The 9th annual CRM Magazine Service Awards winners were published in the March 2012 issue of the magazine. I like these awards. The reason I like these awards is because no money changes hands before awards are bestowed. I also like them because there’s only one winner in each category. Although this may rub against the grain of the Millennials who grew up with a collection of “Participant” trophies lining the shelves in their bedrooms, I think it’s entirely appropriate for the contact center industry. It’s a good way to recognize exemplary company performance in terms of product offerings and service to the industry.
The CRM Magazine Service Awards is one of the few award processes I’ll participate in these days. I used to participate in the “Best of Show” award processes many years ago at trade shows like ICCM. No money exchanged hands there either, except I suppose the money the show organizers received selling booth space. But when it came to judging it didn’t matter if you had a tiny booth in a dark corner or a two-story extravaganza a la Nortel trade show booths back in the day. Companies were judged on the merits of their products, not whether or not their check cleared the bank. CRM Magazine upholds this same standard, which is why I participate and why these awards are significant achievements and not just marketing fluff.
For the second year in a row Cisco has been awarded a CRM Magazine Service Award in the Service Leaders category. After being named "The One to Watch” in the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) category in 2010, Cisco captured the top spot in 2011. This is a particularly noteworthy achievement in that Cisco didn’t even place in this category just two short years ago
A year or so ago I heard Cisco’s John Hernandez specifically point to IVR as a market Cisco had targeted for industry leadership. I wasn’t sure how they were going to accomplish this feat but as Cisco’s Web 2.0 strategy, which underlies the Customer Collaboration Suite, became clearer, so did the reasons behind Hernandez’s assertion that Cisco could capture IVR market leadership.
Competition will remain tough for Cisco in the IVR market and there are companies nipping at Cisco’s heels, but the fact that Cisco has made such noteworthy advances in its IVR strategy that it convinced the panel of objective judges to award this recognition is a significant accomplishment in itself.
The CRM Magazine Service Leader is one of the few industry awards worth having. Most of the contact center industry awards floating around the industry today aren’t worth the plastic they’re molded out of. Any company that receives an award given by a panel of unbiased judges has a reason to be proud. Cisco should be proud to fall into this category.