoing a seismic transformation.  A trade group survey found that as many as 70 percent of call center managers intend to move to a cloud-based infrastructure in the near future.

As one Stevie® Award judge put it, technologies like those offered by Arise offer a “desperately needed” tool that can “accommodate a flexible workforce.”

The array of benefits has led to impressive growth for the company, which was founded in the mid-90s. Today, the Arise network includes thousands of micro call centers throughout the United States as well as in Canada and several European countries. Those individuals provide support for companies in a wide range of industries, from healthcare to retail and banking.

Arise has garnered a number of recognitions over the past few years, including accolades from the Outsourcing Institute and the International Customer Management Institute, or ICMI. Arise CEO John A. Meyer indicated the Stevie Award represents a major achievement for the organization.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Stevie Awards and our peers,” Meyer said in a statement following the ceremony in Las Vegas.

Learn more about Arise Virtual Solutions.

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

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

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Votes Determined Public's Favorites for Customer Service Excellence

Winners of the 2017 People's Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Customer Service, a worldwide public vote, were announced today. Voting was conducted from January 20 through February 10, with the highest number of votes deciding the winners in 12 industry categories.

PCSAFCSAwardImage_medium.jpgAll 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 11th year, are the world’s top honors for customer service, contact center, business development and sales professionals.

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

        Airlines, Distribution, Transportation: Bombardier Aerospace                            
        Computer Hardware: Unitrends
        Computer Services: Ultimate Software
        Financial, Less Than 100 Employees: CommonBond
        Financial, More Than 100 Employees: Distinguished Programs
        Healthcare/Pharma: Zelis Payments
        Leisure & Tourism: Marriott Vacation Club Owner Services                
        Retail: Chewy
        Software, Less Than 100 Employees: FieldEdge
        Software, More Than 100 Employees: GPS Insight
        Telecommunications: j2 Global, Inc.
        Other Industries: CubeSmart

More than 149,000 votes were cast this year.

Nicknamed the Stevie® for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at the 11th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards banquet on Friday, February 24 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets for the event are now on sale. More than 600 executives from around the world are expected to attend. The presentations will be broadcast live via Livestream.

About The Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 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 11th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include Sales Partnerships and ValueSelling Associates.

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, stevie awards, customer service excellence

Leader in Identity Theft Protection Wins Customer Service Team of the Year in The American Business Awards

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Dec 08, 2016 @ 09:45 AM

An interview with Paige L. Schaffer, President & COO, Identity & Digital Protection Services Global Unit, Generali Global Assistance

Stevie Award winner Generali Global Assistance won the Silver Stevie Award in the Customer Service Team of the Year category of The 2016 American Business AwardsThe ABAs are the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A. which attract more than 3,000 nominations from organizations nationwide each year.

The American Business Awards are accepting nominations for the 2017 program. 

All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations -- public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The last early-bird entry deadline is December 14 – with discounted entry fees. The final entry deadline is February 16 and late entries will be accepted through March 15. 

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

President & COO Paige L. Schaffer shares her business insights and thoughts on the Stevie Awards:

What does Generali Global Assistance do?

Generali Global Assistance (GGA) has protected the assets of organizations and their customers for over 50 years, and provides best-in-class identity theft protection and resolution services for leading Fortune 500 companies.  GGA’s recently launched Iris® identity protection platform which is offered as a solution to over 25 million people addresses all areas of need for companies and their customers, offering 360° protection with prevention, monitoring, alerts, award-winning resolution services and identity theft insurance.

Generali-Paige.jpgWhat is your role as the President & COO?

I oversee our Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit. In this role, I lead sales & marketing strategy and revenue growth initiatives, and manage operations as well as global expansion.  Additionally, I ensure that we continue to offer the best possible solutions to our clients, minimizing the risk of identity theft for our diverse set of end users and maintaining a deep commitment to customer service.

What is the organizational vision?

Identity theft is on a precipitous rise internationally and consumer demand for identity protection service is rising at an equal rate. People are turning to the business and organizations they trust to get the protection they need - financial institutions, insurance companies, travel providers, legal services, associations and membership organizations, among others.

Our vision is to develop a seamless business-to-business platform driven by a people-first mentality that can help organizations of any type generate new revenue and exceed their business goals, especially as it relates to strengthening trust with their customers and building long-term brand loyalty. We have experienced ongoing success largely because the foundation of our program – our customer service team of identity theft resolution specialists – continues to be one of the very best in the business.

What sets your company apart in this category?

Helping people in their time of need has been GGA’s core DNA since its founding in 1963. Identity theft results in major emotional distress and financial difficulties for victims. As such, it’s absolutely essential to our mission that we not only quickly resolve any issues for identity theft victims, but do so in an empathetic, caring way. Our entire customer service team provides a human touch to identity theft protection and resolution, and this nomination was an opportunity to recognize their exceptional work.

How did you first become acquainted with the Stevies?

The Stevie® Awards are well-recognized and respected and we received several recommendations from our partners and clients to submit a nomination.

What was it like for your company to win this award?

We are thrilled to have won a Stevie for the fourth year in a row – and we were especially excited, after learning of our American Business Award, to receive a Gold Stevie from the International Business Awards during the same year.

How has the win affected your business?

Each Stevie® Award that we win is a rallying cry to continually improve and innovate. It’s a valuable reminder to the entire GGA Identity & Digital Protection Team that the world is watching and taking note of those companies that are providing extraordinary service. When we meet potential new business clients, customer service is at the top of their minds.  Having a trophy case full of Stevie Awards drives confidence that our team of identity protection specialists are industry leaders and will work tirelessly to meet the needs of all customers.

What results have been gained since you've won this award?

Identity and Digital Protection Services remains one of the fastest growing business lines within Generali Global Assistance and in the time since we received our first Stevie Award in 2013, we’ve delivered a number of service enhancements to support our expanding client base. Most recently, we launched our new Iris® online identity protection dashboard earlier this year. We have deployed Iris® for several organizations across a variety of industry sectors, including Optima Tax Relief and National Benefit Services, for example. Additionally, several prospective new clients are Stevie Award winners, and they quickly recognize that the award indicates exceptional service.

What inspires you to continue your work?

I’m always inspired by the individual stories that I hear from our customer service team. We’ve had specialists work with individuals for months or years at a time, untangling complicated identity fraud issues that had destroyed their credit, made it difficult to work, and put stress on personal relationships with families and friends. It’s so rewarding to see a case successfully closed and to hear directly from our clients when their customers call and say that their lives have been improved because of the work that we do.

What changes do you expect in your industry in the future?

The world is becoming increasingly connected and the need for identity theft protection will continue to develop in ways that we aren’t even aware of yet – and not just in the U.S., but also globally. The rise of the Internet of Things, surging social media use, more frequent online transactions, and a more sophisticated crowd of international criminals all present significant challenges for digital security. To best serve our clients and customers, continual learning and reinvestment in the technology that monitors theft and fraud is an absolute must. What truly sets us apart and is absolutely crucial to our future as a leading identity protection provider for organizations around the world is a commitment to the person behind the data. While identity crimes are often perpetrated digitally, the victims they affect are human and we will always go above and beyond to care for that individual.

 

Generali.png

From left to right: David Brown, Generali Global Assistance Marketing Manager, Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit, Julie Jamsa, Generali Global Assistance Vice President, Service Delivery, Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit, Patrice Bobala, Generali Global Assistance Identity and Digital Protection Quality Analyst, and Michael Gallagher, the Stevie Awards President.

Learn more about Generali Global Assistance

 

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, American business awards

New Customer Service Success Categories in the Sales & Customer Service Awards

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

Does your organization do a great job of addressing customers concerns in a timely manner, but doesn’t have a formal customer service department? The 2016 (10th Annual) Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service has created a category group just for you – Customer Service Success.

These new categories have been designed to complement the longstanding Customer Service Department of the Year categories. Rather than focus on the performance of a named customer service department, the customer service success categories recognize customer service-related achievements across your entire company or organization. You choose the successes you wish to highlight.

sascslogo.gifREVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the top awards for customer service, contact center, business development, teams and professionals worldwide. All organizations are eligible to be nominated, in addition to the new products and services used by those professionals.

Complete details are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCCESS CATEGORIES

If your organization doesn't have a formal customer service function - if "everyone here works in customer service" is your motto - then these are the categories for you. If your organization has a formal customer service function, don't enter these categories - enter the Customer Service Department categories instead.

Information required for entries in these categories include:

(a) An essay of up to 650 words describing your organization's customer service-related accomplishments since July 1, 2014.

(b) Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges. At the very least you should provide a link to the organization's website.

  1. Customer Service Success - Business Service Industries
  2. Customer Service Success - Financial Service Industries
  3. Customer Service Success - Other Service Industries
  4. Customer Service Success - Technology Industries
  5. Customer Service Success - All Other Industries

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Sales & Customer Service, favorite customer service, customer service success

The Bottom Line for Customer Growth, from a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 @ 12:12 PM

Jeanne Bliss, president of CustomerBLISS in Los Angeles, California, USA, is often a judge for the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Entries to the 2016 competition are now being accepted. 

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

Earlier this year, Jeanne Bliss published her third book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0, so we talked with her about her book, the publishing process, and how she'll find the time to judge the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, especially the new categories for Customer Service Success.

Hello1508BlissJeanne Bliss is happy to share her experience of being a judge for the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service in past years. “Judging the Stevie Awards is a tremendous experience,” she told us.  “It keeps me relevant and engaged with practitioners. And the ideas and enthusiasm I read in the submissions continues to fuel my optimism and passion for this field of work!”

Jeanne also has words of encouragement and advice for others who might be considering being a Stevie Awards judge: “Commit to the process.  Put aside time for dedicated reading and research the companies and people.  Give time to take it in and celebrate the entrants!”

The Business of Publishing

Having just published her third book, we asked Jeanne for her views on the business of publishing these days. “It's changed a lot since 2006 when my first book was published,” commented Jeanne. “Now, in a wonderful way, we get to bring the reader along throughout the entire process, from engaging on topics; to content; to titles and covers; and more,” Jeanne told us. “In the process of launching a book, it’s extremely important to engage in social media in a way that will add value to people's lives: the message of the book and what it will do for the reader are important to presell a book.”

“PR is no longer traditional in any sense of the word—and I love that,” added Jeanne.

“I've worked with the most wonderful group of people over the past 15 years, engaged in hosting webinars and tweets and book reviews.  The whole process is now about community, adding value, and earning the right to the readers' time.

Following is a shortened excerpt taken from Jeanne’s latest book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0, available now.

The Influence of Customer Reviews

When you deliver a reliable experience, you earn the right to your customers’ story through word of mouth. And your customers will come back because they want to have the experience again.

There are three points that customers repeatedly talk about through social media, which will earn you the right to new customer growth without the acquisition costs, and to organic growth of your existing customers. These are:

  • Was their experience consistent and reliable?
  • Did their relationship with you improve their life or business? Did your actions prove your commitment to them?
  • How did it feel to do business with you? Honored, distrusted, ignored?

All these points come out again and again in tweets, reviews, and message boards. What we know is that the power of social listening—meaning either in person or online—has an increasingly high impact on purchase decisions.

Word of Mouth

In both business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations, customers yield to the reviews and feedback of others who have experienced your business to drive nearly 80% of their buying decisions. Your promises and messaging only account for about 20% of what customers and clients consider when they are making a buying decision. (These statistics comes from The Keller Fay Talk Track Report, whose information I have used regularly when chipping away at the importance of reliability.)

When your customers’ experience is unreliable, the most powerful way to grow your company—positive word of mouth—will suffer. If the experience you deliver to customers is not consistent and reliable, no matter what channel or silo or location they interact with, then customers won’t vouch for you.

This will impact recommendations and organic growth, because if your customers can’t tell another customer what they get from you, how they get it, how it improves their life, and how you make them feel as a result, then you won’t earn their recommendation. You don’t own the moment–and at any time the customer may go shopping for one that’s more reliable. More important, a lack of reliability will drive them away.

The Wow Moment

With social media becoming a shiny object, along with a lot of Customer Experience tactics, the tendency is for leaders to want to go out and implement the “wow” moment. But reliability has to come first, otherwise money spent on the “wow” is a wasted investment.

When I give keynotes, I tell a story about the hotel experience which resonates: You check into a hotel, and they ask you what type of pillow you’d like, and the kind of chocolate you’d like at turndown; then, when you walk in to your room, there’s hair in the sink and dirt under the bed—and all that “wow” is lost.

Think of reliability as the foundation. For many complex businesses such as healthcare, financial services, or insurance, just moving to reliability will make them stand out. You will differentiate when you are consistent and reliable.

Reliability = Revenue Gain

The London School of Business says that there is a 300% revenue gain to be had by focusing on reliability versus the wow moments. That does not mean that your version of reliability is mundane. Apple is reliable: they have their own way of doing reliability and that differentiates them. Amazon is a reliability engine. Amazon sold their first book in 1995. If they had not sold, shipped, and delivered that book in a reliable way, they would not have earned the right to the over 200 categories that they sell now. Reliability, not wow drives them.

Bottom line, Jeanne’s advice is: Grow your company by improving customers' lives!

About Jeanne Bliss:

Jeanne Bliss pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer, holding the first ever CCO role at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker, and Allstate Corporations over a period of more than twenty years. Reporting to each company’s CEO, she moved the customer to the strategic agenda, creating transformational changes to each brands’ customer experience. She has driven achievement of 95% loyalty rates, improving customer experiences across 50,000-person organizations.

Jeanne is now the president of CustomerBliss, where she guides C-Suite executives and Chief Customer Officers around the world on earning business growth by improving customers’ lives. Her clients include: AAA, Johnson & Johnson, Brooks Brothers, Bombardier Aerospace, and Kaiser Permanente. She is a sought-after speaker and thought leader, the author of three best-selling books, and co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. For more information, go to www.customerbliss.com/

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

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

More than 51,000 votes were cast in the 2015 People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite Customer Service, part of the 9th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world’s top honors for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. 

SASCS-peoples-choiceThis worldwide public vote was conducted between January 22 and February 13, 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 winning organizations, which will each receive the coveted crystal People’s Choice Stevie Award at the gala ceremony in Las Vegas on February 27, are:

  • Airlines, Distribution & Transportation: DHL Express International (Thailand) Ltd.
  • Computer Hardware and Services: Rackspace
  • Computer Software (<100 employees): Photodex
  • Computer Software (100+ employees): Paycor
  • Financial Services: AllClear ID
  • Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & Related Industries: PetRays
  • Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism: Marriott Vacation Club Owner Services
  • Public Services & Education: Fujairah Police General Head Quarters
  • Retail: Tchibo Kahve Mam. Dag. Paz. Tic. Ltd. Sti.
  • Telecommunications: Avea Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S.
  • All Other Industries: CubeSmart

Nicknamed the Stevie® for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards banquet on Friday, February 27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Tickets for the event are now on sale.  More than 450 executives from around the world are expected to attend.

Sponsors and supporters of the 9th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include ValueSelling Associates.