Customer Service Awards Blog

Liz Dean

Recent Posts

How to Retain Customers: Tips From 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service Sponsor, ValueSelling Associates

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Dec 06, 2012 @ 12:46 PM

Julie Thomas is President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, a sponsor of the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards and customer service awards. January 15, 2013 is the last day that late entries will be accepted; request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here Julie shares her tips on for retaining customers.

Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling AssociatesMany salespeople are guilty of "hit-and-run" selling: They get the order, and then disappear until the renewal is due or they want to upgrade the customer with additional products or services.

Successful sales professionals understand a fundamental, yet basic, concept: The cost of keeping a customer is far less than the cost of bringing in a new customer. They intuitively know the importance of staying in touch with everyone impacted in the purchase decision throughout the lifecycle of the relationship. Regularly reinforcing, communicating, and reviewing a customer’s purchase decision will not only help to solidify the business relationship over time, it will also increase the likelihood that they will retain their customers.

The Business of Customer Success
The business of sales isn't simply the acquisition of new customers; it is also the renewing and reselling of your existing customer base. A top sales professional that I work with once told me that he wasn't in the sales profession: he was in the "customer success business". The sale of his product and service was a derivative result.

A key aspect of your role as a salesperson is to maintain and grow the revenue from your existing customers. Losing customers is akin to losing a key corporate asset.

More Than Just a Commission Check
People are satisfied when their needs are met and value is realized from their purchasing decisions. Checking in from time to time shows customers that you see them as more than just a series of commission checks. It also justifies the trust they put in you in the first place, which makes the buying process a lower-risk proposition and sets you up for a successful second or third sale.

When Things Change
What if you find that it's been months since you last spoke to a key customer? What if the "champions" who originally decided on your solution are no longer in their original positions?

When things change over time in your customers' worlds—and they will—the ValueSelling conversation can be used again and again to reconnect to the new players and executives in your account. A fundamental principle of ValueSelling is: "People need a reason to change." An existing customer will need a reason to change away from your company, so key aspects to customer retention are:

  • Proactive communications;
  • Review of business issues; and
  • Uncovering new problems that your company and its solutions are uniquely positioned to address.

Maintain a Rigorous Sales Process
Value in the past doesn't necessarily guarantee value in the future. Once a need has been satisfied, or a problem solved, it is no longer a motivator. Yet most sales people don't approach renewal sales with the same rigor of sales process that they do with new business. ValueSelling can help you avoid that trap. Use the process for both renewals and existing customers to ensure that they keep doing business with you and your company.

About Julie Thomas
Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, author and consultant. Thomas began her career at Gartner Group and in 1999, she became Vice President of Gartner’s Sales Training for the Americas, which included successfully managing the training of new hires in the ValueSelling process. In 2003, Thomas acquired ValueSelling Associates with the support of ValueSelling CEO and co-founder Lloyd Sappington. Since then, Thomas has led the company to become an industry leader in competency- and process-based training for escalating sales performance.

Thomas is a guest lecturer at both Babson University and the University of Michigan. She is a member of the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation Advisory Council and is heavily involved with her local public schools as well as the San Diego Children’s Hospital Auxiliary. Thomas earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

About ValueSelling:
Since 1991,ValueSelling Associates has helped FORTUNE 1000 business-to-business sales organizations around the world compete and win. Generating revenue is the goal of all sales organizations. To do that, sales teams need the right tools, skills, and processes to succeed. ValueSelling Associates has maintained its position as a leader in the industry for nearly 20 years by continually evolving to meet the new challenges sales forces face. Clients turn to ValueSelling Associates for classroom training, e-learning, and consulting services that yield immediate impact, repeatable strategies, and sustainable results.  For more information, go to www.valueselling.com.

Tags: customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Julie Thomas, ValueSelling Associates, sales awards

3 Tips on Being a Successful Customer Service Operative, From a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 @ 04:28 PM

Angela Blevins, Vice President of Customer Care for Bluegreen Corporation in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and Boca Raton, Florida, USA, will Chair the final judging committee for the customer service awards and contact center awards for individuals for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service. (Entries for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, are still being accepted through January 15; request your entry kit today.) Here we caught up with Angela and asked her about customer service excellence.  

Angela BlevinsWhat are your top three tips for being a successful customer service or contact center representative?

  1. Treat customers the way you would expect to be treated yourself! 
    Have the applied practice and ability to listen carefully to a customer, and to approach an enquiry with the attitude: “I am here to help you, and we will work together on determining a solution.”
  2. Think outside the box! 
    Have the applied practice and ability to come up with creative ideas or solutions on business improvements, increased customer satisfaction, and even employee satisfaction.
  3. Be willing to embrace change.
    The business environment is constantly changing in order to keep up with technology, to obtain and retain new customers, and to develop employee satisfaction and engagement strategies. Customer service operatives have to be flexible in order to keep up with these changes.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
I am fascinated with how the term “gamification” can now be applied to the business world. I am learning how to apply gamification strategies to Bluegreen’s daily business life, such as by creating competitive digital dashboards similar to those you see on video games. I am also developing training materials that assimilate a specific event and trigger results based on decisions made throughout the learning event. 

Do you have a favorite app that you use for business purposes?
LinkedIn
! I love to stay connected with past associates, mentors, and new business acquaintances that I have met through networking.  LinkedIn is a great resource for several reasons, including recruitment, business updates, and services that could benefit your line of business. 

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
If I had to choose another business profession, I would still choose the position and industry that I work within today: vacation ownership. I absolutely love the people I work with and what we do every day.  If I were to step outside the business sector, however, I would love to be a professional racecar driver, with Christine Aguilera as my sponsor! 

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
First, I believe that you have to inspire yourself and hold yourself accountable for your behavior and attitude every day.  Make each day a better day than the one before. 

Second, I believe you have to give your best effort every day so that the team you work with will be inspired.  It is the team that drives business success and creates the happiness we feel when working.

About Angela Blevins:
Angela Blevins is Vice President of Customer Care for Bluegreen Corporation in their Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and Boca Raton, Florida, USA offices. Angela’s career with Bluegreen Corporation began in 2003 with sole emphasis on leading the transition and migration of the reservation center from an outsourcer to internal operations. In 2005, Angela’s role was expanded to her current position as Vice President of Customer Care. In February 2012, Angela was the winner of the Gold Stevie Award for Customer Service Leader of the Year in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and in October 2012, the Bluegreen Club Services Team won the Gold Stevie Award for Customer Service Team of the Year in The International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards program.

About Bluegreen Corporation:
Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE:BXG) is a leading timeshare sales, marketing, and resort management company. Bluegreen manages, markets, and sells the Bluegreen Vacation Club, a flexible, points-based, deeded vacation ownership plan with more than 160,000 owners, over 59 owned or managed resorts, and access to more than 4,000 resorts worldwide. Bluegreen also offers a portfolio of comprehensive, turnkey, fee-based service resort management, financial services, and sales and marketing on behalf of third parties. For more information, visit www.bluegreencorp.com.

Tags: contact center awards, customer service awards, International business awards, business awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Angela Blevins, Customer Service Team of the Year, customer service leader of the year

Two Days to Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service Entry Deadline

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 @ 12:29 PM

Wednesday, November 14, is the entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (If you can't make the November 14 entry deadline, entries will still be accepted through January 15, 2013 with payment of a $35 late fee per entry.)

Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer ServiceAll entries are submitted online. You can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here. The entry kit contains all of the instructions you need about how to prepare and submit your entries.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers. The 2013 awards will recognize achievements since July 1, 2011.

To make the most out of your entries, we suggest reviewing last year's Gold winning entries. 2012 winners include: Adam Bain, Chief Revenue Officer, Twitter, Inc. (Senior Sales Executive of the Year), Direct Alliance (Government Sales Team of the Year), Joey Romaine, Customer Service Role Model and Innovator, Groupon (Young Customer Service Professional of the Year), United Parcel Service, Inc. (Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year), and eCornell (Customer Service Department of the Year), among others. A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Need help submitting entries to the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com  or call us at + 1 703-547-8389.

Tags: call center awards, customer service awards, business awards, sales excellence, sales awards, best customer service, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Less Than Two Weeks to Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service Entry Deadline

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Nov 05, 2012 @ 01:13 PM

Next Wednesday, November 14, is the entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (If you can't make the November 14 entry deadline, entries will still be accepted through January 15, 2013 with payment of a $35 late fee per entry. You can request your entry kit here.)Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers.

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 Operations Professional of the Year
  • Sales Team categories like Global Sales Team of the Year and Field Sales Team of the Year
  • Sales Achievement categories such as Sales Turnaround of the Year and Outbound Marketing Program of the Year
  • Sales Department of the Year categories in 13 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 Customer Service Management 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 11 industry groupings
  • New Product and Service categories like Best New Business Intelligence Solution and Best New Relationship Management Solution
  • Solution Provider categories such as Sales Consulting Practice of the Year and Incentive, Rewards, or Recognition Provider of the Year

Winners of the most recent edition of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service included New York Community Bancorp, Inc. (Customer Service or Call Center Training Practice of the Year), Rob Jeppsen, Zions First National Bank (Sales Director of the Year), International Checkout Inc. (Telesales Team of the Year), Office Depot, Inc. (Customer Service Complaints Team of the Year), OppenheimerFunds Inc. (Contact Center of the Year), and SquareTrade Inc (Customer Service Department of the Year - Financial Services), among others. A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Not sure which categories to enter?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: call center awards, customer service awards, business awards, sales excellence, sales awards, best customer service, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Early-bird Entry Deadline Today for 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

Today, Wednesday, October 10, is the early-bird entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals.  

Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer ServiceTo begin your submission process, you should:

1. Request an entry kit.
The entry kit contains all of the information you'll need to be able to prepare and submit entries to this year's awards.

2. Review the categories.
The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service has more than 125 sales awards and customer service awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers.

3. Submit your entries.
Select your categories, write your submissions according to the instructions, and submit your entries. All entries are submitted online. You can begin by registering here.

The entry deadline for the 2013 awards is November 14. Late entries will be accepted through January 15, 2013, with payment of a $35 late fee per entry.  Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

2012 winners include: Adam Bain, Chief Revenue Officer, Twitter, Inc. (Senior Sales Executive of the Year), Direct Alliance (Government Sales Team of the Year), Joey Romaine, Customer Service Role Model and Innovator, Groupon (Young Customer Service Professional of the Year), United Parcel Service, Inc. (Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year), and eCornell (Customer Service Department of the Year), among others. A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Need help answering  your early-bird questions?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com  or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: customer service awards, business awards, sales excellence, sales awards, best customer service, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Two Weeks to Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service Early-bird Deadline

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 @ 02:05 PM

The early-bird deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, is quickly approaching on October 10.

If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here.

The Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer ServiceThe Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service has more than 125 sales awards and customer service awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers.

The entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service is November 14.  Late entries will be accepted through January 15, 2013, with payment of a $35 late fee per entry.  Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

2012 winners include, among others: New York Community Bancorp, Inc. (Customer Service or Call Center Training Practice of the Year), Rob Jeppsen, Zions First National Bank (Sales Director of the Year), International Checkout Inc. (Telesales Team of the Year), Office Depot, Inc. (Customer Service Complaints Team of the Year), OppenheimerFunds Inc. (Contact Center of the Year), and SquareTrade Inc (Customer Service Department of the Year - Financial Services). A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Need help getting started? Contact us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at +1 703-547-8389.

Tags: customer service awards, business awards, sales excellence, sales awards, best customer service, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

8 Categories Honor Customer Service Teams in the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 @ 02:11 PM

There are eight customer service awards categories specifically for teams in the 2013 (7th annual) Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards and customer service awards. The early-bird entry deadline, with discounted entry fees, is October 10; request your entry kit here.)

Our customer service award categories specifically for teams include:

  1. Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer ServiceCustomer Service Team of the Year – Recovery Situation
    Recognizing service teams who have demonstrated exceptional skill in recovering either an individual case or in rebuilding an underperforming service department.
  2. Customer Service Complaints Team of the Year
    Recognizing service teams whose primary focus is to address and resolve customer complaints.
  3. Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year
    Recognizing service teams that directly engage customers.
  4. Back Office Customer Service Team of the Year
    Recognizing teams that provide service functions that do not directly engage customers, such as billing, credit and collections, payments, security and support services.
  5. Contact Center of the Year (Up to 100 seats)
    Recognizing call and contact centers that have no more than 100 seats.
  6. Contact Center of the Year (Over 100 seats)
    Recognizing call and contact centers that have more than 100 seats.
  7. Customer Service Management Team of the Year
    Recognizing the leadership teams of customer service organizations and contact centers for their achievements.
  8. Customer Service Training Team of the Year
    Recognizing teams that develop and deliver training to customer service organizations and contact center personnel.

Information required for entries in these categories include:

  1. An essay of up to 500 words describing the nominee’s accomplishments since July 1, 2011. 
  2. A brief biography (up to 100 words) of the nominee.
  3. 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.

2013 honorees will be celebrated at the 7th annual awards banquet at Paris Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on February 25.

Submit your entries by October 10 and receive discounted entry fees! All sales and customer service entries are submitted directly online through your account. You can begin by registering here.

Tags: customer service awards, customer service award, business awards, sales awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service

3 Tips on Providing Award-Winning Customer Service, From a Stevie® Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 01:39 PM

Alain Meric is a Senior Vice President at Etisalat, the Middle East’s largest telecommunications operator, and Chair of the committee for final judging of the customer service awards categories in The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (While final judging for this year's IBAs is now underway, the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are now accepting entries. Get your entry kit today.) Here we asked Alain’s advice on maintaining customer satisfaction.

Alain Meric What are your top 3 tips for companies aiming to provide award-winning customer service?

  1. PRIORITISE and FOCUS: I have experienced challenges when trying to address too many issues, or having too many touch points. Pick your battles.  This makes a big difference for your customers.
  2. Customer service is an endless journey: You must drive continuous improvement in your organization. Remember: If you can’t do better, your competitors always can.
  3. Stop talking ABOUT the customers, talk TO the customers.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The deadly fires in Northern Spain, which were probably caused by a cigarette butt.  This is an unfortunate and sad illustration of how a small action can have an enormous impact.

Do you have a favorite app?
I am not a great user of apps, but enjoy fresh news on my iPad or Android smartphone.  Recently, the live updates from the Tour de France or the London Olympics on L’Equipe.fr (a French sports magazine) are what I’ve been using the most. (FREE app available for iPhone, iPad and for Android.)

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Definitely a reporter for either The Economist or National Geographic.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
There is still so much to do …

About Alain Meric
Alain Meric is Senior Vice President, Customer Experience Management, at Etisalat, the largest telecommunications provider in the United Arab Emirates. Alain started his career in the hospitality industry at the Intercontinental Carlton in Cannes, France.  He then moved to Disneyland Paris, where he developed a passion for outstanding customer experience and branded service differentiation. Alain later moved to the UK, where he helped companies such as T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile set up customer service centers in South Africa, India, and the Philippines.  He later served as Executive Director of Member Services for AOL.

After completing a master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Alain accepted the challenge to lead a customer-centric transformation of Etisalat. Alain is based in Dubai and indulges his strong sense of adventure by spending most of his spare time either sailing or in the desert.

About Etisalat:
Etisalat is the Middle East’s largest telecommunications operator and the GCC’s third largest corporation. With a market value of approximately Dhs. 80 billion (USD 20 billion) and annual revenues of over Dhs. 32 billion (USD 8.7 billion) Etisalat is today on the verge of being numbered amongst the top ten operators in the world. Etisalat is a multinational, blue chip organization with operations in seventeen countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. An estimated 2 million people benefit from regular work supplying Etisalat or its customers, including 53,000 who are directly employed by the company. Etisalat now has access to a population of more than two billion and its satellite network provides services over two thirds of the planet’s surface. To learn more about Etisalat, visit www.etisalat.ae.

Tags: customer service awards, International business awards, award-winning customer service, Alain Meric, Etisalat

Stevie® Awards for Sales and Customer Service Entry Kit Now Available

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 @ 03:14 PM

The entry kit for the 2013 (7th annual) Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service is now available. These are the world's top honors for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards and customer service awards.Stevie Awards for Sales

Review the entry kit now -you'll find it online, here: http://www.stevieawards.com/pubs/entrykits/SASCS/SASCS13EntryKit.html

The entry kit contains all of the information you'll need to be able to prepare and submit entries to this year's awards.

The early-bird entry deadline, with discounted entry fees, is October 10. The final entry deadline is November 14, but late entries will be accepted through January 15 with payment of a late fee.

There's a lot that's new and different for the awards this year including new categories such as Best Use of Technology in Sales and Contact Center Manager of the Year. We've also added The Top 10 Awards, a new feature of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service that will honor the ten organizations that submit the best body of work to the competition. To learn more about what's new and different for 2013, click here.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature a wide variety of categories to recognize best sales practices and customer service excellence including:

  • Individual Sales Professionals
  • Sales Teams
  • Sales Achievements
  • Sales Departments
  • Individual Contact Center/Customer Service Professionals
  • Customer Service/Contact Center Teams
  • Customer Service Achievements
  • Customer Service Departments
  • New Products & Services
  • Solution Providers
  • and More

See all sales and customer service awards categories here.

Don't hesitate to contact us with your questions about how to participate in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Tags: customer service awards, customer service excellence, sales awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service, best sales practices

3 Tips on Best Customer Service Practices, From a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Jul 05, 2012 @ 10:17 AM

Ian Semple is Head of Customer Experience for telecommunications giant Everything Everywhere in the United Kingdom, and Chair of the final judging committee for the support awards categories in The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (The final entry deadline for the 2012 IBAs has been extended to July 18. Get your entry kit today.) Here Ian shares three tips for best customer service practices.Ian Semple

What are your top 3 tips for companies aiming to provide award-winning customer service and support?

1. Plan Ahead: The biggest challenge facing support and customer services in the mobile telecommunications industry today is the increasing complexity of the product. Three to four years ago, the market was fairly stable, but in the past two years ownership of smartphones has exploded.  With that explosion has come increasingly complex technology coupled with higher customer expectation.

Smartphone products are not easy to set up, and customers often struggle with the technology. As a result, the number of calls for technical support has at least tripled, and that in turn has brought support costs under immense pressure. 

At Everything Everywhere we introduced a new work model for our support staff to ensure our cost model remained roughly the same while keeping customer satisfaction high. Our staff had previously been multi-skilled, but we were able to plan ahead and change our training strategy to specialization.  This new work model is able to handle the growing customer demand while ensuring costs are stabilized. 

Technology, however, waits for no man, and with 4G networks, tethering of different devices, etc., we are being kept on our toes!

2. Improve the Business Model: As with most service industries, the majority of calls that we handle are either an account query (billing for mobile telecommunications can be highly complex) or a technical query. Dealing with mergers and acquisitions is also something that affects many businesses.  At Everything Everywhere we took the best practices of both Orange and T-Mobile, and we were able to learn and grow. We were able to improve our business model—the hardware didn’t change, but the business processes did—and create an award-winning support team.

3. Always Keep an Eye on the Competition: In customer service and support you really need to know what other companies might be doing better than you. There are different industry regulatory bodies—such as OfCom for the communications industry in the U.K.—that provide information for different national markets, while JD Power provides useful industry information globally. 

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The fact that mobile data will shortly replace landlines for communication around the world. Everyone is going to need high-speed data. With the advent of 4G connectivity, more machines will be talking to each other: in cars, in the home, in industry. Mobile telephony will create a whole new infrastructure.  We are already looking at making payments using mobile devices instead of credit cards or cash. The expansion of mobile technology into all areas of our lives will most certainly add to the complexity of customer service in the mobile telecommunications industry, and I’m already working on ways to support these changes. 

What is your favorite app?
I’d love to have a crystal ball app, but as a guitar player, my current favorite is Songsterr.  It’s a kind of self-help guitar instructor that shows the fingering. I learnt “Twist & Shout” in under 5 minutes.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Rock star!

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?
Enthusiasm.  Passion.  Looking for opportunities to improve, and for making technical things easier to use.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
For me, it’s the fact that my department has the opportunity to improve the lives of the majority of mobile telephony customers in the UK.  Everything Everywhere currently has 27 million users. The mobile phone is more like a utility and has turned into a tool that people can’t live without.  We have the power to make a significant change for the better.


To learn more about entry details for the 2012 IBAs, support awards categories, and customer service awards categories, visit www.stevieawards.com/iba.

About Ian Semple:
Ian Semple is Head of Customer Experience for Everything Everywhere, the UK’s largest telecommunications provider running two of Britain’s best known brands: Orange, and T-Mobile. His role focuses on customer excellence, ensuring that processes, systems, and knowledge are functionally and operationally of the highest quality, and that sales and service teams can provide the best possible support. Ian has been with Everything Everywhere for five years, joining Orange UK in 2007 to manage its Business Customer Services. In 2009 he moved to head up the Device and Network areas in Service Design. Prior to Everything Everywhere Ian held senior positions in Virgin Media, NTL, and Cable and Wireless, in a variety of operational and change management roles. Ian is based in the North East of England.

About Everything Everywhere:
Everything Everywhere
is the UK’s largest communications company, providing mobile and fixed-broadband communications services to more than 27 million customers through the Orange and T-Mobile brands. Recognized for award-winning customer service, Everything Everywhere employs more than 15,000 people and operates over 720 retail stores across the UK.  For more information, go to http://everythingeverywhere.com/.

Tags: customer service awards, best customer service, support awards, International business awards, Ian Semple, Everything Everywhere, award-winning customer service