If there's one thing these awards consistently demonstrate, it's that there is no cookie-cutter route to achieving Service Excellence.
For any individual organisation, some of the answers have to be its own, designed to cater for its own peculiar set of dynamics and circumstances.
That's one of the reasons why the MT/Unisys Service Excellence Awards continue to uncover new ideas every year, and why winning requires more than simply following the textbook approach. If Service Excellence is a gauntlet thrown down, then everyone has their own way of picking it up. And pick it up they must, as Brian Hadfield, managing director of Unisys, explains: 'It doesn't matter what line of business you're in, in today's market the customer experience is probably your only differentiator.'
At Happy Computers, this year's overall winner, Service Excellence is achieved by looking beyond the workplace to the contribution that an organisation can make in the wider world. Wouldn't you feel better about using a supplier that is doing something worthwhile? At Twin Valley Homes, it's about supporting a community, and making people look again at an option they might have considered second-best. At contact lens distributor CIBA Vision (UK), it's about supporting your customers by helping them to provide a better service to their own customers. And at the National Refractory Angina Centre, it's about creating a new paradigm for healthcare, no less. Why put up with the way things have always been done, if you can show them a better way?
In the end, Service Excellence is down to the people delivering it; people with a personal mission to do something out of the ordinary, recognising that their own life is enhanced by giving their best each day. Says Hadfield: 'It's about understanding what your customer wants and meeting their needs.
Everything we do is focused on that.' This is just one aspect that make these awards worth celebrating: they're a record of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.