The 2010 CRM Service Awards: The Service Elite -- Introduction
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These, as you might imagine, are our favorite stories. 

Favorites, of course, are subjective, but they share at least one characteristic: They’re all impressive in one regard or another—occasionally in several. This year, in fact, the quality of submissions compelled us to expand our set of favorites to include, for the first time ever, a fifth Elite. Even with that, we know there must be other deployments worthy of similar appreciation—but we challenge you to find others that are more worthy. 

These five—across industries as varied as e-commerce, travel, insurance, and technology—represent an exclusive club. Their successes remind us of the possible, and restore our faith in the benefits of service. 

One winner helps its customers purchase more of what they want simply by chatting with them; another serves its customers by sparing them the need to wait on hold. Perhaps most telling, all five display a commitment to engage the customer at the level of the customer’s preference. As social media continues to alter the nature of CRM—especially in the customer-facing support and service sectors—we expect we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of that in our favorite stories.

The five customer implementations named by CRM magazine as the winners of its 2010 CRM Service Elite Award:

  • online retailer Drugstore.com, which took a dose of RightNow Technologies to get better at making its customers look good;
  • network-solutions provider Enterasys Networks, which turned to Salesforce.com to create relationships as well as efficiencies;
  • Infusionsoft, a provider of email marketing software for small businesses, which used an online environment designed by Helpstream to enable customers to provide their own community-based support;
  • insurance giant New York Life, which used a Verint Systems deployment to give its contact center agents something to stick around for; and
  • Southwest Airlines, which, thanks to Virtual Hold Technology, now offers passengers the choice to hang on or hang up.

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