Establishing a first-time awards program is a daunting task and a tough way to start a new year. There’s the concept to consider (number and types of categories, overall theme), backend mechanics of the nomination and judging process (unfamiliar web tools, deadlines, prevention of ballot box tampering), and dealing with the inevitable backlash when those who think they deserved to win weren’t recognized or missed out on the contest altogether. Of course there are also really happy winners.
We went through all of that in our first year with Residential Systems’ Stellar Service Awards, and I believe we ended up with results that offer a good starting point for discussions.
The goal when we began creating a new awards program was to honor manufacturers and distributors for their service to dealers. It seemed to us that in every meeting with vendors and distributors over the years, companies have proudly proclaimed their exceptional focus on providing top-notch customer service, tech support, dealer training, and sales/marketing. Figuring that we could give these companies another chance to earn a feather in their caps for these noble efforts, the editorial team came up with the Stellar Service Awards concept and built categories around it.
From the beginning, it was our goal to leave voting in the hands of our readers, who are the ones with the most experience as customers of manufacturers and distributors. And, although I would love to have seen even more manufacturers and distributors enter the contest, voting was very strong. I hope that this year’s results provide momentum for more participation next time and reminds those who didn’t participate that you’ve got to be in it to win it.
So as we usher in 2014, keep in mind which of your vendor partners offer the best customer service, the most effective communication, exceptional sales and marketing support, top training programs, reliable warranty policies, most useful websites, and anything else we haven’t included this year. Keep a mental tally and cheer on your manufacturer and distributor friends to keep up the good work and encourage them to participate next fall when the new and improved Stellar Service Awards returns. As always, we appreciate your feedback, whether through our website, within our LinkedIn or Facebook groups, on Twitter, or directly via email. Let us know what categories we should add or subtract and whom you’d like to see honored.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone that supported our first attempt. Most importantly, though, have a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2014.