Becoming an award-winning business has always been a dream. A lot of work and dedication has gone into the business over 5 years to ensure we are working at our best and providing a service to parents and their children which goes above and beyond expectations. With all the hard work, it was time to start showing others what we do best, so I decided to start applying for awards. What a minefield that is! However, receiving an award for customer service excellence from Devon Women in Business made me think about things that are important. So here are 5 things I learned from winning an award for our business.
Number one: It is all in the evidence
There are a whole host of awards you can apply for out there...some of them are national, some local. Some you pay to apply for, and others are free. Some require a long application form and others don't require anything but an email address. But what I have learned is it is all in the evidence.
It has been so satisfying to win the customer service excellence award based on actual evidence. Not just a voting system which relies a lot on having a large following. For our award, 3 judges sat and compared my application to others. Our evidence had to stand out against the rest. It had to show excellent customer service AND push out in front of other businesses. It made me realise just how important reviews and recommendations are for a business. Yes, it gets annoying continuously asking customers and feels like you are bothering them BUT it shows others who have no idea about our business what we do and how well we do it. We wouldn't have won without the reviews so lesson learned...ask for more!
Number two: we need to shout about our businesses!
Here I am, with an award-winning business and I still feel icky about shouting about our achievements. It feels like I am bragging and I don't like doing it but how is anyone supposed to know how great a service is if it isn't shouted about? Winning an award has meant that I have had a kick up the bum to shout from the rooftops, but it has also given others the opportunity to shout about us too. So much of our custom comes from word of mouth. It is time to stop feeling icky and be proud of our achievements.
Number three: remember the little wins
Of course, winning an award is a HUGE achievement and we are already seeing the effect it has had on the business but it brought to the front of my mind how terrible I am at celebrating the small wins too. It shouldn't take an award to feel successful. Do you ever have mind monkeys? Whether in personal or work life, that tell you that you can't do something, or that you aren't a great parent. Well we have them too...all the time. When a parent doesn't come back to classes (normally due to them returning to work!), when a class hasn't gone quite to plan, or even when the to do list for admin is so long that you feel you don't have enough time to put all your passion into one thing. Well we need to tell those monkeys where to go and start being proud of all our little achievements: when a new customer walks through the door, when a new review is left, when someone tags the business in a social media post asking for recommendations.
So what next?
Well, our customer service will remain at its high standard and make us forever worthy of the award.
We will continue to grow our franchise and provide a service that goes above and beyond for all parents and their children.
We will celebrate our small wins as well as the big ones and remember to shout from the rooftops and give Story Sense the recognition it deserves.