Phil Rothwell is an ecommerce expert with more than 20 years’ experience helping retailers to sell online. He was there at the beginning of ecommerce and played a leading role in growing Actinic Software from dot com start-up to floatation on the London Stock Exchange
Winning an award is great news
In January each year, Feefo announce their Gold and Platinum Service Awards and I am pleased to say that some of our clients are regular winners. Other service feedback consolidators do much the same thing.
If your company has won an award before, then it is not always apparent what you should do about it. To be honest, it is easy to be a bit sceptical about these kinds of things and somewhat dismissive of them.
I have been fortunate to work for a number of companies that have won gongs for a range of different products and services, from Deloitte to PC Magazine. In fact, in 2000 I was awarded the accolade of being one of the UK Top 50 People Shaping the Internet, by Internet Magazine and, at the time, I was chuffed about that.
What I have learned is that awards make a difference, so long as you make the most of them. They provide a brick in the foundation of your credibility to new customers, and reassurance to old ones. If you have won one, then here are some thoughts about what to do next.
Celebrate the moment
I have worked for people who did not like to acknowledge success for reasons ranging from superstition to stupidity. At times I may even have been one of them.
Don't be like that.
Business is hard work at the best of times and moments of obvious success are usually sandwiched between long periods of what can seem like fruitless endeavour. You owe it to your business and your staff to pause and reflect on a job well done.
This is a great opportunity to award people with a bonus, or some kind a celebration, even if it is just a tray of cakes and a thank you email. Your team will appreciate the gesture, and some will set their sights on doing it again.
Tell everyone about it
Where once you may have offered "great customer service", the softest selling point known to humanity, you can now offer "award-winning customer service" which is independently verifiable.
You can announce the news by email and put the award logo in a prominent place on every page of your website and all your business documents.
You don’t have to brag about it, just make sure everyone knows that you take it seriously.
Use it as leverage with your suppliers
One of the downsides of the pandemic is that it has increased the number of competitors in every market. This may be bad news for you, but your suppliers may well be enjoying the extra attention and sales.
Use the award as evidence when you remind them that you are a trusted channel to market. Also use it to get the attention of potential suppliers who, thus far, have not taken you seriously enough.
Remember that some accolades last forever
Your first award changes everything. The moment you received it you became an award-winning company, and from now on you will always be an award-winning company. The change in status is immutable.
Of course, some awards have sell-by dates. If you won a customer service award in 2018, then bragging about it in 2020 is not a good look. However, an award dated 2021, should see you well into 2022 – 18 months is a long time in ecommerce, so make the most of it.
Be prepared to become more popular
Winning an award makes your business more credible and can put you in the public eye. As a result, you will receive more attention from people trying to sell you products and services. Some of the attention will be unwelcome, but not all. Keep your eyes and ears open for good opportunities that might find their way to your door.
Remember this is good news
All public exposure comes at the cost of increased scrutiny and attention, some of which may be undesired, but overall, it is a good thing. Every plaudit you receive for your business from a credible third party reinforces the platform from which you sell – not just to current and future customers, but suppliers as well. Managed carefully, awards can also motivate your team and move your business to a whole new level.