WOW! Awards gala honours customer service superstars – November 2013

WOW! Awards gala honours customer service superstars – November 2013

The 280 people who attended the WOW! Awards gala in London on 25 November 2013 witnessed companies from across the UK and abroad being recognised for their outstanding customer service.

These prestigious awards, which have been running since 1997, are based purely on customer nominations for excellent service. Finalists are judged by an independent panel of experts from high profile British organisations, media and academia.

Back in September, TCii CEO Terry Irwin sat on the judging panel for two of the awards: Best Newcomer and Best Utility Provider. The finalists in the Best Newcomer category were selected on the following criteria:

  • They had launched The WOW! Awards within the last 12 months and got off to a great start.
  • All stakeholders were involved, engaged and committed.
  • The implementation was prompt and the nominations soon came flying in.

The judges were looking for:

  • the positive results that the WOW! Awards had already had on the team or organisation
  • what the entrants had done to implement and embed the WOW! Awards into their organisation
  • the major learning points from their approach.

The winner of this award was United Utilities. Among the things the judges liked were “honesty about where they were and where they are now and their customer-centricity”, and “that they listened to customers plus concrete complaints reduction”.

Terry commented: “The great unprompted feedback received by United Utilities is the result of the company’s tight focus on customer needs, and shows the value of a strategic approach.”

The finalists in the Best Utility Provider category were chosen because of:

  • the quality, quantity and diversity of customer nominations
  • the evidence of imaginative ways to delight customers

The judges looked for:

  • evidence of how the nominees delivered innovation, creativity and excellence to customers
  • examples of “going the extra mile” to delight customers
  • how they turned customer service values into reality for their customer and evidence of how their customer was placed at the heart of everything they did.

The winner of the award was Yorkshire Water, which the judges described as “a responsible organisation with passionate people”. They liked “the community they create, not only locally but to change the world”, and “the individuality when treating customers”.

The other 14 award categories included:

  • Small Business: Big WOW! – won by Fasttrac Solicitors
  • WOW! You’ve Changed My Life – won by Keeva Austin, a specialist pre-school teacher with Warwickshire County Council
  • Serving the Consumer: Best Business – won by Richer Sounds
  • Serving Other Businesses: Best Business – won by Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Serving the Community: Best Organisation – won by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Leadership Award – won by Chief Superintendent Graham Hall of Durham Constabulary
  • Most Inspiring Front Liner (Public Sector) – won by June Divers of Glasgow Housing Association.

“The achievements of all the WOW! Awards finalists – not just the winners – show that great customer service is alive and kicking, if you know where to find it,” said Terry. “Discerning consumers and businesses will increasingly seek to deal with those organisations that really put the theory of customer focus into practice.”

For more information about the WOW! Awards and details of all this year’s winners, go to

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