Keeping with my customer service theme from yesterday, today I want to highlight two different ways to help you find out if you are among the best in customer support. As I have stated before, customer service and support is a key part of the customer experience, and for some customers, it may be the only place they directly interact with you! There are two industry awards that showcase best-in-class customer support, and if you think your service and support organization has what it takes, you can enter it for one or both awards. Even if you don’t believe you are the best, you can learn a lot of valuable information from the winners of these awards.
I will list the award with the nearest deadline first. The Service and Support Professionals Association, also known simply as The SSPA, has its annual STAR Awards for best practices in service and support. The SSPA is a great organization that provides a myriad of resources for support professionals such as newsletters, research, and podcasts; I have had the pleasure of writing two articles for the SSPA News. The SSPA seeks to highlight those companies who have really innovated in this area and can prove it by undergoing a detailed review. Categories for the award include online service, on-site service, metrics, knowledge management, services marketing, support staff practices, service delivery optimization, value-added support, and my favorite, customer commitment. Here is a list of past winners, or you can go to the link above to get additional information about entries and details on the award categories. They also have a Hall of Fame and a Service Excellence list of winners on their site.
Deadline for nomination: January 26, 2007, with applications due February 16, 2007.
Another service and support award is run by the Association of Support Professionals (the ASP), the Ten Best Web Support Sites award. A panel of judges who are experienced in service and support review and rate entries based on several criteria, including overall design and usability, knowledgebase, interactive features, the customer experience, and a final criteria of a major site development challenge which the entrant has overcome. There are two categories for awards, the Open division (for anyone to enter) and the Small Company division. The top ten are written up in the annual publication by the ASP with details of their entry submission. A pretty cool aspect of this award is the feedback each entrant receives. Whether or not you win, you get a detailed report of how your site scored across the 25 criteria, including how your site compared to your peers. You also get comments from the judges (I am honored to say this is my third year as a judge) with suggestions for improvement. Click through to the link above for more information, the application, and a list of the 2006 Ten Best Web Support Sites.
Deadline for entry: March 2, 2007.
I highly recommend checking out these two awards, if not to submit your own organization, then to learn from others who have been recognized as doing customer service and support well. I will report back when I learn of the winners in both cases!