Customer Service Awards Blog

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: support awards, business awards, American business awards, stevie awards, Inc., stevie awards for sales and customer service, good customer service, excellent customer service, Jerry Weinberger, Webs, recognition awards, 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, business awards, stevie awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, 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, stevie awards, good customer service, excellent customer service, customer service award

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

How to Enter the World's Top Customer Service Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 @ 04:53 PM

We've published a 13 minute video called How to Enter the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Do you provide excellent customer service?  The video covers the steps you should follow if you're at all interested in winning the top customer service award on the planet.

Entries are now being accepted for the 6th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  You'll find the entry kit online, here.

If you have questions about how to submit nominations after watching the video, write to us at help@stevieawards.com.  We're here for you!

Tags: customer service awards, business awards, stevie awards, call center awards, customer service award

Never Say No: Lessons From a Customer Service Awards Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 @ 10:36 AM

Confero, Inc., of Cary, North Carolina, USA was named Customer Service or Call Center Consulting Practice of the Year in the 2011 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Entries for the 2012 awards are now being accepted.

Elaine BuxtonConfero, Inc. is a national customer experience measurement firm that helps clients provide a service to their customers. Operating throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the firm offers customer service mystery shopping evaluations, customer brand support services, customer satisfaction research, and employee incentive and recognition programs.  Here we look at how they successfully beat the competition and handled the tough conditions of 2009-10.

Never Say No

Confero has a policy of never saying “no” to its clients. People have requested some very short deadlines with seemingly impossible logistics, but Confero knew that in each case the client had a need that absolutely had to be addressed.

Turn-on-a-Dime Projects

Confero is known for its unusually fast, turn-on-a-dime projects. Most competitor companies want 30 to 60 days notice, a substantial setup fee, and multiple meetings in order to accept a project. The Confero team, however, can place a finished project in the field in 30 days or less—sometimes in only 3 to 4 days—which is quite an accomplishment in the industry. 

Because of the economic climate, client companies often would not receive funding for projects until the last minute, but these projects were nonetheless important. By using its ability to get a project into the field quickly, Confero was able to really help these clients.

8,000 Locations in 8 Weeks

With only 10 days’ notice, the Confero team was able to put a year-end program for 8,000 visits into the field last December, managing mystery shop visits to 8,000 locations in eight weeks, with pre-shipped and prepared on-the-spot prizes, which is completely unheard of in the industry. To give more of an idea of the scope of this project, it was carried out across the United States in the middle of one of the worst winters on record.

Census Project Completed in 3 Weeks

In February, just before the start of the U.S. Census, the government contracted with an agency to market the census to underrepresented sections of the population. This agency contacted Confero with just three weeks’ notice to go into independent Hispanic- and Asian-American-owned-and-operated grocery stores to educate the owners about the census and to place marketing materials in the stores to encourage their customers’ census participation. The agency came to Confero after using two other providers who had not been able to complete the project. Confero finished the project for them in the three weeks.

Making the Client Look Good

Confero aims to make its clients look good by ensuring access to the resources needed to scale up or down, depending on the project. Confero’s “Don’t Say No” attitude asks: If we do this project, how exactly can we accomplish it?

Can-do Thinking

The Confero team’s can-do thinking considers business on the table, appreciates that the client needs its services, and then figures out a way to make the project happen. Instead of saying, “Here’s a client with a project need, so can we fit it into the bucket of what we do?” Confero says: “Here’s a client with a project need, and if it’s anywhere near the bucket of what we do, we’ll figure out how to get it done.”

On the Confero team’s winning a Stevie Award earlier this year, the company’s president Elaine Buxton commented: “This award is particularly meaningful to Confero’s customer service team because it recognizes the team’s delivery of quality solutions in 2010, including many that involved quick turnaround times and tough requirements.”

About Elaine Buxton

Confero’s president Elaine Buxton earned a B.S. from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MBA from Meredith College, which named her one of its top 100 graduates. She has been recognized among the top 25 businesswomen by Triangle Business Journal, named as a Woman Extraordinaire honoree, and honored by Enterprising Women magazine.  Elaine and the Confero team ranked on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list and at No. 51 on the Top 100 North Carolina Small Businesses list. Elaine is a founding member and immediate past president of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association and serves on the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina board of directors.

About Confero, Inc.

Confero, Inc. is a national customer experience measurement firm dedicated to helping clients provide outstanding service to their customers. The firm offers customer service mystery shopping evaluations, customer brand support services, customer satisfaction research, and employee incentive and recognition programs. For more information, call (800) 326-3880 or visit http://www.conferoinc.com.

Tags: customer service awards, stevie awards, call center awards, customer service award, Elaine Buxton, Confero

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

Q&A with Ron Essiq, Customer Service Awards Judge

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 @ 02:49 PM

Ron Essig is VP, Global Owner Products and Services, Marriott Vacation Club International, and member of the Board of Judges of the 2011 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, which recently announced the Finalists in its 5th annual competition.

Ron EssigWhat item of news recently caught your eye and why?
I followed with interest all of the legislation that was approved in Washington, D.C. during the recent “lame duck” session of the U.S. Congress.  I find it amazing that people can accomplish many things when they put their minds to it.

What New Year’s resolution have you made and why? 
Stay focused on what is truly important: Family.

What book are you currently reading?
It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins.

What was the last movie you saw, and would you recommend it?
The Fighter.It was both a motivational and a feel-good movie—just the kind of movie we were in the mood for when we went to see it.

What is your favorite sport or hobby?
Following my son’s interests of baseball and music, and hiking in the mountains with my two Siberian Huskies.

Who (apart from close family) is your favorite living person?
While I can’t say he is my favorite person—I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting him—I really admire the work done by John Wood, founder of Room to Read, a nonprofit organization that has helped to educate over four million children around the world.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I would be involved in some sort of nonprofit organization that could help give opportunities through mentoring to young adults and could help open doors into business and careers for the less fortunate.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?    
Honesty, creativity, and drive.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work?
Apathy.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
Working with a team of professional associates who are genuinely focused every day on delivering customer service excellence and the awesome experiences that make vacation dreams come true.

What do you consider has been your greatest achievement in business?
Being able to learn and grow in a variety of positions over 25 years with one incredible company.

What advice or useful tip would you give to someone who is just starting out in business?
Learn from the ground up, and don’t ever forget where you came from.

About Ron Essig
Ron Essig is the vice president, Global Owner Products and Services, for Marriott Vacation Club International. As a member of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service Board of Judges he will be helping select the customer service award winners in the 2011 competition. Essig is a 24-year Marriott veteran, and began his career as a Management Trainee at the Chicago Downtown Marriott Hotel.

About Marriott Vacation Club International
As the interval ownership division of Marriott International, Inc., Marriott Vacation Club International is a premier provider of vacation and leisure experiences for more than 400,000 Owners and Members. Since entering the timeshare industry in 1984, Marriott has earned its position as a leader and innovator in vacation and fractional ownership products worldwide. The company has since segmented the industry to offer distinct vacation and real estate offerings, each based on the unique needs and desires of customers. The brands are: Marriott Vacation Club, Grand Residences by Marriott, and The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, as well as select whole ownership developments. For information visit www.marriottvacationclub.com or www.ritzcarltondestinationclub.com.

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

Why MVCI Won a Call Center Award in the 2010 Stevies

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 @ 04:13 PM

With December 31 looming as the final entry deadline for the 2011 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, we take a look back of one of the 2010-winning entries.  Marriott Vacation Club International, based in Orlando, Florida, has been a leader in the timeshare industry for more than 25 years.  MVCI won won of the customer service awards, for Contact Center of the Year (Up to 100 Seats), and here's their Stevie Award-winning nomination, entitled :Marriott Vacation Club International Owner Services - Making Vacation Dreams Come True!"

At MVCI Owner Services, the term “Spirit to Serve” reflects our genuine desire
to provide the highest standards of service to almost 400,000 timeshare Owners
representing more than half-a-million weeks.; It’s a philosophy we inherited
from our namesake and founder—Bill Marriott, Sr.—who believed that our
company’s success depends on our ability to understand our Customers and
exceed their expectations.;

Whether planning a perfect vacation or helping an Owner keep their maintenance
fee and loan accounts on track, each interaction between an MVCI Owner
Services Associate and our Owners is supported by this deep-routed Spirit to
Serve philosophy.; This standard operating procedure distinguishes us from
every other brand in the timeshare industry and enables us to establish and
maintain unforgettable relationships that last a lifetime.
;
2009 Year-to-Date Successes

MVCI Owner Services main call center is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and
employs almost 500 associates.; Examples of 2009 year-to-date successes
include:

MVCI Timeshare Owners and Weeks;391,217 Owners ¦ 527,231 Weeks
MVCI Owner Services Associates in Salt Lake City, Utah; 481
Overall MVCI Timeshare Owner Satisfaction; 93.6% out of 100%
Phone Calls Handled; Almost 1 million
Average Speed of Answer; 36 seconds
Marriott Hotel Reservations Made; 72,122(over and above timeshare reservations)
Marriott Hotel reservations revenue generated from MVCI Owner Services; $8.3M
New Timeshare sales generated from MVCI Owner Services;;;;;; $2.6 million
Associate Engagement Survey results administered by the Gallup Organization
 4.67% out of 5.0% (Considered World-class)
Turnover Rate;19% compared to 65% industry standard

Read the rest of this article...

Tags: customer service awards, business awards, stevie awards, sales awards, contact center awards, call center award, marriott vacation club, mvci