We just announced the winners of the Voice of the Customer Awards 2010 at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum this afternoon. We received nearly 40 nominations, and the strength of the competition was seriously impressive. A number of trends emerged from across the nominations that show just how much voice of the customer programs have advanced since last year — as described in a previous blog post.

Needless to say, the judging was tough. We graded the nominations based on five criteria: clarity of approach, business results, customer experience impact, degree of innovation, and lessons provided for other firms.

And here are the results . . .

The 10 finalists (in alphabetical order) are:


American Express

American Family Insurance






TW Telecom


The three winners (also in alphabetical order) are:

American Express. The global services firm stood out for its significant focus on employee engagement. American Express trains customer service representatives in active listening, gives them a formal career path, and ties their performance assessments directly to customer feedback scores. These efforts drove a double-digit lift in “recommend to a friend” scores among customers who interacted with American Express through its active listening program, as well as a 10% improvement in service margins.

CDW. The technology solutions provider stood out for its closed-loop listening process that goes beyond service recovery. CDW surveys thousands of its customers annually and creates “hot alerts” to immediately follow up with customers based on their responses. One type of alert notifies salespeople of opportunities to enrich existing client relationships, which drove millions of dollars in additional revenue for the firm in 2009.

Dell. The technology manufacturer stood out for its significant focus on employee and customer collaboration. Dell’s IdeaStorm and EmployeeStorm programs let customers and employees share ideas for new products and services, hundreds of which have already been implemented. The firm also uses customer ratings and reviews to drive product enhancements, and it challenges engineers to earn average ratings of 4.5/5 stars for new products.

Thank you to my fellow judges: Victoria Bough, Moira Dorsey, Harley Manning, and, our guest judge, 1-to-1 Media’s Ginger Conlon. Thank you to all of the organizations that participated. And congratulations to the winners and finalists!