Hanging on the wall at each of Speedemissions’ 38 stores in Atlanta, Houston, St. Louis and Salt Lake City is a larged glass-framed sign that reads, “If we don’t treat you like you treat others, I want to know about it.” It’s signed by Rich Parlontieri, Speedemissions’ president and CEO, and it includes his phone number and email address.
The sign sends two messages. First, every employee knows that any customer can call the CEO directly at any time. It’s a subtle reminder of how serious the company is about quality customer service.
Additionally, customers see that if Speedemissions is not performing at a level consistent with their expectations, they have an outlet to express their dissatisfaction.
In the employee interview process, Speedemissions, which conducts vehicle emission and safety inspections, looks for workers who have a personality that extends far beyond the robotic style of most retail customer service today. And refresher training classes are held to keep employees’ focus not just on the company’s core business, but on other business units that may be targeted for future growth.
Parlontieri, Speedemissions’ CEO, visits every store regularly throughout the year. Some visits are announced, some are not. And the company also occasionally deploys mystery shoppers. All of these visits create a system of oversight that lends itself to a high level of customer service.
“We had our vehicle inspected recently at one of your locations,” says Jan Andres of Acworth, Ga. “There were several cars ahead of us, but your tech ran over, greeted us and said he would be with us soon. It was a pleasant surprise. He was efficient, personable and very pleasant. He had a welcoming smile and kind words. I found out he was a new employee. What a find for your company!”
How to reach: Speedemissions Inc., (770) 306-7667, www.speedemissions.com
Purchasing Power, an e-commerce company that offers a program enabling its clients’ employees to purchase computers and home appliances via payroll deduction, was founded on the belief that people who can’t afford to pay for expensive items up front should have the opportunity to make such purchases responsibly without incurring high interest rates or prolonged payment periods.
Led by President and CEO Richard Carrano, Purchasing Power is in business to give people a better way to buy by providing a responsible alternative to other consumer financing options, but it is the “why” that drives the company. Purchasing Power is committed to its service and its customers.
The company’s phenomenal growth in the past four years has been driven by how it listens to its customers: what’s good for Purchasing Power’s customers is good for the company.
Despite Purchasing Power’s fast growth, all its customers are treated as VIPs with opportunities to receive personal product mailers, promotions and discounts. Customers who enjoy Purchasing Power’s program can share their experiences with their co-workers by participating in the company’s referral program, which rewards every customer who refers new customers to Purchasing Power with a gift card.
Longstanding customers have been extended larger spending availability, personalized policies and white-glove service. And Purchasing Power is in the process of developing a loyalty program to reward more frequent users of its program with additional benefits.
Dave Van Nostrand of Wappinger Falls, N.Y., has been a Purchasing Power customer since 2009 and has placed multiple orders with the company. “I’ve had so many great experiences with Purchasing Power that it’s hard to narrow it down, but one that stands out the most would be when I ordered my son’s HP laptop,” he says. “They were very helpful and informative about the product. They just do everything right. I am a customer for life.”
How to reach: Purchasing Power, (404) 609-5100 or www.purchasingpower.com
Philips Arena, the home of the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks and the site for many other events such as concerts and circuses, hosts 1.5 million visitors annually. Led by President Bob Williams, the employees of Philips Arena endeavor to create a world-class “moment of truth” for each of their guests. That moment occurs when the arena becomes a point of contact for its guests, whether it’s when they first enter the arena or at the moment the show begins.
The arena’s workers analyze those moments, identifying all of the touch points that can occur during an event so they can provide their guests with the best service possible while they are there.
The systems at Philips Arena are designed to provide an efficient, seamless encounter for customers. The arena integrates new technologies such as an in-game text messaging system so guests who have questions or issues can text the arena’s base operations staff and receive assistance.
The venue also offers additional in-bowl cameras to allow employees to observe, identify and respond to issues and an instant seat upgrade app that allows ticketholders, while sitting in their seats at a game, to identify better seats that are empty and upgrade from their phone.
Philips Arena encourages its employees to take the most common tasks and find ways to customize and go above and beyond for its customers. The company measures the results through periodic customer experience surveys that provide benchmarks for performance throughout each department.
The Philips Arena customer service department has created a robust worker recognition program that includes monthly recognition for one employee selected to receive a “high end” gift for his or her work and a Star Performer of the Year Award in which the top performers from each department are honored at a banquet put together on behalf of the arena.
How to reach: Philips Arena, (404) 878-3000 or www.philipsarena.com
PBD Worldwide considers every one of its departments to be primarily in the business of taking care of its customers — not just its customer service department but also accounting services, client relations and distribution. Every associate who works for the Alpharetta-based fulfillment and distribution company attends classes to become “PBD-certified” for their position. And while the certification exams are different for each department, they all contain a common section on customer care and positive phrasing.
Led by CEO Scott Dockter, PBD serves 46 clients, including nonprofits, associations and faith-based organizations. Among the suite of services offers by PBD’s contact center are order processing, handling of Internet downloads, recording of donations, membership processing, conference attendee registration and magazine subscription fulfillment. PBD serves its clients’ customers by phone, email, fax, the Internet, wire transfers and data transfers.
“We appreciate PBD’s pride in promoting honesty and fairness in every aspect of their operation, from the CSR direct contact with our members and the warehouse team that picks, packs and ships our products to the account management team that is in constant communication,” says Jeri Luga, senior manager with the American Hospital Association.
The services PBD offers its clients are customized to each of their needs and the training and monitoring of the company’s customer service representatives is continuous. Every employee begins with a basic three-week class for new hires, which introduces workers to all of the systems they will use in their work. In addition to hands-on system practice, the new-hire training includes a soft-skills module that addresses different customer personality types and provides strategies to deal with them effectively.
PBD uses both formal and nonformal means to recognize employees who demonstrate superior customer service. The company’s customer contact center has a “Star Interaction” whiteboard on which the previous day’s top customer-interaction performers are posted.
How to reach: PBD Worldwide, (770) 442-8633 or www.pbd.com
Off-airport parking provider Park ’N Fly says its goal is to create customers for life by attaining its vision of making its customers’ lives easier by providing more than just parking.
This vision is exemplified by Park ’N Fly’s showcase Atlanta Plus lot, where its customers can drop off their dog or cat for boarding at Pet Paradise, have their car parked by a valet, leave their car at Jiffylube to have the oil changed while they’re away, have their car washed or detailed, drop off their luggage, get their boarding pass for their flight, and then ride a Park ’N Fly shuttle to the terminal — all of which certainly qualifies as more than parking.
An important component of Park ’N Fly’s customer service program is its Listen 360 Survey. Park ’N Fly, led by President and CEO Anthony Paalz Jr., is engaged companywide in Net Promoter Score measurements of customer service execution, and it has engaged Listen 360 to survey its customers and provide data on a daily basis via an NPS survey that customer can access online. Park ’N Fly tracks the results weekly by lot and creates trend reports that enable it to monitor how well its lots are doing in serving customers through the customers’ eyes.
Park ’N Fly partners with several companies, such as Inktel Contact Center Solutions, to help it provide its customers with the highest level of service possible.
“We have had the pleasure of being a partner of Park ’N Fly for almost four years,” says Summer Dennis, vice president of client services at Inktel. “Park ’N Fly has been very demanding with us in ensuring that a high level of customer service is provided at all times, and for that we are very grateful. As partners, we have made each other better and have created a better experience for Park ’N Fly customers.”
How to reach: Park ’N Fly, (800) 404-7275 or www.pnf.com
Founded in 1995, LocumTenens.com is a staffing agency dedicated to helping U.S. hospitals find qualified temporary physicians. The company’s larger mission is to improve the quality of health care by ensuring that patients have access to medical providers whenever and wherever they need them through the use of innovative staffing solutions.
LocumTenens.com’s associates take pride in the fact that due to their efforts, many patients across the country have access to vital health care services they wouldn’t otherwise have. The company’s service promise outlines the guiding principles under which it operates. This promise is distributed to all health care facility clients and health care providers, setting expectations up front on what the company’s level of service should be and providing contact information for the company’s top executives if the promise isn’t met.
Under the leadership of President and COO R. Shane Jackson, LocumTenens.com has built a culture where service is its key differentiator. The company’s tagline, “Obsessively Dedicated to You,” was derived from customer testimonials from physicians who wrote about the dedication of the company’s associates in finding assignments that were perfect fits.
LocumTenens.com ensures that it stays focused on customer service by continually measuring and analyzing its service to health care facilities and the physicians it places into temporary positions. After each assignment is complete, LocumTenens.com surveys both the health care facility client and the physician it placed there.
“Whatever the challenge may be, LocumTenens.com delivers,” says Rexanne Griffeth, physician recruiter for Hannibal Regional Hospital. “The staff is always willing to do whatever it takes to make me, the customer, satisfied. I receive multiple contacts on a daily basis asking for my business with locum providers. However, I have not needed to explore those offers due to the dedication of the LocumTenens.com team.”
How to reach: LocumTenens.com, (800) 930-0748, www.locumtenens.com
LeasePlan USA, which provides vehicle leasing and fleet management solutions, strives to make service its competitive advantage in every aspect of its business. As a service-oriented company, LeasePlan regards its people as its product. The company doesn’t produce anything tangible and its prices aren’t the lowest in the industry, so its leaders recognize that LeasePlan has to provide exceptional service in order to stand apart from its competition.
Under the guidance of President and CEO Michael A. Pitcher, LeasePlan invests a great deal in the development of its people. LeasePlan’s customers foster long-standing business relationships with the individuals that make up its team, and the investment in human capital provides a positive return when LeasePlan reaches its customer satisfaction goals based on its performance in exceeding the client’s expectations.
LeasePlan provides employees with customer service and leadership training in a number of formats, including computer-based programs, audio books and a mentoring program. With a training initiative known as LeasePlan Academy, the company encourages employees to take the time to invest in their own personal development by obtaining 40 hours of training credits per year.
LeasePlan’s customer service philosophy is unique. In a time of impersonal, technology-driven customer service, the company prides itself on being a high-touch provider of premium service driven by people who are among the best employees in the industry — and who are complemented but not replaced by technology. And the company’s approach has proven to be successful, as evidenced by its recent client satisfaction and loyalty scores.
“LeasePlan has been a valued partner for the past five years,” says Tom Armstrong, fleet director for ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas. “Their flexibility and willingness to modify their programs to fit our needs has been extremely beneficial for our fleet operations.”
How to reach: LeasePlan USA, (770) 933-9090 or www.us.leaseplan.com
InfoMart was founded in 1989, around the time the background screening industry was being born, and the company’s leaders say they believe their firm’s experience is the key factor sets it apart from its competition. Many of InfoMart’s competitors have been in business for less than 10 years, while InfoMart has been providing background screening solutions for more than twice that long, earning the trust of some of the world’s most respected corporations.
Early in InfoMart’s history, the company’s leaders realized that prospective clients can get background checks from a large variety of sources since much of the information provided is public record. But InfoMart decided it could differentiate itself by providing exceptional customer service.
Led by President Tammy Cohen, InfoMart provides background checks for thousands of corporations daily. All of those clients have diverse needs. While they all require a high degree of security, each has its own system requirements. Despite these divergent needs, InfoMart meets their expectations by providing customized care. The company’s long-term clients continue to support InfoMart because of its individualized service, its technology and its deep understanding of how the screening and hiring process works.
InfoMart is large enough to handle the volume of its national accounts but small enough to treat each customer as if it were InfoMart’s only customer. While InfoMart’s leaders know that the company must remain competitive with its price structure, they also know price is not the most important factor in choosing InfoMart for screening services.
“InfoMart is dedicated to providing top-notch customer service,” says Jay Boyles, who works in protection and preventive services for FedEx Ground. “The customer service team takes pride in their work and is knowledgeable regarding state laws and our business rules, and when tasked with a hot-button issue, they make it a priority to resolve it in a timely manner.”
How to reach: InfoMart, (770) 984-2727, www.infomart-usa.com
Enterprise business software provider I.B.I.S. Inc. emphasizes what it calls its vertical focus to customer service. By specializing in understanding of its clients’ businesses and helping manufacturers and distributors run their business more effectively, I.B.I.S. limits the price factor for prospective clients.
By offering what it calls Discovery sessions, I.B.I.S. gets to know the prospective client’s business in great depth. “The value of partnering with I.B.I.S. is a trusted relationship,” says Timothy Roe, director of sales and marketing at NSPI. “They are very knowledgeable about our business and will be here for us after the initial implementation.”
Under the guidance of CEO Andy Vabulas, I.B.I.S. hosts its clients twice a year to develop their Microsoft software skills. In the first meeting, a Microsoft user event called Convergence, I.B.I.S. helps clients choose their schedules and hosts them for a reception. The second event, called iSight, is exclusive to I.B.I.S. Offered in Atlanta and Charlotte, iSight is a no-cost event held for I.B.I.S. clients. The iSight event provides users with valuable tips and tricks on how to use technology in a more beneficial way. It also teaches them new skills and gives them the opportunity to network with other clients and to share solutions with each other.
I.B.I.S. has a help desk called DynamicsCare staffed by three full-time experts, all of whom are certified on all Microsoft products. I.B.I.S. clients have the option of purchasing an unlimited DynamicsCare plan, which gives them around-the-clock access to the company’s help-desk experts; alternatively, clients can purchase a DynamicsCare pack, which guarantees them a three-hour response time.
I.B.I.S.’s culture includes a top-down approach to motivate employees to be creative and productive for the benefit of the company’s clients. I.B.I.S.’s executives pride themselves on empowering their staff to create an environment focused on learning, education and continuous training.
How to reach: I.B.I.S. Inc., (770) 368-4000, www.ibisinc.com
CSI Laboratories considers client service a way of life. The specialized cancer diagnostics lab encourages its team members to strive to improve client service every day in their interactions with one another, with clients, with vendors and with everyone else with which they come in contact.
Led by President and CEO Heather Creran, CSI works with pathologists and oncologists to help determine correct diagnoses and select the best treatment options for their patients. Each day CSI receives patients’ biopsies from across the country. Its medical, lab and operations teams test and analyze the material and provide timely information to answer the critical questions facing each patient.
Even though CSI never sees a patient in its facility, patients come first in everything CSI does. The lab’s team members understand that behind every biopsy is a patient and a family anxiously waiting for the results of their test and how it will impact them. CSI knows that the time spent waiting for results can seem like a lifetime, so its team members strive to get the right answers as quickly as possible.
CSI does not offer any testing that is unique or proprietary and most of its testing is paid for by insurance. Therefore, CSI works to differentiate itself through the level of quality and services it provides — the quality and accuracy of its tests and results, the speed with which it is able to complete the testing and the information systems it uses to convey the answers to its clients.
“We depend on CSI’s quality, speed and collaborative approach to keep our clients happy,” says Dr. Julie Plumbley of Blue Ridge Pathologists and Augusta Medical Center in Staunton, Va. “CSI’s service is second to none. They demonstrate it every day. They may be our send-out lab, but it feels like they’re right here in the community with us.”
How to reach: CSI Laboratories, (678) 248-8000, www.csilaboratories.com