Confirmit ACE Awards: Tricks, Tips, and a Word on “Passion”

Phil Durand

Phil Durand

Author Bio

Director, Customer Experience Management

Author Bio

Tricks, tips, and pitfalls to avoid when writing a submission.

I’ve been lucky enough to take part in a number of industry awards events over the last couple of years. To be clear, by ‘lucky’ I’m absolutely not referring to the part that involves lots of enforced grinning and – shudder – networking. Actually, the networking bit isn’t too bad once I man up and get on with it. But I’ll be honest, the idea of networking is enough to send me reaching for the nearest gin (I have found this to be tricky at breakfast events, in particular).

However, the worst part is the excessive and seemingly endless exposure to turns of phrase such as ‘synergy’ or ‘out of the box thinking’ or ‘leveraged opportunities’… or, even worse… those who profess to be ‘passionate about customers’… without really showing any evidence of acting on this passion.

I know it sounds like I am being unkind. That is not my intention. Let’s be clear – ‘passionate’ is a word that should carry serious currency. I believe it’s the sort of word reserved for those things in life that you can’t do without, or perhaps the things that you care about more than yourself? And I get that customers are important… but at the risk of offending my own customers, sorry, but I don’t feel quite that way about you. I suspect you don’t want me to.

I care. I want to ensure we do a good job and that our customers feel they can trust and rely on us. But passionate? What does that mean? In this age of metrics run rampant, is it possible to even measure passion? And where does it end? Hiding in a bush outside your window in the rain, just to make sure you’re alright? Does that mean I really, really care? Or does showing I care mean doing the right thing by customers consistently and honestly?

Either way, I have seen some brilliant awards entries and struggled through the odd one where the best of intentions wound up buried beneath flowery language and buzzwords. So, in honor of Confirmit’s ACE Awards, where we celebrate the best of our clients’ achievements, let’s think about the things that can help turn one case study into a winner. And also pay attention to the pitfalls that can send another off track.

How to get it right

  • Focus on Business Outcomes – not the scores, they’re only an indication. Let’s hear about proper business KPIs. Has retention improved? Are customers spending more? Are more contacts resolved first time? Has cost to serve gone down? Are lifetime customer values increasing?
  • Show some Vision – beyond what you’re already doing, share your thoughts on what could be next in your program. It’s great to do the basics really well. Many can achieve real change by doing this and no more. But the best programs evolve and change over time, in order to keep fresh and relevant. Show us your ideas for this.
  • Observe the Rules – being a judge is a hard life. Get your violins out. I don’t want War and Peace – I need you to be concise. Problem, solution, benefits, proof. No waffle. No padding. Just cut to the good stuff and follow the instructions

Pitfalls to avoid

  • Don’t Forget the Customer – feel free to show us how clever you’ve been, but in all the data, integrations and CX sophistication don’t forget to show the real benefits the customer has seen.
  • Analysis Paralysis – make sure that actions come from the program. Of course, major changes cannot be made to a business without a robust business case, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help individual customers in the meantime. As the saying goes, look after the pennies…

The Confirmit ACE Awards take all this into account, working over two stages – a first round reviewing written submissions to narrow things down to the second round of finalists. Each finalist is invited to present their program to us and the programs worthy of the greatest merit are celebrated in the ACE Awards book each year.

Very best of luck!