Tag Archives: Sonora Quest Laboratories


ASU Center becomes a resource to teach service

Customer service was once viewed as the cost of doing business.

“Across almost every industry, leaders are focusing on service as a way to compete in today’s competitive marketplace,” says Mary Jo Bitner, academic director for the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

But times have changed. Companies that are in search of new revenue streams are finding that in addition to providing great customer service, offering value-added services to their product lines are helping their bottom lines. And the help them make the most of the opportunities, many are seeking help from the ASU Center, which focuses on research and executive education in managing and marketing services.

“Customer demand and the competitive challenges posed by the commoditization of many products has pushed many goods-based companies to take another look at services as a source of revenue and profit,” says Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Services Leadership, who has spent the past 20 years tracking the growing importance of services as a product. “Many are following market leaders to become goods-and-services companies.”

For example, Boeing has broadened its offerings by adding the lucrative market of services to its aircraft manufacturing. The Hewlett Packard and Compaq merger created a new company whose major product is services. IBM’s impressive financials over the past decade — in shining contrast to its competitors — were largely the result of its service businesses.

“In 2001, we were launching our first fee-based service business,” says Steve Church, president of Avnet Integrated and chief corporate business development and planning officer. “We wanted to offer more services and solutions. We knew a lot, but there was a lot we didn’t know.”

Church says Avnet’s membership in the center — which concentrates on expanding service innovation by combining the latest scientific insights from the academic world with the best of business strategy in the real world — allowed the company to “build a culture of service excellence that focuses on the customer and gives each a great customer experience.”

The Center, which was created in 1985, remains the only one of its kind in the United States, devoted to research and education in the services field.  Its research findings form the foundation of the Center’s executive education program, attended by managers and executives of leading firms.  Member companies include AT&T, Charles Schwab and Co., Ford Motor Company, IBM, Mayo Clinic and others, who sponsor research, fund scholarships, host MBA student teams and participate in executive education.

Many member companies sponsor research that is published in academic journals, and shared at the Center’s executive education forums. Bitner, for example, has been studying the effects of self-service technologies (SST), working with Ford and a major pharmaceutical benefits management company.

“The Center is really a tremendous resource for any company that has a strategy to to improve customer serve or add services to augment its products,” Church says. “We learned that by getting our employees engaged in customer service, we built customer loyalty, it helped us compete, and it enhanced our financial performance.”


Phoenix AIDS Walk and 5K raises $327K

More than 6,000 participants walked, ran and strolled with their dogs in downtown Phoenix on Oct. 21 to raise $327,379 for 19 Valley-based HIV/AIDS service providers.  Since 2007, AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5K Run has raised more than $1.6 million, which has been evenly distributed by Aunt Rita’s Foundation, the 501(c)3 nonprofit agency that organizes the event.

“We had more walkers and runners this year than ever before and though we didn’t hit our goal of $500,000, we still raised a significant amount of money that will be put to good use by the agencies Aunt Rita’s Foundation supports,” said Aunt Rita’s Executive Director Kit Kloeckl.  “I’d say that raising nearly $330,000 in a very tough economy makes this event a significant success.”

Walgreen’s was the title sponsor.  Other sponsors were:

• Presenting Sponsors: Sonora Quest Laboratories, Univision Arizona, 100.3FM La Kalle, Echo Magazine

• Platinum Sponsors: After Hours Multicultural, City of Phoenix, PMT Ambulance, Platinum: After Hours Multicultural, City of Phoenix, PMT Ambulance, Southwest Airlines, Carefree Resort & Conference Center and Safeway; Gold: Attentive Home Health, just Wink, ONE Community, SWAY Events, Phoenix Pride, Rainbows Festival, Cardenas Marketing and Catch Creative; Silver: Avella, ASU Wellness, Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Arizona*, Scottsdale Healthcare’s FitCity Scottsdale, The State Press, WDP Entertainment, Lodestone Systems, Pride Guide Arizona, Arizona Lottery, Bud Light, and Cultural Sponge

Agencies that benefit from the event are: A New Leaf, The Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Chicanos Por La Causa, Compassion in Action, Concilio Latino de Salud, Ebony House, Heal International, HIV/AIDS Law Project, HIV Care Directions, Joshua Tree Feeding Program, Inc., Maricopa Interfaith HIV/AIDS Alliance, McDowell Healthcare Center, Native American Health, One n Ten, The Phoenix Shanti Group, Project Hardhat, Southwest Behavioral Health Services, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, and Terros

In addition to AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5 Run, Aunt Rita’s signature events include SAVORlife, a month-long event during which individuals across the Valley host dinners for their friends, either at home, at restaurants or even at workplaces.  SAVORlife takes place in March.

For more information about Aunt Rita’s, go to www.auntritas.org.  For more information about SAVORlife and to register as a host, visit www.savorlifephoenix.org or call (602) 882-8675.

Most Admired Companies - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

2010 Most Admired Companies Winners – Customer Opinion

The Customer Opinion category recognizes companies that deliver exceptional customer service.

Winner: American Express
Customer Opinion
Headquarters: New York
Year Est.:
No. of Employees in AZ:
Recent Award:
Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies – 2010
www.americanexpress.com | Facebook | Twitter

video by Sonoran Studios

American Express prides itself on understanding and fulfilling the customers’ needs, and then using the knowledge gained by each interaction to improve the company. One way American Express does this is by calling employees at their service centers “Customer Care Professionals.” They aren’t just service representatives; they are professionals who are the face and voice of American Express. The employees understand that when they take a call, they aren’t just providing cards for payments — they are helping customers achieve their goals, live out their passions and get through tough situations. American Express has delivered customer care from medical evacuations to replacing stolen cards anywhere at anytime to creating unique experiences for customers.

American Express welcomes customer feedback to help create a better, more customer-friendly company. At American Express, a call is not a transaction; it’s an opportunity to create a better relationship with the customer. Customer relationships also have been strengthened by American Express’ hiring technique. The company attracts employees from the retail, sales and hospitality industries who know how to create an environment that fosters strong customer service.

In its 160 years, the company’s core values have instilled a sense of pride in its employees. The employees’ pride in what they do transfers to the customer during their conversations. For three consecutive years, from 2007-2009, J.D. Power and Associates has named American Express highest in customer satisfaction among credit card issuers. American Express also was one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies.

Grant Thorton

Finalist: Grant Thornton
Customer Opinion
Year Est.:
2004 (in AZ)
No. of Employees in AZ:
Recent Award:
Arizona Women’s Top 25 Workplaces for Women – 2009
| Facebook | Twitter

The “Grant Thornton Client Experience” demonstrates the company’s commitment to professional excellence. Employees strive to understand and exceed clients’ expectations, deliver high-quality service, provide valuable ideas and recommendations, show a personalized focus, and provide value. All branches of Grant Thornton strive to exceed their clients’ expectations, but the Phoenix office exceeded the company’s expectations in 2009. Grant Thornton uses a third-party vendor to ask its key clients to evaluate the company’s performance and the client’s service experience. In the audit and tax sections, the Phoenix office scored more than the 8.5 out of the 10 mark the company set as its target goal.

In addition to the Phoenix office exceeding the company’s goal, Grant Thornton has won national honors, including being on the Companies that Care Honor Roll from 2005-2009.  In 2009, Grant Thornton was on Working Mother Magazine’s Top Ten Companies list.

Sonora Quest

Finalist: Sonora Quest Laboratories
Customer Opinion
Year Est.:
No. of Employees in AZ:
Recent Award:
Arizona Corporate Excellence Award – 2009

Sonora Quest Laboratories’ vision is to be “the trusted leader in diagnostic testing and information services.” This vision shows the company’s focus on the customer, whether it be patients, health care professionals or payer groups. The Patient Care Gold Standard, a poster with 17 standards of care, hangs at each service center to reinforce excellent patient care.

Patients are surveyed by a third-party vendor at patient service centers, and this information is shared with employees to improve the patient experience. In the first quarter of 2010, Sonora Quest Laboratories achieved a 97 percent customer satisfaction rating from patients served at the patient service centers. Employees must commit to putting patient care first by signing the Phlebotomy Code of Conduct and the “Our Promise to Our Patients” packet. Sonora Quest Laboratories also shows its commitment to providing superior service and timely, accurate information to its health care clients by using quality tools and principles that improve productivity.

To buy a print version of the 2010 Arizona’s Most Admired Companies
go to MagCloud.com

Arizona's Most Admired Companies November-December 2010

Most Admired Companies - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

2010 Most Admired Companies Award Winners

Arizona Business Magazine and BestCompaniesAZ are honored to unveil the winners of our inaugural Arizona’s Most Admired Companies Awards.

With 43 winners, we think you’ll agree the awards selection committee has done an outstanding job in determining some of the most admired companies in our state.  Our primary goal in developing this program was to find those organizations that excel in four key areas: workplace culture, leadership excellence, social responsibility and customer opinion.  This list features the most prestigious companies in our state, providing us the opportunity to learn from the best.

Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Year Est.: 1991
No. of Employees in AZ: 69
Recent Award: AIA Kemper Goodwin Award – 2009
WEB: www.a-p.com

AlliedBarton Security Services
Headquarters: Conshohocken, Penn.
Year Est.: 1957
No. of Employees in AZ: 1,047
Recent Award: Brandon Hall Research Award for Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management – 2009
WEB: www.alliedbarton.com

American Express
Headquarters: New York
Year Est.: 1850
No. of Employees in AZ: 7,219
Recent Award: Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies – 2010
WEB: www.americanexpress.com

Arizona Charter Academy
Headquarters: Surprise
Year Est.: 2001
No. of Employees in AZ: 61
Recent Award: Elks Lodge Community Partner of the Year – 2010
WEB: www.azcharteracademy.com

Banner Health
Headquarters: Phoenix
Year Est.: 1999
No. of Employees in AZ: 27,528
Recent Award: Gallup Great Workplace Award – 2009
WEB: www.bannerhealth.com

BeachFleischman PC
Headquarters: Tucson
Year Est.: 1991
No. of Employees in AZ: 104
Recent Award: Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work For – 2009
WEB: www.beachfleischman.com

To buy a print version of the 2010 Arizona’s Most Admired Companies
go to MagCloud.com

Arizona's Most Admired Companies November-December 2010