Customer Service Awards Blog

4 Ways a Stevie® Awards Winner Improved Customer Service Experience

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 @ 05:46 PM

Emma, Inc., in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, won the Gold Stevie® Award for Customer Service Department of the Year in the customer service awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A. (The entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs is March 27, request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here we look at what steps they took to improve an already great experience for their customers and clients.

Kyle Floyd, Customer Support Lead, Emma, Inc.Providing friendly, expert, and entirely non-robot-like customer service is a cornerstone of the Emma experience, but nonetheless, last year this email marketing services agency turned its customer service process on its head (gently, of course) and examined it from every angle to see if it could be improved. 

"Our team isn't afraid to try a new approach or change an internal process if it means a better experience for the customer," commented Kyle Floyd, leader of the Emma customer support department.

The agency took a simple approach: to change what didn’t feel Emma-worthy and to build on what did.  Here are the improvements that were made to the customer service process:

1. Creating "Hosts" to Welcome New customers.
Consultative sales set the tone for a new customer's experience, so Emma analyzed the customer's next steps immediately after opening an account.  What they found provided an opportunity to enhance the personalized experience for the customer. Emma now provides an individual to act as a host and reach out proactively to new customers in order to guide them.  The host helps new customers to work with Emma’s designers and to customize their account so they can be set up for email marketing success.

2. Launching an Emma Concierge Program for VIP Clients.
Emma attracts customers who like a strategic approach to email: the agency recommends a targeted, personalized approach, and provides access to in-house email strategy experts.  Emma recognizes the unique needs of its agency clients, and especially clients with well-developed marketing plans.  For these clients, email is just part of an overall brand strategy.   In addition to creating fast-tracked account support for these customers, Emma has established a concierge program that provides small teams of email experts to help those key accounts reach their business goals.

3. Improving the Emma Phone System Experience
Emma customers love to call the agency. They appreciate the minimal phone tree, and they know the person who answers their call is empowered to solve problems, answer questions, and even to anticipate those questions. But as the company grew, the phone system wasn’t keeping up. Clients were being prompted to leave a message if the customer support team was already on calls.

When the Emma’s customer support department put themselves in their customers’ shoes (ballet flats and cowboy boots, typically) they recognized that customers should have the option to wait on the line for support. Now Emma’s phone system provides that option, and the agency experiences fewer missed calls. At the same time, Emma is proud to sustain a 90% answer rate.

"We're the team that's most in step with the day-to-day experience of Emma's customers, and we don't take that responsibility lightly,” added Kyle. “I love that we really do take customer feedback to heart and use it to drive Emma forward."

4. Launching the "Emma Moments" Initiative
Emma has always loved finding ways to celebrate its customers, and took an extra step with a program called Emma Moments. The agency has a tradition of giving fellow staffers "kickass cards"—gift cards with a thoughtful note, enclosed in a blue envelope. Getting a blue envelope is something special for the Emma staff, and the agency decided to pass that feeling along to its customers.

The agency now sends handwritten notes, t-shirts, and "medals of awesomeness" to unsuspecting customers who excel in their field, are doing some good in their community, or have carried out a successful email campaign. To date, the agency has logged over 800 Emma Moments.

"I've never worked with a more talented and caring group of people than the team here at Emma," said Kyle. “I’m delighted that their hard work and dedication has been recognized with a Gold Stevie.”

About Kyle Floyd:
Customer Support Lead Kyle Floyd manages Emma’s support team, overseeing efforts to provide customers with a consistent, Emma-worthy experience. Supervising a team of 12 who power Emma’s support lines, Kyle directs strategy, training, and internal development resources. Kyle has worked at Emma for two (glorious) years. Before joining the agency, he was a Senior Shareholder Account Representative at American Funds. 

Kyle received his Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Belmont University. 

About Emma, Inc.:
Emma is an email marketing service that helps small and midsize companies market and communicate in style. Founded in 2003, Emma makes it easy to create attractive email campaigns, send to large opt-in audiences and track the response in real time. Based in Nashville, with offices in Portland, Denver, Austin and New York, Emma’s 100+ employees serve more than 30,000 organizations worldwide.


Tags: good customer service, American business awards, stevie awards, customer service department of the year, customer service awards, Emma Inc.

3 Customer Service Awards Categories in The 2012 IBAs

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 @ 09:51 AM

There are three customer service awards categories in The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition, to help you showcase your organization's good customer service. (The entry deadline for the 2012 IBAs is 16 May. All organizations and individuals worldwide may submit nominations, request your entry kit here.)

Our customer service award categories include: International Business Awards

Information to be submitted online for entries in these categories include:

  • An essay of up to 500 words describing the nominee's accomplishments since January 1 2011,
  • A biography of the nominee or the leader of the nominated department or team of up to 100 words, and
  • 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.

The 8th Annual International Business Awards were presented in October 2011 in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. 2011 honorees for excellent customer service included:  

2012 honorees will be celebrated at the 9th annual awards banquet on Monday, 15 October in Seoul, South Korea.

How will you highlight your organization's best customer service in the 2012 IBAs?

Tags: customer service awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, customer service award, business awards, best customer service, International business awards

4 Tips for Winning Customer Service Awards in The 2012 ABAs

Posted by Liz Dean on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 @ 11:16 AM

The entry deadline for The 10th Annual American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A., is April 25, 2012, and we want to help you highlight your organization's good customer service. If you haven't received an entry kit yet, you can request your entry kit here.

To make the most out of your customer service awards entries, we suggest the following four tips:

1. Review the business awards categories.
There are three customer service award categories:

  1. Customer Service Department of the YearThe American Business Awards
  2. Customer Service Team of the Year
  3. Customer Service Executive of the Year

2. Review the entry submission criteria.
Showcase your organization's excellent customer service by including all of the required information in your submissions. You can review all entry requirements here.

3. Watch our video, How to Enter The 2012 American Business Awards.
Get step-by-step instruction on how to submit your 2012 entries.

4. Contact us!
We are happy to answer any last minute questions you may have. Contact us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703 547 8389 and we'll help direct you to categories that are right for your organization.

How will you recognizes your organization's best customer service practices in the 2012 ABAs?

Tags: customer service awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, customer service award, business awards, American business awards, best customer service

3 Tips on How to Attract and Retain Customers, From a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Fri, Apr 06, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

Jerry Weinberger, Senior Director of Customer Service and Retention at Webs, Inc., is Chair of the final judging committee for the support awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A.(The final entry deadline for 2012 ABAs is April 25; request your entry kit today.) Here Jerry shares three ways businesses can attract and retain new customers through good customer service.

What are your top 3 tips to small businesses and entrepreneurs on how to attract and retain new customers through excellent customer serviceJerry Weinberger

  1. Treat customers right. 
    Communicate with customers the way you would with a friend. Use conversational language in both verbal and written communications with them. Customers aren’t impressed by “corporate speak” anymore, and they don’t understand half of it anyway. Just tell it like it is, and have fun with your communication when you can. Customers LOVE it.
  2. Listen to your customers, constantly. 
    Customers will always tell you what they want. If you decide what the customers want without talking to them, you’ll be wrong.
  3. Hire the personality and values, not the skills. 
    Don’t hire anyone for your Customer Center who doesn’t genuinely care about taking care of customers, or who finds it difficult to smile. Empathy, passion, understanding … call it what you will, it’s either there or it isn’t. You can teach someone about procedures, guidelines, workflows, systems, or about a new product, but you can’t teach someone how to care.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why? 
I came across two different articles in the past month that highlighted the fact that customer satisfaction isn’t the right metric to measure anymore. I’ve always had the drive for high customer satisfaction levels running through my veins, so I was more than a bit shocked to see those words in print. According to these articles, the focus should instead be on loyalty, such as in the Net Promoter Score.  Definitely something to think about!

Do you have a favorite app or blog?
MakeUseOf.  It’s a constant learning experience for me.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Sports psychologist.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates? 
Integrity, honesty, and being passionate about customers.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning? 
The opportunity to exceed someone’s expectations each and every day. 

About American Business Awards Support Award Categories:
The ABA support categories highlight contributions made by support staffers through recognition awards. These categories recognize all administrative support including secretary of the year, production support, security, maintenance, and research members.

About Jerry Weinberger:
Jerry Weinberger joined Webs in 2010 and is currently responsible for Customer Service/Support and Retention for their 50 million customers. For over 20 years, Jerry has been responsible for leading Customer Care organizations. He has run single or multi-site Care operations for such powerhouse companies as Federal Express, MCI, and Fleet Bank. During his tenure with those companies, his leadership resulted in sustained service levels and customer satisfaction ratings that were among the best in the industry. Since joining Webs, Jerry’s Customer Support team has won two Stevie® Awards: one for Support Team of the Year in The 2011 American Business Awards, and the second for Customer Service Management Team of the Year in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.
 
About Webs, Inc.:
Webs is the world’s most popular do-it-yourself solution to creating a free website, having served over 40 million users. Webs enables small businesses and entrepreneurs to easily make a great-looking website and project a professional image. The Webs family of products--including Webs, ContactMe, and Pagemodo--provides small businesses with simple and cost-effective ways to launch and grow their companies across web, social, and mobile platforms. Founded in 2001 by the Mokhtarzada brothers, Webs is funded by Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Columbia Capital. For more information, visit www.webs.com.

Tags: good customer service, excellent customer service, business awards, American business awards, stevie awards, Jerry Weinberger, Webs, Inc., support awards, recognition awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service, customer service management team of the year, secretary of the year, support team of the year

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

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 @ 10:07 AM

People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite Customer ServiceMore than 250,000 votes were cast in the 2012 People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite Customer Service, part of the 6th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world’s top honors for contact center, customer service, and sales professionals. 

This worldwide public vote was conducted between January 26 and February 10, 2012, with the highest number of votes deciding the winners in 11 categories.  The winning companies, 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: TATA Motors

-      All Other Industries: eCornell

-      Computer Hardware: Apple Inc./Apple Stores

-      Computer Services: Rosetta Stone

-      Computer Software: Photodex

-      Financial Services: SquareTrade

-      Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & Related Industries: PetRays

-      Leisure & Tourism: IHG

-      Public Services & Education: Finding Freedom Team

-      Retail: Amazon.com

-      Telecommunications: Vodafone Turkey

Nicknamed the Stevie® for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards will be presented to honorees at the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards banquet on Monday, February 27 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Tickets for the event are now on sale.  More than 300 executives from around the world are expected to attend.

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.

About The Stevie Awards

Stevie Awards are conferred in four programs: The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  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 6th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include American Support, Coloredge Los Angeles * New York, Competence Call Center, SDL and ValueSelling Associates.

Tags: customer service awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, stevie awards, business awards, people's choice awards

How to Make Your Mark in Customer Service, From Sales & Customer Service Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 @ 01:47 PM

Cameron Hurst, Vice President of Targeted Solutions at Assurant is Chair of the final judging committee of  the Customer Service & Call Center Achievement categories for The 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. (The final entry deadline is January 18th; request your entry kit here and submit your entries before next Thursday.)

We asked Cameron for some advice on how to improve customer service.

What are your top 3 tips on how to make your mark in Customer Service?

  1. Be innovative!Cameron Hurst
    Come up with a game-changing way to deliver stellar service to your customer that differentiates you from the competition. All too often, customers have to repeat themselves, from the interactive voice response (IVR) to the agent. That negatively impacts customer satisfaction.
  2. Don’t chase offshore cost savings.
    Offshore has its place, but a good customer experience is often about the customer service representative (CSR) resonating with the caller. I have moved many jobs offshore for previous employers, but at times when you need to create affinity on calls, you have to find elements in the CSRs’ and the customers’ backgrounds that drive commonality. And often those elements are shared demographics or cultural backgrounds. Superior customer service can be achieved onshore or offshore, but it’s important to think about the context.
  3. Be willing to let go of old-school metrics like average handle time (AHT), average speed of answer (ASA), and even service levels.
    Motivate your CSRs to retain, sell, collect, etc., for the RIGHT reasons versus cranking through dialer lists, aiming for the most saves per day, or selling the highest dollars for the week. Retaining a customer by down-selling him to a product that works better for him takes time on the call. But the outcome can be a customer who stays with you for five more years versus a customer that calls back in the next bill cycle to start the process over again. 

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
I was amused and intrigued by a story on the NBC Nightly News the other night. This dog (I think it was a golden retriever) was listening to his owner play guitar. The dog had this big grin on his face and his head was clearly moving to the music. Each time the music stopped, the dog’s countenance turned to an obvious frown—then right back to a smile and a head-bob when the music started again. It was an immediate YouTube sensation.

What is your favorite sport or hobby?
Sport? Trying to stay current on technology. Hobby? Trying to stay current on technology. Who has the time to do anything else?

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I always wanted to be a rock god. I wonder if Eddie Van Halen offers guitar lessons?

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?
Candor, consistency, and professionalism. Tell me the truth…even when it’s uncomfortable—for me or for you. Let your reactions be predictable. Ivan the Terrible syndrome is no way to lead, in my opinion. Do what you say you will do. Do your best and pay attention to details. Show professionalism in your written and spoken words. Meet deadlines and work hard.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I work for a fantastic company that values what I think about issues that affect our business and gives me the latitude to explore complex subjects. I am empowered to make decisions and influence the direction of our company. I work for a senior leadership that is transparent, not even remotely elitist, and very open to new ideas—and that actively seeks innovation from employees. Who wouldn’t be jazzed to go to work every day in this kind of environment?

About Cameron Hurst:
As Vice President of Targeted Solutions at Assurant, Cameron leads all aspects of development and operations of a patented, next generation, analytics-based, contact routing technology for IBM commercial distribution. Previously, Cameron was Head of Delivery at the HSBC Global Technology Center in Pune, India, as well as served as Senior Vice President and Group Head of Contact Center Technology at HSBC in Sheffield, England. Cameron started his career in 1984 as an officer in the USAF, based at the Pentagon in Washington, DC and spent the 1990s as founder of Softgen International, a global Contact Center software company based in Dallas, Texas. With broad industry coverage of his achievements, Cameron is considered one of the industry's leading experts in the field of contact technology.

About Assurant:
Assurant is a provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets. Its four key businesses—Assurant Solutions, Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health, and Assurant Employee Benefits—partner with clients who are leaders in their industries and build leadership positions in a number of specialty insurance market segments worldwide.  Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AIZ. Assurant has approximately $27 billion in assets and $8 billion in annual revenue.  For more information go to: www.assurant.com.

Tags: customer service awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, customer service award, stevie awards

4 Customer Service Satisfaction Tips, From Customer Service Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Jan 03, 2012 @ 06:11 PM

Carita Vallinkoski, Senior Executive-Expansion Management at Competence Call Center AG in Vienna, Austria is Chair of the final judging committee of the Customer Service & Contact Center Team categories in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. (The final entry deadline for the awards is January 18.)

We asked Carita what it takes to create a successful customer service or call center team.

What are your top tips on how to create a successful customer service or call center team?

My years of experience as a Contact Center leader, building up Call Centers, and leading large teams of people, have taught me that the employees are the main asset in a company, so my top tips are:

  1. Carita VallinkoskiTreat every human being with respect and empathy
    Be it employees or customers.
  2. Always give your team a vision.
    Your people need to know whom to follow, what direction to take, and for what purpose. Make sure this information is clear and easy to understand.
  3. Support and motivate your team 
    Investing your time, energy, and love will help your people in providing excellent customer service because they will feel that you care about them and that you take them seriously.
  4. Care about your team and your team will care of your customers
    Always remember that your employees are the entrepreneurs in your company.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The passing away of Steve Jobs touched me very deeply.  He was a great person, and I remembered some of the sayings from his Commencement Speech in 2005:  “We are here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” and “… the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it.“

His autobiography (I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words) motivates, inspires, and helps me because his thoughts and views resonate with me.  For example: “Sometimes the things that sound so simple are the most important and difficult ones in life, like: do what you love.” I have the book on the dresser opposite my bed and whenever I catch a glimpse of Steve’s kind face it helps me to contemplate these views and to motivate me. He changed all our lives and I thank him for that every second of the day.

What is your favorite sport or hobby?
In my spare time I love to be outdoors, to walk my dog, and to watch and interact with animals. I also love talking to people from all over the world, to encounter new cultures, and to get to know different views and opinions. I´m always keen to share new ideas, to broaden my mind, and to try to become a better person. I think about life a great deal: about helping people, animals, and the planet—I still have to find a way to do that!

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I would love to either take care of animals or to be an aid worker with Caritas or Médecins Sans Frontières.  I wish I had the strength, backbone, character, and energy that it takes to be an activist for some good cause protecting children, animals, or nature. I would love to fight unfairness everywhere in order to make the world a better place.

Instead, I channel this energy into what I do in my work life by helping employees and customers.  Thomas Kloibhofer, our CEO and founder, taught me from my first days at CCC that it is “always about helping.” The most satisfying thing about this work is to be able to say: “Today I helped hundreds of customers to have one challenge less and to be happier.” That is a great feeling.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?
Integrity, honesty, humor, values, ethics, and good morals. Plus a good common vision and the same understanding of partnership.  The sense of being a unit, the sense of togetherness, and of “having each other’s back”—always.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
What keeps me inspired is the vision of helping customers at the end of the line and of developing our employees. I want to be there for the employee on the one side and for our company on the other, and to bring these two worlds together.  And finally, I want to bring in the customers and their interests.

I never forget where I came from: I was a customer service rep and sales agent and I know how tough and challenging this life can be. My aim is to develop an even better service understanding and environment for everyone. My wishes are to continue watching our company grow and our people developing—and to grow old as part of this company.

About Carita Vallinkoski
Carita Vallinkoski has held the position of Expansion Manager at Competence Call Center (CCC) since 2007 and has been responsible for the continuous development of existing CCC locations, the evaluation of potential markets, and the set-up of new CCC operations. During her time as call center manager, she had overall responsibility for personnel, commerce, and technology, and the management of more than 600 employees.

Carita was awarded the CAt-Award for Call Center Manager of the Year at CallCenterWorld® in 2001; and received the award for Best Contact Center Leader in the world at the 2006 Contact Center World Conference in Las Vegas for her management services in the call center business and for her strategic leadership of employees. Her seventeen years of call center experience in the areas of outsourcing, consulting, training, call center set-up, implementation, and employee motivation make her a leading expert in the call center and customer care industry in Europe.

About CCC
Competence Call Center is one of Europe’s leading call centers.At ten locations in seven countries, more than 3,000 service professionals provide top quality international call center services. CCC is a financially strong, rapidly expanding company with a clear focus on quality.  For more information, go to www.yourccc.com.

Q&A with Carita Vallinkoski, Customer Service Awards Committee Chair Judge

Tags: customer service awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, stevie awards, customer service award

5 Categories in Sales & Customer Service Awards to Honor Individuals

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:46 PM

Recognize your company’s excellent customer service and call center individuals by submitting entries in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, which recognizes customer service excellence. (Request your entry kit and it will be emailed to you right away.  The final entry deadline is January 18.) 

Sales & Customer Service Call for EntriesNominate your organization's top performers in the following Customer Service Awards categories:

  1. Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year
    Recognizing the achievements of customer service professionals who directly engage customers.
  2. Young Customer Service Professional of the Year
    Recognizing the achievements of customer service professionals under the age of 30.
  3. Customer Service Manager of the Year
    Recognizing the achievements of customer service managers and service professionals with a managerial role at organizations of any size, of any type.
  4. Customer Service Leader of the Year
    Recognizing the achievements of senior customer service and call center executives. 
  5. Customer Service Contact Center Professional of the Year
    Recognizing the achievements of non-executive professionals who work in a call or contact center.

Looking for more ways to showcase your organization’s sales & customer service excellence? See all of the Sales & Customer Service categories here.

Need help choosing the best category? Let us help you. Contact us at help@stevieawards.com.

How has your company elevated your customer service performance? 

Tags: customer service awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, stevie awards, best customer service

Customer Service Awards Judges in The 2011 IBAs

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 @ 05:08 PM

We've been trumpeting the more than 200 professionals worldwide who participated in judging of The 2011 (8th Annual) International Business Awards, and today we cite the contributions of those who judged the customer service awards categories.

The IBAs, if you're not familiar with them, are the world's top honors for business professionals, with categories that recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace.  All organizations worldwide may submit entries.  This year's IBA honorees hail from more than 40 nations.  Honorees were announced last month, and will be celebrated on October 11 during gala ceremonies in Abu Dhabi, UAE. 

The final judging committee for the customer service categories, whose average scores determined this year's honorees, included

Michaela Aguilar, ICT Program Leader, Parramatta City Council, Parammata, NSW Australia
Don Batting, Senior Consultant, Enterprise Support Services, Ernst & Young, New York, NY USA
Clare Buchanan, Head of Customer Service USA, DHL Express, Tempe, AZ USA
Karen McFadzen, VP Technical Services, APAC, Japan & Greater China, Cisco Systems, Chatswood, NSW Australia
Charles (Chick) Olsson, BEc, Acc, MAICD, Managing Director, Four Season Company Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW Australia
Melanie Pope, Director, Australian Paramedic Support Foundation, Aspley, Australia
Stormy Simon, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience, Overstock.com, Salt Lake City, UT USA
Jan Willem Strijker, Owner/Director, Brantas International Technology Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand
Julie Toma, President, Advenio Group, East Killara, NSW Australia

Sue SavageThe committee was chaired and formed by Susan Savage, General Manager, MICROS Fidelio Australia, South Turramurra, Australia

The categories Sue and her committee judged included

  • Customer Service Department of the Year
  • Customer Service Team of the Year
  • Customer Service Executive of the Year

The honorees they chose in these categories include Etisalat, Mafraq Hospital/Abu Dhabi, and Haktan Yasar Kiliç of Turk Telekom.  See the full list of honorees here.

The next opportunity for customer service and call center professionals to be honored in a Stevie Awards competition is in the 6th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, which is now accepting entries.  These awards feature more than 90 categories focused exclusively on customer service, call center, and sales achievements.

Tags: customer service awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, stevie awards, International business awards, IBAs

3 Tips on How to Be Successful in Customer Service: Q&A with Art Gairo

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Apr 04, 2011 @ 10:38 AM

  

With the final entry deadline for The 2011 American Business Awards coming up on April 27, we asked Art Gairo, Senior Vice President for Broadview Networks, for his top tips about what makes for great customer service.  Art will chair and form the final judging committee for the customer service awards categories of the 2011 ABAs.

Art GairoWhat are your top 3 tips on how to be successful in customer service?

  1. Listen to your customers’ feedback and use their suggestions to improve—the customer does indeed know what’s best!
  2. A company is only as good as its employees, so it’s important to imbue your employees with a sense of purpose and make sure that they both understand and believe in their mission. Having talented and engaged employees can make all the difference in providing excellent customer service. 
  3. Never be satisfied in the pursuit of customer service objectives—go over and above what’s required. Whether it’s call-center service levels, mean time to repair, or overall customer satisfaction, always press to be better, faster, and stronger than your competitor, and strive to get it right for the customer as much as possible.  

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
I keep seeing TV commercials where people turn to “the cloud” to accomplish something, whether it be for some type of collaborative work, or for family picture albums, etc. This is the new mantra for accessing software and applications remotely, and it just so happens it aligns very nicely with the new line of Cloud Computing products and services that Broadview is rolling out to small- and medium-sized businesses. So all things “cloud” have been resonating with me lately.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a doctor, particularly a neurologist. I’ve always been fascinated by the field of medicine.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates? Trust and respect are a given, but I would add that I also value people who are positive thinkers and who bring innovative ideas to the table. These are the people who help me to step outside the everyday comfort zone and to grow as a teammate and colleague.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work? Procrastination ranks right up there as one of the least desirable habits to have—especially at work. Every day I come into the office and look directly at a sign on my desk that says: “Be Proactive!”

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I think it’s important to like what you are doing, and to be challenged by your job every day. If you don’t love what you do, it’s going to be difficult to be really successful at it!  I begin every morning with a game plan for the day.  As I move through the day, I check off my completed tasks, while also adding short- and long-term tasks to the list.  This gives me a real sense of accomplishment about what I do.

About Art Gairo
Art Gairo is the senior vice president of Operations for Broadview Networks, with responsibility for all Service, Repair, and Care Centers; the Enterprise Customer Support Division; Field Operations; and the Agent and Wholesale Support Divisions.  Gairo has more than 18 years of leadership experience in operations management in the telecommunications industry. He joined Broadview Networks as a vice president of Customer Operations (previously ATX Communications) in May 2004.  Prior to that, Gairo served as vice president of Customer Operations for Allegiance Teleco, now part of XO Communications.  Before that, Gairo worked as Team Leader of Field Engineering for MCI Communications.

About Broadview Networks
Broadview Networks is a network-based business-communications provider serving customers nationwide. It provides the total solution for business communications, including all distance-voice communications, premises-based and patented hosted VoIP systems and data services encompassing VPN- and MPLS-enabled applications, traditional telephone hardware, high-speed Internet services, a full suite of managed services, and a range of professional services. Broadview also provides an innovative portfolio of bundled, hosted IP phone and cloud computing services designed to meet the unique application requirements of diverse workforce groups. Its customers benefit from award-winning customer service, including a web-based account-management tool and a primary point-of-contact for real-time, personal customer care.

Broadview is a control investment of MCG Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: MCGC). Its largest investors are MCG Capital, Baker Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

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