The Randy Jones Customer Service Award honors current employees by honoring the memory of a past employee.

Good News: Great Customer Service

New England Spas honors former employee through customer service award

Randy Jones worked as a service tech for New England Spas in Natick, Massachusetts, for many years. As he approached retirement, Jones moved to an in-store position, doing administration and helping customers. “He was characteristically noted for his customer service skills and commitment to quality service,” says Norm Coburn, owner of New England Spas.

One of New England Spas’ other technicians created T-shirts for the company’s annual summer picnic; several years after Jones’ death, the technician made a T-shirt with Jones on it. “I asked what it was about Randy that resonated with [this technician] after all these years,” Coburn says. “He said ‘Just the way he took care of customers, his easygoing demeanor with his co-workers, his willingness to be a team player no matter what.’ That’s what sparked the whole idea.”

Coburn heard of another retailer creating an award in honor of an employee. “It intrigued me that you could take someone’s reputation and build on it,” he says. Coburn created the Randy Jones Customer Service Award four years ago to honor team members who exhibit the characteristics Jones was known for, including:

  • Subscribing to the company’s values and mission
  • Handling customer issues in a timely and professional manner
  • Participating in training, both in-house and from vendors
  • Working with vendors and co-workers and taking ownership of a customer issue that might be particularly challenging
  • Receiving positive feedback from customers on a regular basis
  • Availability to teammates
  • Pitching in when necessary
  • Understanding that the satisfactory completion of a task means the customer is happy and willing to favorably recommend New England Spas (“This one is a kicker for us,” Coburn says.)
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New England Spas staff can nominate co-workers or themselves for the award twice a year. A plaque hangs in each of the company’s three showrooms and the operations center that has one of Coburn’s favorite pictures of Jones, sitting in a hot tub smoking a cigar. Recipients’ names are added to the plaque each year. Winners get a personal plaque, a $500 personal check and a $500 donation made in their name to the charity of their choosing.

Rosalie Garver was recipient of the 2020 Customer Service Award; 2021 winners will be announced at the beginning of the year.

“It gives us an opportunity to recognize the employees who produce the highest level of customer care, take ownership of situations and have a lot to offer the company,” Coburn says. “Last year we started meeting as a group [with winners] to discuss areas of opportunity within the company. These guys can make suggestions on things we should be focusing on or doing, opportunities we might be able to capitalize better on. They have some input as to the general operation of the company. They are clearly the most committed people and role models for the rest of the team.”

The Randy Jones Customer Service Award honors current employees by honoring the memory of a past employee.