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Cisco and Real Business Crown 2010’s Customer Kings


Britain’s best customer focused firms celebrated

UNITED KINGDOM - Eight businesses from across the UK have been crowned “Customer Kings” as Cisco announces the results of its search to find 2010’s best customer focused firms. Green Energy UK, an environmentally focused energy provider, claimed the prestigious accolade of being named ’Winner of Winners’, walking away with a £5,000 cash prize.

The contest to find the UK’s best businesses for customer engagement, run in association with Real Business, a leading magazine for small and medium-sized enterprises, saw Cisco award the title of “Customer Kings” to eight firms from across the UK and from a variety of sectors, ranging from retail and energy to travel and hospitality. Nationwide Autocentre was also named as the best customer focused “big” business in the competition’s “Commercial” category.

David Critchley, director of Cisco’s UK SME and Commercial division, said: “Once again we found that in spite of tougher times, customer service is still alive and kicking at the heart of UK business. Each and every one of the firms named as a Customer King in 2010 shows innovation and commitment to customer service that is second to none, and we were delighted with the overall standard of this year’s entries.”

From a green energy company that was willing to give half of its business away to its earliest customers, to a child child-friendly travel company that inspects every single property they list to ensure it can accommodate small children, the winning entries each demonstrated an innate understanding of their customer’s needs.

Judged by a panel of business experts including, Simon Nixon, founder of online price comparison site Moneysupermarket and, Real Business’ Charles Orton-Jones, Tricia Philips, business, careers and finance editor for The Daily Mirror and Cisco’s own David Critchley, Customer Kings recognised eight winning companies with eight more celebrated as highly commended.

Simon Nixon commented, “It’s great to see how focused UK SMEs are on seeing the big picture and keeping their customers happy instead of simply slashing costs when things get tough. Not only does it show that Britain’s businesses understand the value of customer engagement but it also proves that the personal touch is no longer just a ’nice to have’ but a vital asset for successful businesses.”
Winners included:

* Green Energy UK – The ’Winner of Winners’ proved to be a stunning entrant, impressing the judges with its drive to be a transparent energy company, leading to the founder and chief executive Douglas Stewart giving half the business away to its first 100,000 customers through an innovative share scheme
* True Lovers Knot – A New Forest pub that transformed itself from an old local inn to the UK’s most disability-friendly pub, including making it staff policy to be proficient in sign language and introducing Braille menus
* Glasses Direct – An online spectacles retailer allows its customers to virtually try on its glasses frames through innovative webcams and software that superimpose the frames onto the customer’s face
* Nationwide Autocentre – The winner in the newly introduced commercial category, Nationwide Autocentre has moved its customer feedback service back in-house and automatically alerts the area manager if negative feedback is received so that they can immediately contact the unhappy customer to offer a solution
* Tots to Travel – An online holiday company specialising in child-friendly accommodation sends a team of inspectors (all mums) to visit each and every property listed on the website so that they can ensure they are safe and properly equipped for young children

For more information on all of the winning and highly commended companies from this year’s Customer Kings competition, please download the Real Business magazine supplement from
Key words:

Customer Kings, Cisco, Real Business, Customer Service, Green Energy UK, Nationwide Autocentre, Tots to Travel, Glasses Direct, True Lovers Knot, Simon Nixon, Charles Orton-Jones, Tricia Philips, David Critchley
About Cisco Systems

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, this year celebrates 25 years of technology innovation, operational excellence and corporate social responsibility. Information about Cisco can be found at For ongoing news, visit

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