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Kathleen’s New York Adventures: Picking Up the Coveted Stevie Award for Customer Service

June 22, 2012


At 11:00 pm Sunday night, I started my New York adventure. I’ve never been to New York before, and was excited to see the city, but even better, I was on my way to collect an award!  

About 6 months before my trip, Customer Support applied for an American Business Awards Stevie Award and we won! The national awards dinner was in New York, so I hopped on a redeye and by morning, I was in the city!

My adventure started in a cab from the airport to the Marriott hotel on Broadway. The traffic was horrendous and what should have been a 30 minute cab ride took over 2 hours. The cab driver started out with long sighs, moved to chewing his nails and honking and eventually started shouting out the window. He “offered” to drop me off a half a mile from my hotel, insisting it was a “nice walk” but I let him know that he could take me the whole way to the hotel. “This is such a stressful job,” he murmured as he yanked my bags out of the trunk. I patted his arm in understanding, because in essence, he is also a customer service professional, but I don’t think I’ll be hiring him to serve customers at anytime soon.

While walking around the city, I saw so many neat shops and amazing sights. Just like in Chicago (a city where I have spent a lot of time), the buildings make me feel miniscule and somewhat overwhelmed. Since I have so many friends in Chicago, I thought I should sample some New York pizza and put an end to the debate, at least for myself. After my little personal contest, I don’t even think calling them both pizza is appropriate. They’re very different, with the crispy lightness of the New York pizza contrasting with the thick, warm gooeyness of Chicago pizza. I actually like the lighter crust but prefer the richer sauce I’ve had in Chicago. (So nothing was settled and likely, more pizza must be consumed, in both cities, before the final ruling can be given).

Before the Stevie Awards ceremony, there was a cocktail reception. I stopped by a table to balance my hors d’oeurves and my wine glass and ended up making some delightful new friends in the health care industry. One of them is from the Pacific Northwest, like my sisters, and me, and my sister currently manages her favorite hometown pub. I promptly made her a “free drinks because Kathleen says so” card for her to present to my sister which earned me several hugs. I now have three new lifelong friends, and we’re already connecting and reminiscing our amazing Stevies evening, thanks to the magic of social media.

As the awards were announced, in between tweets to acknowledge the many great companies winning awards in various categories, I reflected on connections and how precious and important they are. Every employee in the customer support department is connected to me, and my network in some way, and in many cases, to each other. We extend this connection and this genuine feeling of belonging and togetherness with our customers — we are working toward the common goal of customer success. It is also reflected in the product itself, which drives collaboration between buyers and suppliers, vendors and customers, and business owners and their accountants.

Then it was magic time… won the bronze Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year. I proudly held the award, hands trembling a little bit, and vamped for pictures; excited to bring the trophy home to the service team and inspired to continue to grow and develop the world-class support our customers have come to expect from us.

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