Help Me Move My Pet

How We Won the 2009 Rackspace Fanati Award

Thursday, March 4, 2010 by Rachel Farris

Today PetRelocation.com got some exciting news:  We were named the winner of the 2009 Rackspace Fanati Award for Outstanding Customer Service.  While we've won several awards over the years, this one is pretty special.  From the Rackspace announcement:

Congratulations to the winner of our 2009 Fanati Award for Outstanding Customer Service: Pet Relocation.com! Not only do they talk the talk; but they walk the walk when it comes to customer service. Pet Relocation is exactly that…relocating your pet (with your permission of course). PetRelocation.com has built a successful business around their tagline of ‘Any Pet, Anywhere, Any Time.’ Moving is such a hassle to begin with; it’s even more stressful when animals are involved. That is why PetRelocation.com focuses on customer service as a way to create a stress-free experience for relocating their customer’s pets.

One customer wrote, “I transported a seven year old bulldog from San Francisco to Chennai, India. First, they gave me all the information I needed about the logistics and risk involved. They were friendly, patient with my endless questions, and above all honest. Second, they took care of all the paperwork — which is extremely tedious in a place like India – with speed and efficiency. It was almost painless. Third, they did a wonderful job actually transporting my dog, who arrived here in great shape. Finally, I always felt that my dog’s well being was as important to them as it was to me. That doing the right thing, and doing it well was their first priority. Profit was secondary. I will always recommend them highly to anyone I know.”

That’s what Rackspace looks for in customer service. Putting the needs of the customer first.

So how did we win? Well, first we had to make a video.  We found out about the award about a week before the deadline, so it required quick-thinking and some serious "fanatical" teamwork on our part to put together something fun that reflected our dedication to customer service.  It just so happened that about a week earlier we received a video one of our customers filmed on their iPhone showing their dog, Dudley, arriving in Hong Kong.  We decided pretty early on that we wanted to make a video that incorporated the clip to show just how important these four-legged clients are and why our customer service has to reflect that.

Then we had to get our PetRelocation Specialists on board.  They're busy guys and gals who spend most of their time booking flights and double-checking vaccination records and some of them were initially a little camera shy.  We tossed around some ideas of how we could show customer service and then just decided to let the work our Specialists do on each pet move speak for themselves.  It was the first week on the job for our recently hired New Media Coordinator, John, so he sat down with them to ask some new, different questions to get them to spill their above-and-beyond pet moving stories on-camera.

 After we submitted our video, we were selected as a finalist along with ten other companies.  The ultimate winner would be assigned a score based on customer feedback and the three judges' opinions of the video, so Rackspace sent us a survey to send to our past customers.  This was probably the easiest part of the contest but also the most important!  The feedback our customers sent to Rackspace was incredible.  They told stories of how we moved with pets during hurricanes, made sure pets arrived clean and happy and coordinated between all sorts of family members and agents to make sure everything went smoothly for each pet.

We're thrilled to have been named Rackspace's 2009 Fanati Award winners.  Customer service is ultimately about providing superior solutions that might not always be included in the fine print of whatever contract you sign up for.  Companies who value customer service tend to gravitate toward each other, which is why we chose Rackspace for our hosted services to begin with.  Rackspace has immediately been there for us ever since.  For example, one of their engineers, Robert Taylor, spent nearly five hours with us on the phone one day when our database went buggy.  It wasn't a Rackspace problem, but it became Rackspace's solution.  PetRelocation.com is about providing solutions for any pet, anywhere, anytime.  Since wrapping up our video, one of the lines from it has stuck here in our office as our new customer service battle-cry whenever one of our Specialists goes above and beyond:  "That's what makes us great. That's what makes us fanatical."

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