SMEs can now be recognised for superior customer service by participating in the 2011 South African Service Awards. Entrants can register as either ‘Tiny Giants’, ‘Small Companies’, ‘Medium Companies’ or ‘Large Companies’. In a South Africa first, the SA Service Awards pits companies and brands against each other in a competition that goes directly to consumers, asking them to highlight the providers of exceptional customer service.
Research shows customer satisfaction to be a leading economic indicator and a predictor of a company’s financial performance, according to the University of Michigan’s Business School, which means that retaining customers is key to competing in this tough economic environment. Marketers recognise that it costs five to eight times as much to acquire new customers as it does to upsell existing ones.
The playing field
Companies will be rated by their customers – not judges – on a standardised survey that will be accessible on the Internet and Facebook. Consumers will be motivated to participate by having a chance to win iPads and other lucky draw prizes. The competition will run from 1 September 2011until 30 November 2011 and all votes will be counted and audited with the Awards Gala being held in late January 2012.
Andrew Cook, CEO of Smoke Customer Care Solutions, is spearheading the competition. “In many industries there are low levels of rivalry, so companies often don’t invest in customer service. On the other hand, many put the systems and processes in place to offer great service. They should be recognised for their efforts,” he says. The company has committed to giving away one iPod Touch per week and one iPad 2 each month for the duration of the competition.