Service Excellence Awards 2005: Winner - Manufacturing/Engineering - Cougar Automation Ltd

Software engineers are not the most naturally extrovert and demonstrative people.

But at Cougar Automation, a small system integrator in Waterlooville, near Portsmouth, they think differently. The firm's tagline is 'Real people - real solutions', and it's reflected in the slides they put up during their presentations - not endless PowerPoints of data but Cougar people in various offbeat guises: windsurfing, mountaineering or spending time with their family.

Cougar's staff are relaxed, empowered and work as a big family - their mantra is 'Happy people equals happy customers'. They've learned the power of listening to customers rather than talking to them; their way of working with clients is centred on mutual trust and open communication, rather than rigidly adhering to service agreements or contractual small print.

Cougar has embarked on a significant journey in the past couple of years.

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