Customer Service Awards Blog

The Future of Postal Services: Q&A with Director, Dawn Stevenson

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 @ 12:06 PM

Dawn Stevenson, director of customer service at in Los Angeles, California, will Chair the Committee for Final Judging Committee of the customer service awards categories and the support awards categories in The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the USA. (April 24 is the final entry deadline for this year’s competition. If you haven’t already done so, you can request an entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

We asked Dawn about the role of postal services in business, and got an enthusiastic response.

Dawn Stevenson, Manager, Customer Retention, Customer Service & Inside Sales, Stamps.comAs senior director of customer service at, what thoughts do you have on the future of postal services for businesses, and how will your department be able to help?

Great question!  The future of postage services for businesses is incredibly bright.  At we offer an easy-to-use solution for small business, enterprise, and high-volume shippers that allows our customers to:

  1. Control and manage their postage needs right from their office with their PC and printer;
  2. Save time and money by avoiding trips to the post office;
  3. Avoid paying those overpriced and expensive meter fees; and
  4. Receive discounts on mail classes that they can’t receive at the post office.

Our Customer Care teams are here to help customers optimize their savings and efficiencies by educating them on how to use all of the time- and money-saving features in our award-winning software; and we have a highly trained professional team of mailing and shipping consultants who are focused on helping our customers win in the postage arena.

It’s an exciting time to be in this industry and to be able to support America’s small businesses.  We’re proud to play a part in making it easier, better, and more affordable for our customers to mail and ship their products all around the globe; and we’re grateful to have an amazing partner in the USPS, the best solution for mailing and shipping needs. 

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The USPS announcement in February that it was going to cease Saturday first-class mail delivery in August was big news in our industry. The USPS said it would continue to deliver packages, mail-order medicine, and express mail on Saturday, but not letters, bills, cards, and catalogs.  This would allow for significant savings for the USPS and it sounded like they would be able to do it without layoffs.  Generally speaking, Saturday delivery of first-class mail doesn’t seem to be a critical service component to our customers so, from what I could see, it seemed like a smart move.  But it was recently announced that Saturday first-class mail delivery would continue until "legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule.”

What is your favorite business app?
I have two.  I use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals in my industry, ask questions, get insights, read interesting articles, and source folks to hire for my team. Plus I love the opportunity to endorse my colleagues’ skills and talents.  It’s a great business tool.

We began using Yammer, a social networking tool for enterprises, in October 2012.  It’s basically Facebook for your company, and I’ve just been blown away by the positive impact it’s had on our organization. Folks are collaborating, communicating, sharing information, building community, and connecting.  It’s truly been an amazing experiment and we’re just beginning.  It’s a business tool that has effectively changed our culture. I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the next 6 months as we drive more focus, training, and initiatives around usage. I highly recommend it.

If you were to meet young people starting out in customer service, what career advice would you give them?
First, join SOCAP, the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals. It’s a global community of professionals/experts who work together to educate and collaborate, connecting it’s members with the essential professional tools and networking opportunities to make you and your organization more successful.  I’ve served as a volunteer on the Southwest Regional Chapter board for the past 3 years and it’s been an amazing experience. I’ve met so many incredible colleagues, stretched my comfort zone by speaking at several events, learned invaluable information, and been inspired by key note speakers at both the national and chapter levels. I’ve had many ideas sparked through the networking connections and information sharing amongst peers. It has been an invaluable resource.

Second, this is an AMAZING career that can open up so many opportunities for folks who demonstrate their value by showing up every day engaged, ready, and on top of their game.  (Our front-line team is THE talent pool at, and we take pride in the number of team members we’ve promoted to other teams within the organization.) So do all that you can to grow: Dress for the part and act like you already have it, and people will be knocking down your door to promote you; and find someone who is willing to mentor your professional development. 

Finally, don’t ask for permission: just go for it!  I started my career as a front-line team member, answering phones. On my own time I created the first training manual for the customer care department.  Soon I found myself promoted to Corporate Trainer—and the rest is history!

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
Another great question!  It’s for sure my team that keeps me inspired.  I truly am blessed with THE best team.  I’ve worked hard to build this great team, and they are the ones who make it work, make it rock, motivate me—and keep me on my toes 24/7.  I love learning new things about our industry and finding creative ways to make this rewarding and challenging career even better. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE to push folks beyond their boundaries and inspire them to do great things.  I am always looking for ways to improve our culture and make our company the best company to work for.  It’s my family: I love being here, and my aspiration is that everyone working here feels that way too.

About Dawn Stevenson:
Dawn is a visionary leader with over 18 years of highly successful leadership in retention, Tech support, customer service, inside sales, training, quality assurance, and collections/fraud prevention.  She is committed to manifesting a strong profit while creating an engaged and results-oriented team.  Dawn is a creative and resourceful professional with a proven record of success in assuming increasing levels of responsibility and in improving employee morale, productivity, and profits.  She has worked in various industries including service contract, online media, and postage.  She is passionate about creating an exceptional customer experience through creating an exceptional team member experience.

Dawn serves as VP of Membership on the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Southwest Regional Board.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Illinois University and recently completed a 3-year master's degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. 

About (Nasdaq: STMP) is a leading provider of Internet–based postage services. enables small businesses, enterprises, and consumers to print U.S. Postal Service–approved postage with just a PC, printer, and Internet connection, right from their home or office. The Company targets its services to small businesses and home offices, and currently has PC Postage partnerships with Avery Dennison, Microsoft, HP, Office Depot, the U.S. Postal Service and others.

Tags: support awards, customer service awards, American business awards, Dawn Stevenson,

How to Achieve a 100% Customer Satisfaction Rating, From a Stevie® Awards Winner

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Mar 05, 2013 @ 05:15 PM

EMKAY Inc., of Itasca, Illinois, USA, won the Gold Stevie® Award for Customer Service Team of the Year in the customer service awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards and the Gold Stevie Award for Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. (The entry deadline for The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A., is March 27 - request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away. You can also join the mailing list here for the 2014 sales awards and customer service awards and the entry kit will be emailed to you when entries open this July.) Here we look at how this fleet financing and management company continues to wow its customers.Chris Tepas, Chief Marketing Officer, EMKAY, Inc.

EMKAY is a top ten business-to-business North American finance- and fleet-management service solutions provider. Its front line is the Client Support Services (CSS) team, which provides value-added services daily to over 700 business customers with more than 100,000 vehicles under management. In addition, the customer service department has earned the ASE’s Blue Seal of Excellence Award for seven consecutive years; and for the past three consecutive years, EMKAY’s customer survey has resulted in a 100% customer satisfaction rating.

EMKAY customers recognize this company’s passion to satisfy in an ever-growing do-it-yourself environment. As one customer, Benjamin Moore & Co., stated: “EMKAY consistently addresses our growing needs to make life more productive for the fleet manager and our drivers. Its front-line customer service takes servicing clients seriously.”

The EMKAY Difference
So what is EMKAY’s award-winning CSS team doing to maintain their high standards and keep their customers satisfied?

  1. Saving The Client Money:
    A key element to EMKAY’s success is that its front-line isn’t just reactive, like your average customer service: it’s proactive. Not only does the company answer client requests, but it also looks for ways to save its clients money at every touch point. Each interaction—whether it’s by e-mail, phone, or the industry’s only on-line customer chat—is tracked as a case.

    On every interaction, service personnel answer requests and then focus on how EMKAY can add value through consultative strategies. The result for clients in 2011 was over $21,600,000 in documented savings.

    EMKAY has created unique point-of-purchase controls to save its customers approximately $560 annually per vehicle in maintenance expenses. EMKAY accomplishes this by consulting on every repair visit, tracking negotiated labor times/rates, and auditing every repair purchase order for any unnecessary repairs. The results are often dramatic and are shared in a cost-containment report prepared for each client.

    Customer Service also assists with remarketing off-lease vehicles. A third party, Adesa Analytical, audits EMKAY’s yearly statistics, enabling service personnel to pay close attention to the details involved in each transaction. EMKAY is also the only North American vehicle consignor to communicate electronically the maintenance history on every sold vehicle. The result is a cost saving for EMKAY customers of an average $322 per vehicle.

  2. Transparency:
    EMKAY believes customer service department results should be completely transparent. EMKAY has created a unique 360° view for customers that share specific results, accomplishments, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), metrics, and strategic initiatives specific to each customer. Each custom-built “Fleet Objective Report” shares not just EMKAY’s KPIs, but also how each customer performed versus customized targets and industry benchmarks. Customer Service then includes custom-prepared quarterly recommendations for improvement and cost savings.

    The CSS team’s great care is extended by tracking key metrics across all client interactions, then meeting bi- weekly not just with management, but with the entire CSS Front-Line. The result is that the team’s passion for results is engaged, and the company is able to make constant improvements to its service processes.

    Each front-line rep also receives a monthly scorecard. This acts as a results “playbook” for each individual, and enables Team Leads to meet personally with specialists, review their Key Performance Indicators, and develop individual self-improvement and quality-enhancement strategies.

  3. Walking In The Client’s Shoes
    The CSS team is also proactive with EMKAY’s operating departments to better the overall client experience. With EMKAY’s “Walk-In-Their-Shoes” program, CSS and operating team members interact directly in order to learn from each other, streamline processes, and create shortcuts to enable quicker—or more quality—client responses. By 2011, this initiative had resulted in an increase of 7% in the quality sections of the scorecards.

    Award-winning Results
    EMKAY has helped shift the way that corporate America views fleet management today with a philosophy of providing straightforward, better, and different solutions.  EMKAY has converted the fleet industry from simply leasing vehicles to a true technology- and service-based solution.

    Comments Chris Tepas, Executive Vice President of EMKAY, Inc.: “By internally managing key performance indicators and operational metrics, our focus is now on efficiency solutions and cost savings rather than on problem resolution. EMKAY’s proactive customer service mindset has resulted in a true partnership with our clients, something unique in the fleet world today.”

    He added: “In 2012 we totaled over 65,000 cases and achieved an outstanding 17.2% cases having a cost saving recommendation. The result for our clients was over $28,200,000 in documented savings.”

    About Chris Tepas
    Chris Tepas currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President for EMKAY Inc. Tepas joined EMKAY in 1999 and was promoted to Vice President of Sales in 2003, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2006, and Executive Vice President of Client Services and Marketing in 2009.

    Tepas obtained his degree from Arizona State University and had professional design training at the Art Institute of California—San Francisco.

    About EMKAY:
    is a provider of vehicle financing and management solutions to businesses throughout North America. Founded in 1946, it is the second oldest fleet management company in the nation, and maintains a reputation for operational excellence. As the industry’s only privately held, employee-owned company, EMKAY’s unique ownership enables a special personal pride in the servicing of its customers.

    Tags: customer service awards, American business awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, sales awards, Emkay, Customer Service Team of the Year, Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year, Chris Tepas

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

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

    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

    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

    How a Customer Service Awards Winner IMPACTs Millions of Lives

    Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Feb 07, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

    CGS Administrators, LLC in Nashville, Tennessee USA received a Stevie® Award for Customer Service Department of the Year in the customer service awards categories of The 2011 American Business Awards.  (Entries are now being accepted for the 2012 ABAs. The entry deadline is March 28 - get your entry kit here.) Here we show how this provider of services for Medicare beneficiaries is exceeding goals in customer satisfaction.

    An IMPACTful Provider Contact Center
    CGS has provided services to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) since Medicare began in 1966. CGS Administrators’ core values have enabled its Provider Contact Center (PCC) to positively impact the lives of millions of government health care beneficiaries, providers, and suppliers every day. These core values are:

    • Integrity,
    • Making a Difference,
    • Passion for Excellence,
    • Always Improving,
    • Customer Focus, and
    • Taking Risks.

    These values combine to form the acronym IMPACT. IMPACT is represented in the company’s mission as: “We IMPACT lives”, and in its vision as: “To IMPACT the future of our communities and nation by being the premier administrator of government health care programs.”

    Providing Medicare & Medicaid Services
    In June 2007, CGS was awarded the largest of four Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Medicare Administrative Contracts to provide claims processing, a Provider Customer Service Program (PCSP), and administrative services to more than 80,000 DME suppliers in 17 U.S. states and territories.

    The CGS PCSP is a multi-tiered customer service organization responsible for Congressional inquiries, beneficiary complaint screening, written correspondence, and the Provider Outreach and Abbey DyerEducation (POE) team, which offers providers education and clarification of CMS regulations.

    Exceeding Goals
    Abbey Dyer is the CGS Director in charge of the PCSP, overseeing fewer than 100 employees in the customer service team.  Their role is to ensure that the over 13 million Medicare beneficiaries they serve receive the medical equipment they need;, and that the over 80,000 suppliers of that medical equipment receive payment—all while meeting or exceeding federal performance standards.

     “Our department may be small but it does a terrific job for a very large number of people,” says Dyer. “Recognition by The Stevie Awards is gratifying proof that there is awareness of our hard work beyond the health care industry.”

    The agents in the CGS PCSP customer service team respond to approximately 56,000 customer inquiries per month from Medicare providers. Throughout 2010, including during the Nashville flood in May 2010, this team demonstrated unparalleled customer focus by not just achieving the goals set by CMS, but exceeding them.

    Making an IMPACT on Customers
    The CGS Provider Contact Center was ranked first in Provider Satisfaction in the 2010 CMS Medicare Carrier Provider Satisfaction Survey. The monthly results in Quality Call Monitoring, Direct Call Monitoring, and Quality Written Correspondence Monitoring evidenced exceptional customer service, as shown by the following examples:

    • The CGS PCC team has implemented a concierge level of service to educate CGS customers and reduce excessive inquiries. CGS now designates individual points of contact to customers who routinely land on its “heavy hitter” list.  These designations have successfully helped to reduce call inquiries through effective education and support.
    • A Tracking History & Online Reporting (THOR) system enables the PCC team to track and trend all telephone data, to proactively identify potential operational issues impacting customer satisfaction, and to identify the need for additional external customer education and internal agent training.
    • During 2010, the CGS Provider Outreach and Education team—consisting of just six staff members—conducted 286 webinars and educated 2,719 providers. The team also hosted 32 contractor-sponsored, face-to-face workshops for more than 1,100 participants. The provider satisfaction for these education opportunities in 2010 was a staggering 97.8%.

    About Abbey Dyer
    Abbey Dyer is the DME Provider Customer Service Program Director. She has been with CGS for more than 13 years and in the health care field for 19 years. Abbey is an experienced professional with expertise in government contracting, provider enrollment, customer service, claims, and operations management.  Prior to joining CGS, Abbey worked for a physician in general practice and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. 

    Abbey has a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee. She enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with her camera, then sharing her work on her website and as a member of the Tennessee Art League. 

    About CGS
    CGS Administrators, LLC provides a variety of services for Medicare beneficiaries, health care providers, and medical equipment suppliers in 33 states, and supports the needs of over 16 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. As a Medicare Part A, Part B, Home Health and Hospice, and Durable Medicare Equipment contractor for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CGS processes and pays Medicare claims according to Congressional laws and CMS rules and regulations.  For more information go to

    Tags: customer service awards, business awards, American business awards, stevie award, Abbey Dyer, Medicare, Medicaid, CGS Administrators

    How Automation Improves Customer Service, From an American Business Awards Finalist

    Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 @ 03:53 PM

    Meritus Payment Solutions of Santa Ana, California was named a finalist in the highly competitive New Company of the Year category in The 2011 American Business Awards(Entries for The 2012 American Business Awards are now being accepted- get your entry kit here.  And speaking of customer service, November 18 is the final entry deadline for the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.)

    Here we take a look at how this company is helping small-to-midsized businesses maximize their potential.

    Meritus Payment SolutionsIf small business is the engine to economic growth, then Meritus Payment Solutions is the conductor.  In 2009, Meritus Payment Solutions became operational and was founded on the promise that small-to-mid-sized companies would have a partner that understood their business and their payment-processing needs. 

    Smaller companies are often unaware how much the methods they use for accepting payments can affect their productivity and profitability.  As a full-service payment processor, Meritus puts its promise to see business through the eyes of its clients into action by offering the following customized solutions:

    1. Process Any Payment From Anywhere

      Utilizing proprietary technology, Payment XP allows merchants to process all payments from anywhere in the world on any device (computer, Blackberry, etc.) with Internet access.  Backed by banks such as Wells Fargo©, Royal Bank of Scotland©, and Harris Bank®, Meritus allows businesses to accept all payments including credit card, gift card, check, mobile, and more.  With technology pushing business into new territories, Meritus has created a product that allows companies to conduct business wherever it takes them.  Internet-based payment gateway Payment XP gives merchants the ultimate flexibility for growth.

      2. Utilize A Single-Source Solution for Measuring Business Productivity

        Meritus allows for profit, productivity, and protection within a single point of entry. On-demand reporting gives merchants visionary insight into their business activity and helps them to identify points for strategic growth.  Robust and merchant-defined fraud protection allows merchants to find the balance between protection and profit. Meritus is a single-source solution for business productivity with Innovative features such as the ability to process Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions, the ability to proactively manage chargeback activity, and the ability to create electronic invoices.

        Being able to conduct business within one platform is invaluable.  Not only do businesses have one place to pinpoint success, loss, and potential, but Meritus is strategically positioned to prove its greatest value proposition as a true business partner.  The Meritus First Team supports this initiative.  

        3. Take the Guesswork out of Processing Trends

          The Meritus First Team specializes in supporting clients beyond what merchants have come to expect from typical Merchant Services providers.  The First Team delves into the merchant’s business flow to maximize merchant profits while keeping them safely within processing guidelines.  With highly refined business analytics tools, Meritus First Team takes the guesswork out of a merchant’s processing trends.

          With the consultative client services of the Meritus First Team and the development of proprietary solutions, Meritus empowers businesses to maximize their potential.  The First Team provides answers to merchant questions regarding chargeback ratios, fraud prevention, risk analysis, and trends within their specific industry. The First Team’s goal is to reach out to merchants and provide those answers before they ask.

          Maximizing Its Own Potential

          Today, Meritus is experiencing record growth.  From its first operational day in 2009, Meritus has experienced rapid growth with a 150x increase in processing volume and more than 35x increase in customer base. In 2010, processing volume [repeat] almost tripled from the end of 2009 and the Southern California headquarters doubled their employee headcount.  2011 looks to be equally, if not more promising with processing volume already up more than 20% in the first quarter.

          “We never settle here at Meritus. This attitude pushes us to continue providing pioneering products and unparalleled customer service unknown in the payments industry,” says Alan Kleinman, Principal of Meritus Payment Solutions. “We are grateful for our success and look forward to providing solutions for our merchants’ long-term success and growth.”

          Meritus is looking towards the future by expanding into new sales channels and increasing their number of clients.  But as Meritus grows it stays true to its client-first and technology-driven roots.  Meritus has proven it is a company that can be judged on its own merit.  Meritus is ready to shape the global payment processing industry.


          Meritus Payment Solutions is led by example.  The infectious dedication and  enthusiasm of partners Alan Kleinman and Hiep Tran motivate their team to stay grounded in diligence while keeping future opportunities in mind.  

          With ISO experience—Alan at National Merchant Center and Hiep at Transfirst Merchant Services—both Alan and Hiep were pivotal in growing their respective businesses into billion-dollar empires.  Now, in their entrepreneurial venture together, they have positioned Meritus Payment Solutions to evolve with the industry, grow internationally, and continue to create innovative solutions with the merchant in mind.  

          Alan Kleinman, Principal

          Before starting Meritus Payment Solutions with Hiep Tran in 2009, Alan Kleinman was COO of National Merchant Center, a full service ISO. During his tenure, the company’s annual processing volume increased from $150MM to over $1 billion. Prior to joining National Merchant Center, Alan was a venture capitalist at Pacific Venture Group, a $210 million healthcare venture fund, and was involved in the investment and management of a number of successful companies including Symbion, Visicu, Phaseforward, Zonelabs, Vivant Medical, LifeMasters, and Long Term Care Group. Before that, Alan was an analyst at Gateway Partners, a merchant bank that focused on consolidating niche industries.

          Hiep Tran, AAP, Principal

          Hiep Tran was the CEO/Founder of Primus Payment Solutions, Inc., a merchant services sales office that focused on card-not-present merchants. Prior to Primus, Hiep was Vice President of Credit, Risk, & Operations for National Merchant Center (NMC). At NMC, he designed and implemented NMC’s risk management system for domestic and offshore merchant processing. Before that, Hiep was Director of Credit, Risk Management, and ACH Compliance for TransFirst Merchant Services, where he led their risk management, Credit, Collections, and ACH Compliance teams. Hiep received his AAP (Accredited ACH Professional) certification from NACHA in 2006.

          About Meritus Payment Solutions

          Meritus Payment Solutions is the innovative leader in advanced global transaction processing. Meritus provides a breadth of payment and transaction processing solutions that include mobile, credit and debit cards, gift and loyalty cards, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), Automated Clearing House (ACH), Check 21, and more. Built on a foundation of dedication, initiative, and collaboration, Meritus strives to shape the payment processing industry. For more information go to


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