Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privilege to attend the 2017 WOW! Awards Gala Ceremony, a celebration of everything positive about customer service and the individuals, teams and organisations who turn ordinary into extraordinary for their customers.
In early September, along with a number of other volunteers, I spent a long, yet rewarding day, in the basement rooms of a central London hotel, judging 14 categories of the 2017 WOW! Awards. Of the 21,349 nominations this year, 65 Finalists were chosen and our role was to help choose the 14 Winners!
After all the nominees in each category had had the opportunity to present their story, we had the tough decision of choosing the winners. Pros and cons were strongly debated, cases put forward from other angles, opinions swayed until eventually a consensus decision was made.
Why was it so difficult?
Well quite simply, everyone nominated, whether it be an individual, a team or an organisation had one thing in common, treating their customers with respect, providing the best service they could and when a customer was in need of help, going that extra mile for them.
I can honestly say that it was one of the most emotionally draining days I have spent, listening to the amazing things other people do to make a positive difference to the lives of others.
The 2017 WOW! Awards Gala Ceremony
So, yesterday, it was the time for the 65 Finalists to find out whether they had won. The Radisson Blu Portman Square was the venue and a champagne reception and networking started the event. This was followed by the Kings Church Gospel Choir singing the iconic “What have you done today to make you feel proud” by Heather Small.
This teed up Derek Williams, the founder of the WOW! Awards to formerly open the awards ceremony, starting with Best Newcomer, won by Morrison Utility Services. Derek is a great master of ceremonies, making sure that those coming on stage, to accept their award, were looked after and felt at ease.
9 more categories were completed prior to lunch, with short video clips or photographs of the nominees being displayed on the big screen. In addition, the names of all those who had achieved 100+ nominations were read out and celebrated.
Lunch gave everyone the chance to catch their breath, recharge their batteries and enjoy an extremely good 3-course meal and a medley of songs from the Kings Church Gospel Choir, before the final four category winners were announced.
The Special Judges’ Award
The penultimate award, was The Special Judges’ Award, which went to 22 year old Joanna McMillan of Inverclyde Leisure, who, at the age of 20, noticed and then supported one of her customers who was going through an extremely difficult time personally. Joanna’s efforts, ended up in a positive outcome for her customer.
WOW! You’ve Changed My Life Award
The final award was the WOW! You’ve Changed My Life Award for the public sector, which went to Chris Mitchell of Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust. The patient who Chris helped was in the audience to share their heart-warming story of how Chris, “Changed Their Lives”.
Derek concluded formalities by congratulating all those who took part this year and also took the opportunity to thank all of his team for their support in putting on an event that certainly WOWed those in attendance. With formalities concluded, it was time for those who wanted to head to the bar and celebrate with their colleagues and others they had met through the Awards.
Everyone’s A Winner In My Eyes
In my eyes, everyone was a winner, why? Because quite simply, they had all demonstrated something that some others in business sadly overlook, a compassion, kindness and care for others. It wasn’t a case of “What’s in it for me and my company?” but “How can I best support that person who needs my help?”
So What Could You Do Today To Make You Feel Proud?
Well, if you want to increase customer loyalty, boost employee engagement, plus instil a sense pride in what your business does to support your customers, if you haven’t done so already, you might find that checking out the WOW! Awards maybe a good start in making you feel proud.
This article is dedicated to all the award nominees, Derek Williams and his amazing team, those in the 100 Club and the winners of the categories. Well done to you all.
Wishing you continued success and happiness in both work and life.
Yours behaviourally, Nick
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