118 Directory Enquiries Awards Winners 2004

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Who are the best of the best in the 118 Directory Enquiries sector? The 2004 Awards hosted by Jenny Powell were held in Manchester on Thursday 21st and the winners have now been anounced.

The inaugural 118 Awards Event was, as promised, an evening full of laughs and high spirits. The audience, made up of key professionals in the directory enquiry sector were kept under control by the very witty Jenny Powell.

“I would again like to thank everybody that was involved and helped to make these Awards a success. We received many suggestions for the 2005 Awards and next year's event will include a conference during the day followed by another night of fun with the black tie Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to all of the winning services - each of the categories were hotly contested and left the judges with a very difficult job!” commented Martin Ashfield Managing Director of Performance House ltd, the organisation behind 118tracker.com, utilitiestracker.com and complaintscentre.com

The judging panel included: Bill Meiran – The Telecommunications Users Association, Paul Skeldon – Contact Centre Link, Megan Smith – 118tracker.com, Kathleen Pierz – Pierz Group, Stu Whitaker – Whitaker Associates and Martin Ashfield.

The 2004 Directory Enquiries Award winners are:

The Best European Service - This Award sponsored by Phonetic Systems recognises the different services that operate across Europe

Handling in the region of 60 million calls per year with databases containing residential, business and mobile numbers, offering FREE call completion, map information, and a “find the nearest” service. Already nominated as a ‘Best Place to Work’ and now winner of the Best European Directory Enquiry Service. The Winner is – ENIRO118118

Best Wholesale Service – This Award sponsored by Retell recognises the need for experience and expertise in delivering directory enquiry services on a wholesale basis. Established in 1904 providing operator assistance for 100 years, and one of the UK's largest integrated telecoms suppliers, this wholesale service provider supports and values their operators, many of whom have been with them for many years. The winner is - Kingston Communications who also run their own service 118 288.

The Best Managed Service Award - With 85% of 118 services being outsourced the management of brand and service levels is key to the success of the service. With a focus on customer satisfaction, service quality, and brand representation, The winner is NTL 118878 provided by Cable & Wireless.

The Best Online Service Award - More and more online services are being made available such as BT.Com, UK Phonebook, 192.Com, YELL.Com and 118888.Com.

The winning online service has 113 million records on their database, and offer: address search, relationship search, neighbour search, maps, aerial photographs, nicknames, and “fuzzy match”. They have also developed: Phone Track – an effective tool in combating truancy and parental fears and People Tracer – tracing individuals you have lost contact with. The winner is 192.com

The Best UK Service (from a mobile) Award – The winner of this Award works closely with many of the mobile networks including Vodafone, O2, and Orange and is the preferred supplier for Virgin Mobile, and have been able to identify a number of key drivers for mobile DQ, with their SMS software being one of the very first used. The winner is 118888 from Conduit.

The Best Associated Product Award - recognises the technology that is required to provide value added services to the consumer. Enhancing current mobile DQ services and setting the stage for delivering the next generation of mobile data offerings. The Winner of the 2004 Best Associated Product or Service Award is Pocket This.

The Most Innovative Offering Award - looks at companies that take the basic concept of Directory Enquiries, and apply thought and imagination, to add value to customers; the nominees for this award have all achieved something that sets them apart from the norm - Matav, Share Communications 118499 and Responsa. The winner of this Award has taken classified searching into a new era. The deserving winner is Responsa.

International Directory Enquiries is perhaps the least talked about of all the services, and yet there are now some 50 International Directory Enquiry Services available to the public. The Best UK International Award - goes to a company that offers one of the cheapest call services and offers a consistently high quality service. The winner of Best UK International is Severn Trent 118 376.

The People's Choice award - was decided from the 118 service that received the most votes from the public. 118Tracker.com received more than 12,000 votes online and over the telephone. The results were very interesting and the top six numbers were: Orange 118000, BT 118500, The Number 118118, Conduit 118888, Maureen 118212 and Yell 118247. The winner has probably the most successful marketing campaign and one of the easiest numbers to remember The People's Choice of 2004 is The Number 118 118.

The most competitive category was the Best UK Service (from a landline). This Award considers the organisation's attitude towards the customer, employees and a focus on ensuring quality. The nominations were, Yell 118247, Maureen 118212 and One-Tel 118111.

With a dedication to service excellence through their approach to quality and performance management, training and recruitment, the winner of the 2004 Best UK Service Award is YELL 118247. Launched in March 2003, with the aim of providing callers with a superior directory assistance experience. Providing A-Z Business, Residential and Government listings, call connection, automatic SMS, full classified with additional service and product information on listings, cinema listings and much more.

To close this fun, highly competitive and exciting evening Martin Ashfield and 118tracker.com presented one last Award. The final Award was presented to The Best Dressed 118 Service.

Martin explained “There were no nominations for this Award as there is and can only be one winner. This years winner of the very exclusive Best Dressed 118 Service award is Gay-Lo 118453.” (Pictures from the evening will be posted online at http://www.118tracker.com/awards.shtml) Johnathon Tyndall collected the Award on behalf on Gay-Lo and praised his hardworking team for providing service excellence at all times and supporting their vision for 118453.

The 2004 Awards have exceeded all industry expectations and next year's event already promises to be a massive success. 2005's event will stand as the International Directory Enquiries Conference and Awards presentation. Performance House and 118tracker.com would like to thank all industry stakeholders for their support and wish congratulations to all the winners.

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Rob Dunphy