Guest Post: The Fanati Award

Rackspace recently gave our second annual Fanati™ award. The award honors the one customer that has best demonstrated excellence when it comes to customer service. Douglas Hanna, one of the contest judges, has written a special guest post about the contest and the winner.

A Fanatical Competition

As a customer service consultant and journalist, I have the opportunity to work with and report on a variety of companies of all shapes, sizes, and specialties.

I first started covering Rackspace in July 2006 and have enjoying following company since then. I have had the opportunity to meet and interview several Rackers and when I was asked to participate in the process of deciding which of Rackspace’s 31,000 customers would win THE FANATI contest award in September, I gladly accepted.

THE FANATI contest has a simple mission: to recognize Rackspace customers who value customer service as much as Rackspace does.

With that goal and my understanding of what Fanatical Support meant to me in mind, I reviewed a small stack of finalist applications and graded each finalist on a scale of one to ten in five areas. To me, Fanatical Support isn’t about responding to emails in a timely manner or being polite (that’s expected in today’s market). Instead, Fanatical Support is about going the extra mile. The companies that have set themselves apart as exceptional service providers are the companies that consistently go the extra mile for each and every one of their customers.

While I didn’t know the names of the companies or specifically what they did when I was judging the applications, I did have some important information: they industry the companies were in, the numbers of customers they had, and the number of employees they had.

The company that ended up winning THE FANATI, The Pangea Foundation, is a relatively small company (12 employees and 1,500 customers), but also a company big enough to understand that Fanatical Support involves everyone being fanatical about service and not just the founders.

I was impressed with how The Pangea Foundation thought about their service mantra, dubbed Client-Intimate Service, in terms of both the abstract and the practical. They knew what Client-Intimate Service and less specifically, a broader “fanatical” approach to service, entailed on both the cultural level and the operational level. This is something that is difficult for many companies to grasp, but because The Pangea Foundation had this understanding, they were able to implement their ideas effectively.

What impressed me most about The Pangea Foundation, though, is their understanding of where they need to go in the future. Their application had a great sentence that is worth repeating: “Extraordinary impact doesn’t happen without effort.”

I’ve mentioned this idea to other people since I read The Pangea Foundation’s application and I think the simple quote sums up an important aspect of Fanatical Support: work hard for your customers and they will show you their appreciation by referring their friends and colleagues.

Douglas Hanna is the founder and a Principal at Service Untitled Group. He blogs about customer service at



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