In the past 12 months, every organisation has had to consider the impact of the internet on its business, and how it can best make use of online technology. Almost every one of the finalists in this year's Service Excellence Awards has harnessed this technology in some fashion, whether through internet, intranet, or even extranet.
But for all the hype, the smarter ones have realised that to become truly worthwhile to customers, their online presence must deliver outstanding service in its own right, and must be fully integrated with other channels. Excellent service is the product of many things, including people, processes, communication, and - perhaps in time - technology.
To establish the winners of these awards, a team of judges examined the written submissions of each organisation that entered, narrowing each category down to a shortlist on the strength of the evidence presented. The 18 finalists were visited and rigorously assessed against five criteria: understanding customers; operational effectiveness; engaging people; leadership, vision and values; and organisational agility.
If there is one thing that the winners share, it is an inability to sit back on their laurels and a deeply felt urge to improve continuously the running of their organisation for the benefit of customers. When that is put into practice, it is an experience that is unmistakably recognised by management, employees and customers alike.
An awards ceremony lunch took place at the Savoy, London on August 31. Angela Browning, Shadow Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, Brian Hadfield of Unisys and Victor Smart, Editor of MT, made the presentations.
Finalists past and present are invited to share their best-practice secrets at a three-day service excellence seminar to be held at Unisys International Management Centre, St-Paul-de-Vence, France on 1-3 November 2000.
Enquiries relating to the awards should be addressed to Tony Locke, Unisys Customer Services Centre, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes MK15 0YS. Tel: 01908 212613; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.