Durham Constabulary Aiming for Excellence

Durham Constabulary Aiming for Excellence

What made you join The WOW! Awards?

We’ve been using The WOW! Awards since 2011 because they support our vision for policing. Providing an opportunity for members of the public to acknowledge and express their gratitude where staff have gone “above and beyond” and recognises the contribution of our staff in delivering high quality services.

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Recognising high standards at Balfour Beatty

At Balfour Beatty (Gas & Water) we have been working with The WOW! Awards for the last 2 years. In this time we have implemented the system across all of our contracts. It is great for our business as it aligns directly with our four core values of respect, integrity, teamwork & respect and highlights to our clients the importance we place in recognising hard work.

Complaints vs Compliments

The Utility Industry is very heavily regulated and all organisations have to report on the amount negative feedback that has been received. However, there are no requirements for organisations to comment on positive feedback, on how the industry is rapidly changing and how successful it is becoming in its field. As such the reporting aspect of the Gas & Water Utilities is based around how many written complaints, telephone contacts and how much negative news is received. As a result of this it is difficult to find a supporting external organisation that understands the opposite, the importance of recording great work and who understands what an organisation can get back in return. We can say whole heartedly, The WOW! Awards understands how Balfour Beatty work and how we get what is required from their well-designed system.

Employee Engagement

The WOW! Awards system enables Balfour Beatty to build on our employee engagement levels. Showing our teams that their hard work has been recognised and gives a clear route from receiving positive feedback from a customer or client to the praise reaching the employee. We have seen many nominations from all our working environments. From admin employees to teams laying gas and water mains to plumbers fitting water meters, but they all portray the same message – that our teams recognise the importance of delivering a quality customer experience.

Showcasing High Performance

An investment in The WOW! Awards is a great route for showcasing work, ensuring all hard work is captured. We can safely say any work worthy of “WOW” receives it and we are proud to promote that we have achieved well over 400 nominations in the first half of 2015. It is also part of our induction plan for new employees, it welcomes them into the business and ensures they understand that Balfour Beatty recognise good work and understand how to recognise its employees for consistent high performance.

Sharing Results

The ease of using the reporting features has been very important for us. At the click of a button we can run reports as per criteria from the user. The report can then be shared with the wider team or clients. Customer Managers from each of our contracts share this information as widely as possible, feeding up to Contract Managers in a simple format, that isn’t resource heavy and enables everyone in the business to see other area performance.

What a ‘SafeMove’ – 6 years of partnership with The WOW! Awards

SafeMove, a trading arm of Yorkshire Water, are responsible for the compilation and provision of Drainage and Water Searches that form a part of the conveyancing process for solicitors on behalf of property purchasers throughout Yorkshire. In addition to compiling the Drainage and Water search, SafeMove provides nationally the whole range of searches solicitors may require as part of a property transaction.

Our dedicated service team of 22 dealt with over 60,000 property transactions in 2014/15, delivering what customers describe as an “Absolutely Brilliant Service”.

Showcasing Excellent Service

Our journey with The WOW! Awards began in 2009 where we decided to showcase the excellent service our team deliver year on year. The WOW! Awards have provided our customers with the opportunity to tell us what they think about our service with the introduction to our ‘You Said, We Did’ facility on our website and our WOW! nomination cards which we send out with our products and customer communications.

In a highly competitive market we’ve managed to stack up over 160 quality nominations and these have been used to create our very own ‘WOW Story Book’. This book is a real testament to the hard work of the SafeMove team and it’s something that continues to empower them in the delivery of an excellent service experience, growing our customer loyalty.

We’ve been a finalist at The WOW! Awards Gala Ceremony every year since 2010 receiving the winner’s trophy in 2013 in ‘Serving Other Businesses – Best Business 2 Business’ category. 2013 also saw the SafeMove Manager become a finalist for ‘The Leadership Award’ and a Senior team member being a finalist in the ‘The Most Inspiring Front liner’ category. This has given us the opportunity to network with other companies and it has also helped us benchmark our performance outside our industry.

Healthy Competition

In 2014 we incentivised our WOW! nominations as a vehicle to not become complacent when requesting feedback on our service, as this can be particularly difficult when dealing with a repeat customer base. This has brought healthy competition amongst the team and is the driver behind the focus we place on the value of customer feedback.

Celebrating our Achievements

Every year SafeMove has an end of year business plan which is followed by a themed ‘Oscars Awards Evening’ where the team are recognised for their achievement throughout the year. One of these awards is The WOW! Award which is presented to the advisor that has received the highest volume & quality of nominations, this is just another way to ensure that we ‘capture our people doing things right’.

How does it feel to be nominated?

Sarah Chamberlain – SafeMove Service Advisor adds:

“I believe that WOW! really does capture when things are done right and it is great to know that the efforts are also noticed by our customers. I will always do my upmost to help our customers, which might be a small task or a task which could take a considerable length of time to resolve.

For me it shows the length and efforts I go to have not gone unnoticed and our customers are very happy with the level of service I have provided them with”.

Sarah’s most recent nomination…

“Sarah grasped the reason behind our query immediately. She was able to give us an answer, very, very quickly and nothing was too much trouble for her. It was a pleasure dealing with her and she was extremely polite and helpful. We have to say that we believe she is a credit to your company and should be recognised for these qualities”.

SafeMove feel bewildered that we continue to receive recognition for delivering an exceptional service which we all consider to be a part of ‘day to day activity’. It’s also played a huge part in understanding our customer expectations – ensuring that in each transaction our customer is happy and that they’re willing to take the time to use WOW! as a way of communicating this to us.

Kelly Norcliffe, SafeMove, Customer Account Manager

City University London Create Engaging Work Environment

The Student Centre at City University London is dedicated to supporting students and ensuring their success at City University London. Our team acts as the first port of call to receive friendly, professional and efficient advice and guidance. There are over 21,000 students at City University; last year the Student Centre handled in excess of 56,000 enquiries which were a combination of in-person visits, telephone calls and enquiries by email.

Our Achievements So Far

The Student Centre first teamed up with The WOW! Awards in January 2011 and has since used the scheme as a way to reward employees for providing excellent customer service and to encourage them to always go the extra mile for our students. So far we have received over 500 nominations and around 200 certificates and have worked to consistently improve on our achievements; in 2012 we won the national award at The WOW! Gala Ceremony in the category of “Services to Students” and that year one of our Student Advisers was a finalist in the category of “Most Inspiring Frontliner”; in 2013 our Head of the Student Services was shortlisted for the “Leadership Award” and another of our Student Advisers was shortlisted for the “Front of House Award”; in 2014 our Senior International Student Adviser was shortlisted for the “Most Inspiring Frontliner” award and one of our Student Advisers won the national “Front of House Award”.

Embedding the Scheme

Working in the University’s Student Centre involves a lot of interaction with students, staff members and the general public. We strive to WOW! all our customers who are then very pleased to learn that there is an official way to say thank you for the outstanding service they have received, and which they regularly make use of.

Every new member of staff receives extensive training on customer service expectations, is informed about The WOW! Awards scheme and has their personal stock of WOW! cards printed out when they join the Student Centre. This helps them to understand that the scheme is an important part of their role and that everyone is expected to embrace it. Staff members have become quite competitive in receiving nominations and certificates, as the former are shared with the whole team, and the latter are given out during staff meetings by the Head of Student Services and then proudly displayed next to the entrance to the Student Centre.

Ozer, a Student Adviser who joined the Student Centre in March 2015, said:

“Before I started at City University, I hadn’t heard of The WOW! Awards in any of my previous work environments. Therefore, it came as a pleasant surprise to me that I would now be working in a work environment that recognises and rewards great customer service. It gives me an even greater incentive to deliver exceptional service when I know that my efforts are always recognised, both by my fellow colleagues and my customers.”

Shared Learning

Sharing best practice is an important part of the great customer service we provide in the Student Centre, therefore in 2013 we designed a Student Centre Workshop which is being delivered monthly to members of staff from other departments at City University. A large part of this workshop focuses on the customer service we deliver, and we take the opportunity in these sessions to explain The WOW! Awards and their impact on our motivation. Usually colleagues express a lot of interest in the scheme and wish to join as well, as they can see that our passion permeates through every aspect of our work – something that The WOW! Awards really encourages and fosters within the team. Such has been the level of interest from other University departments that from June this year we have renewed our membership to cover the entire institution so that every department can now benefit from this motivating and rewarding scheme.

Daily Recognition

In the Student Centre we receive WOW! nominations every day; some of them are very detailed descriptions of how the problem was handled and resolved. Here is an example of one such nomination:

“This was the third time I went in to the Student Centre, hoping this time my issue with student finance could be resolved. It was quite a complicated issue and had to be dealt with patience and understanding. Lucy took her time to listen and comprehend what I was explaining. How it affected me. She went beyond what I thought would be expected from the student centre, getting to the root of the problem. I really appreciated her empathy. She was never hesitant of making all those phone calls and emails, including asking other customers for help to resolve my issue. I can’t thank her enough and even though the issue is ongoing, I can honestly say I can walk in to the student centre comfortably knowing she’ll always be ready to hand for us students. Dealing with finances can be quite stressful and she has made this a lot easier for me. So, I would really like to thank Lucy for really stretching herself to get the job done, all with a smile on her face.”

To sum up, being rewarded for what we do in our daily job is extremely motivating and engaging for all staff members. It instils the ‘can-do’ attitude and promotes healthy competitiveness within the team. The customers also appreciate having a recognised way of saying thank you to the hardworking members of the Student Centre team, who never cease striving to meet and exceed their expectations.

Lucy Tomaka, Student Advisor

WOW! At Your Leisure

Stevenage Leisure Limited are committed to delivering high quality and value for money leisure and cultural opportunities for all of the community. Working in partnership with five local authorities, Stevenage Leisure Limited are a non-profit distributing organisation and a holder of the Social Enterprise Mark; managing eighteen centres across 9 towns, with a dedicated team of over 1,000. Any surpluses generated through their operations are reinvested into the facilities for the benefit of their clients, staff, and most importantly the 3 million visitors to their centres every year.

We first heard of The WOW! Awards after Derek Williams approached the company and explained in simple terms the full potential of the scheme and fantastic benefits that could be easily achieved for a small fee. Having also been made aware of the huge achievements of other WOW! users, we realised what an opportunity this was for an organisation like Stevenage Leisure Limited with some 1,000 employees. We discussed the proposal with the senior management team and the Board and we came to the conclusion that it was a “no brainer”.

We decided to trial The WOW! Awards at one of our sites and we could never have predicted how successful it would turn out to be! As a result, we instantly rolled it out across the whole company, with unanimous support from everyone involved. It was then just a question of explaining the process to the teams and informing the customers.

We’ve now been using The WOW! Awards since 2010 and it really didn’t take long at all for the potential to become a reality. We have continued to build upon the success over the past three years. In those three years, we’ve received 313 nominations and 180 certificates.

We are in a competitive market and have to regularly rebid for short-term contracts; The WOW! Awards has helped us to demonstrate how good the company is and as a result retain and win new business.

The WOW! Awards works for SLL, because it is simple for the public to use. We have linked the WOW! process to our electronic customer satisfaction survey which saves time and effort for the employees and managers to facilitate. It also gives instant recognition to those in the company who may otherwise not be acknowledged. We still have work to do at some of our sites, to encourage more customers to nominate employees when they believe they have been wowed! – It’s not that they don’t want to; I think it’s just that some employees are a bit shy and are reluctant to accept or encourage praise, even though they thoroughly deserve it. However, The WOW! Awards has been successful in the vast majority of the sites and we have had absolutely remarkable results.

Everyone who has received a certificate from The WOW! Awards has been literally bowled over. They tell everyone about it and they proudly display their certificates to the public. It gives people the feel good factor that is so hard to come by nowadays! It’s difficult to put an exact price on it, but individuals being recognised for doing something well, is an excellent motivator.

It’s hard to say exactly how much The WOW! Awards process has contributed to our financial performance, however, since starting with WOW, the Company has had three very successful years, not just financially, but from a quality perspective and the achievement of many local and national accreditations and awards, not least IIP and ISO14001.

The WOW! Awards has brought the Board and the employees closer together, by enabling winners to be presented with their certificates by the Chairman at Board meetings.

In a nutshell, using the WOW! Awards, has been a sound business investment. For a small administration fee, SLL is able to give customers the opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to individual employees who have done something well. Sometimes it is life changing experiences like swimming pool rescues and other times it is simply extending a little courtesy like helping with a customer’s bags. However big or small, there is nothing like seeing the proud smile on an employee’s face, when they receive a certificate from the Chairman in front of the Board!