We are very proud to announce that our fearless leader, Christine Perkett, was officially selected as the 2008 Stevie Award Winner for the “Best Communications, Investor Relations, or PR Executive” category! For those interested in a replay of the event, the Business TalkRadio Network aired a live broadcast of the ceremony and will be making the recording available via the American Business Awards site soon. All of us here at PerkettPR are incredibly proud of Christine and this accomplishment.
Today PerkettPR is announcing a major milestone for our company – our 10th year of business! What makes this interesting though, isn’t just the years, but the resilience of the virtual model that our company was built on and that we continue to embrace – while companies and their employees are just starting to get comfortable with the idea of virtual working, PerkettPR has been pioneering the concept since 1998. Only recently, have other companies been warming to the idea of letting their business professionals work from home as marked by the recent articles in major publications touting the “new” concept that a central geographic location is becoming less of a necessity for the modern day web worker. But PerkettPR was built from the ground up with an all-senior team that physically spans both coasts and all regions in-between; with almost 30 employees located across nine states, we continue to thrive as a virtually operated company.
Our 10th year is beginning on the heels of our most successful year to date – 2007 was an extreme growth year for PerkettPR with an expanding client roster and a 50% increase in staff and revenue. We have added several new clients worldwide including companies in Web 2.0, healthcare, enterprise software and telecom markets spanning Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. – including businesses such as Aternity, Constant Contact, Mailtrust, Sosius and Mzinga and we have enhanced our Partner Program with marketing and design agencies, Internet technology experts, and international PR firms.
In addition, although we have always been first adopters of technology and concepts that will help us to more successful in working virtually, 2007 has been the year that we have truly embraced social media initiatives for both ourselves and for our clients. Jeremiah Owyang recently stated, “I can’t imagine ever advising a client to deal with an advertising, PR, or interactive team that doesn’t get social media. But with the power shifting to the participants, agencies must demonstrate they can participate before they can ever help clients with it.”
PerkettPR truly believes in this concept and agree with Jeremiah that “the agency of the future is a “connected” one.” We have taught ourselves first, and then helped our clients to engage at many level. In the past year and a half, we have made additions such as the agency’s corporate blog, PerkettPRsuasion, a corporate Twitter presence, @PerkettPR and Facebook group – to join and start engaging influencers in more meaningful conversations for the firm and its clients. We have also driven new media and viral campaign elements for clients including blogging, screencasting, viral videos, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn campaigns, interactive video channels and more.
We believe strongly in making sure we feel comfortable in the space so that we can help our clients – we even hired a Social Media Director, Jeff Glasson that works with our clients with how to participate in social networking and he comments on social media topics on our blog and on others.
PerkettPR has also embraced the social media and the tech communities by sponsoring several TechCrunch events in New York and San Francisco, and most recently, the TechCrunch Boston MeetUp where the agency executed the planning, promotion and sponsorship coordination – bringing arguably the hottest Web 2.0 networking event to Boston for the first time ever. PerkettPR also has worked closely with other new media thought leaders, such as Sarah Meyers at Pop17.
Our team is very proud about this milestone and the steps we have taken to not only be a “poster child” for the successful virtual model, but also for our leadership in social media initiatives for ourselves and our clients.
And 2008 is looking even better!
With all the do-it-yourself technologies prevalent in today’s Web 2.0 environment, customer service is very often stripped down to an IM chat or email. Often it’s impossible to get a human on the phone when you most need it, and when you do happen to “catch” a customer service representative, cultural barriers, sour attitudes and long processes tend to prevail. Now, more than ever, customer service matters.
One of our clients, Constant Contact, has always recognized this – their entire culture is built around taking care of the customer. Personally, we’ve experienced some great customer service this month from other vendors – and as a small business, it’s great to be treated with the care, respect and importance that is often only reserved for large customers.
We had to order a rather large supply of light up glasses for the TechCrunch Boston MeetUp. We called a vendor we had used before and when we were negotiating some timing/pricing issues, the approach was a threatening “we may be more expensive, but you’ll regret it if you don’t use us” attitude. That doesn’t play well with us, so we tried a new vendor, Promopeddler. Promopeddler won our business due to their sales rep, Laurie. Laurie’s approach was not only that she was grateful for our business but she went above and beyond with her customer service. She was truly the reason they won our business.
Laurie was proactive, persistent and consistent – all the way past the point of the glasses being delivered. She provided extensive contact information, contacted us daily to let us know the status of the rushed order, called us when she thought a color aspect could be better – and provided a recommendation – and even followed up to ask us how our event was and if the glasses worked out. Our customer experience was so outstanding due to this woman that as long as she’s there, we’ll be a customer. We noticed they made the Inc. 500 “because we give personal service with every order.” Yes – they really do.
We had a unique situation to solve with some BlackBerry purchase from Verizon. It required getting on the phone with some customer service representatives, which is not always a very positive experience. However, one customer service representative, Anthony in New York, made all the difference today. He was very clear every step of the way through the process and he was so personable we ended up chatting about baseball and football – and even though he was a dreaded Yankees fan and we are diehard Red Sox fans (most of us, anyway), we felt like a customer that mattered. Anthony made a time consuming process not only bearable but even entertaining – and experiences like that stick with your customers, so they stick with you.
The point here is that yes, the Internet provides a mostly do-it-yourself marketplace and opportunities to communicate without ever saying a word. But positive, helpful and verbal human connections are still important ways to make your brand memorable – and your customers loyal.
The Stevie Awards for Women in Business were announced today and of course we send out personal congratulations to our client Constant Contact – winner of Best Entrepreneur – Non-Services Businesses – up to 2,500 Employees. Constant Contact, led by Gail Goodman, has a laser focus on delivering the best customer service and intuitive email marketing and interactive communications offerings for SMBs – and it’s great to see their hard work recognized. Congratulations!
Other interesting companies who won or were finalists in their categories include Care.com – a new place to find a baby or pet sitter; SheSpeaks – a national network of women who share their feedback and influence products, services and issues on the world around them; and The Baby Planners – a concierge and consulting service that caters to the needs of expectant parents.
It was great to see a variety of regions represented by the winning companies – from coast to coast, interesting emerging start ups and tenacious executives are profiled. For a full list of winners and finalists, visit The Stevie Awards.
Constant Contact has met success by keeping a laser focus on a few simple guiding principles: outstanding customer support and easy one-to-many communications. The company’s email marketing and online surveys are not only easy-to-use and customize, affordable and effective, but the customer service is outstanding. The company’s support personnel is readily available in various ways – via phone, email or chat and it also provides a comprehensive online Learning Center that covers tips and tricks and announces schedules for webinars, regional training events and more.
Today’s future-thinking Web 2.0 community could learn a lot from Constant Contact – simplicity, easy access (try the product free for 60 days, no strings attached) and customer service still rule, even in an era of “do it yourself” technologies. Just ask the company’s more than 130,000 small business customers.