DES PLAINES, IL – Wheels, Inc., a leader in the multi-billion-dollar fleet leasing industry, has been named a finalist in three categories for the 2012 American Business Awards (a.k.a. “The Stevies”) for Sales and Customer Service. 

The Wheels Human Resources and Quality Service Coach training teams were nominated together as a finalist in the “Customer Service Training Team of the Year” category.  In addition, the company’s Account Management team earned a finalist nod for “Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and its Driver Services Center was named on the shortlist for one of the “Contact Center of the Year” categories.   Wheels will ultimately win a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Stevie Award in each of these categories.

“Delivering client delight has always been of paramount importance at Wheels, but a growing worldwide emphasis on service excellence amid tough economic times has really created new opportunities for us to fine-tune or systems and processes to ensure that we are always dazzling our customers,” said Christine Steinberg, Vice President of Customer Service Operations for Wheels. “We continue to receive exemplary performance and satisfaction ratings from our clients, and we are proud that the American Business Awards judges have recognized the HR/QSC, DSC, and Account Management teams as being key contributors to that.”

In order to make good on its commitment to providing strong customer service, Wheels starts by providing its frontline driver and customer service representatives with multiple levels of training.  This includes Human Resources training to cover a broad range of topics and basic customer service skills, and then specialized, ongoing quality training and Quality Service Coaching (QSC) applicable to each unique position.  The company’s training curricula focus on helping its customer-facing staff develop proficiency in systems, premier service and core products, with additional training provided as needed for 13 unique products/services, including roadside assistance, vehicle maintenance, accident management and vehicle ordering.  The result is individual expertise in up to 421 different tasks in 38 different areas of fleet management, with mandatory certification assessments required in many areas and success measured through immediate feedback, ongoing scorecards, and regular performance appraisals. 

Ongoing training lays the groundwork for Wheels’ foundation-level focus on strategic account management and customer service, but it’s the company’s unique “multi-layer” Account Management structure that is responsible for the execution of that philosophy – and delivering tens of millions of dollars in cost savings to Wheels clients every year.

Wheels provides each client with a team of Wheels employees (rather than a limited single contact) to directly engage the client’s fleet office.  Each client’s assigned Account Management Team includes an Account Manager (AM) to help the client plan its strategic initiatives and program rollouts.  AMs identify trends, provide analysis and communicate performance results and potential opportunities for improving each client’s fleet.  Wheels also assigns an Account Executive (AE) to each client in order to deliver day-to-day fleet office support.  AEs provide phone and e-mail assistance throughout the workday for matters like ordering support, fleet program questions and more, and are backed by a Client Services team for contingency coverage. 

The Wheels Driver Services Center (DSC) complements the account team by serving as a toll-free, single-point-of-contact support system for our clients’ drivers to assist them with virtually all aspects of vehicle use.  The multi-lingual DSC features a specially-trained call staff of Driver Services Associates that handle hundreds of thousands of calls a year for services like maintenance, collision, fuel and more.  The Wheels Driver Services Centers is among the industry leaders in call response time, service level commitment, employee retention rate and overall client satisfaction.

The Stevies are the world’s premier business awards, and the Sales & Customer Service award segment honors the accomplishments of sales, customer service, and call/contact center professionals across the globe.   This year, nearly 1,000 entries from companies in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration in 65 categories, and less than 40% of all entries submitted were named as finalists.  Award entrants are from all types of businesses – large and small, public and private, for-profit and non-profit.

“We’re delighted to kick off our celebration of the 10th year of the Stevie Awards movement with the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer, which will be the first program in which we’ll bestow Silver and Bronze Stevie Awards,”  said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.  “It’s gratifying and inspiring to have received so many remarkable entries for this year’s competition.  I know the final judges have a tough task ahead of them to determine the Stevie Award placements.”

This year’s winners will be announced during a gala in Las Vegas on February 27.