For 27 years, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Southern Colorado has recognized and celebrated businesses with the Excellence In Customer Service (EICS) Award. The award is a chance for BBB accredited businesses to showcase their customer service best practices.
“We all really care about customer service,” says Paul Myers-Bennett the vice president of marketing and events for the BBB of Southern Colorado. “It’s important to everyone. But how do you monitor it? That is what this award is all about.”
The EICS award gala is on Thursday, Oct. 21 at the newly reopened Flying W Ranch.
“The rebuild of the Flying W is stunning and it’s about as Covid safe as we can get,” says Myers-Bennett. “It seats about 500 people, but we are just allowing 250 people.” The theme this year is “Iconic Brands. Recharged and Ready to Ride,” and attendees are being encouraged to dress in their favorite western wear. Prices for admission are $135 per person or 4 people for $500. The 2021 EICS Award recipients will be announced at the gala. This year’s applicants for the EICS award are Bob Penkhus Motor Company, Kaiser Permanente, Luisa Graff Jewelers, McCloskey Motors, Inc., Peak Structural, Inc., Rocky Mountain PACE, and WireNut Home Services.
“We’d love to have people come out and celebrate these businesses,” says Myers-Bennett. “There will be free axe throwing if you are wearing closed-toe shoes, and archery in the hour of networking before the awards.”
The EICS award is loosely based upon the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an award that looks at quality management systems. However, instead of just looking at internal processes, the evaluation team is also looking at how businesses serve consumers. Through application and evaluations, each company's customer service systems have a comprehensive review.
“The businesses who apply for and receive this award are organizations that care about their customers,” says Myers-Bennett. “This is a community that cares about customer service.”
Myers-Bennett says one of the best parts of this award is that businesses aren’t competing against each other. Instead, they are essentially competing against themselves. There can be
and usually are, multiple recipients of the EICS award because the goal of the award is for businesses to constantly improve their customer service processes every year.
“This award fits everybody because the businesses are competing against themselves, they are setting their own standard and building upon it,” says Myers-Bennett.
While there are many BBB locations throughout the world, the BBB of Southern Colorado is the only organization that offers this award. Myers-Bennett says the range of businesses is vast with small local businesses as well as bigger organizations receiving the EICS award. Prior recipients for every year can be found in a gallery on the website ANightOfExcellence.org.
“What’s neat about this award is that the vast majority of these businesses who have received it haven’t gone away,” says Myers-Bennett. “Part of the process of having good customer service skills and processes of knowing how to track and get better each year, potentially adds to the longevity of the business.”
Businesses invest a lot of time into the application process to be considered for the award, including submitting a 50-page application. However, they aren’t the only ones putting in the time. The BBB of Southern Colorado says the volunteer evaluators are the backbone of the award process.
“If business owners don’t think they are ready to go through the extensive process, a great way to learn what they need to do is volunteering time as an evaluator,” says Myers-Bennett. “You’re essentially seeing what another business is doing really well, or poorly, and being able to implement that on your own.”
After signing a Code of Conduct Agreement that includes a Non-Disclosure clause, each evaluator spends time reviewing, analyzing, and writing feedback reports. The BBB estimates each evaluator, even if they already have full-time jobs, spends 20 to 30 hours helping with the EICS award process from May to August, and team leads often spending up to 50 hours.
While the application deadlines have passed this year, BBB of Southern Colorado encourages people to check out ANightOfExcellence.org to apply to be evaluators and for businesses to apply for the 2022 EICS award. For this year’s gala, Myers-Bennett says he hopes people have the full Flying W Ranch experience and a chance to celebrate great customer service in the community.
“Join some local iconic brands for one of the longest-standing award events in Colorado Springs, and have fun doing it,” says Myers-Bennett.