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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 4 years ago

Holiday spirit in full gear

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Squaremouth, a St. Petersburg-based software firm that compares travel insurance products and prices, is redefining naughty and nice this holiday season.

Squaremouth, a St. Petersburg-based software firm that compares travel insurance products and prices, is redefining naughty and nice this holiday season.

Squaremouth employees compiled a list of 20 customer service employees, people they encounter at local shops and restaurants who are at the top of the field. Each one will receive a thank you note for a job well done with $1,000 cash — no strings attached. “We are looking for people who gave us a really good experience,” says Squaremouth spokeswoman Megan Singh. “These are people who go above and beyond.”

Squaremouth co-founder Chris Harvey, saying he wanted service employees to “know their hard work has not gone unnoticed,” came up with the plan earlier this year. Squaremouth staffers, from Harvey on down, have kept notes on their favorites over the past few months. In December they went out to personally deliver the big tips.

In addition to the 20 separate $1,000 gifts, each recipient will have a chance to receive an additional $10,000 in cash, plus $1,000 for their employer. Squaremouth employees will select the winner of that pot of money, choosing the best of the best.

Squaremouth has set up a website, thankyoucampaign.squaremouth.com, to tell the stories of the winners.

No surprise, the top 20 has been overwhelmed with joy over the gifts. Squaremouth had handed out at least six $1,000 gifts through Dec. 15, including ones to employees at Cassis American Brasserie, 3 Daughters Brewing and Z Grille. On the website, Ashley Van Anne, who works at downtown St. Petersburg restaurant Birch & Vine, writes that her gift “was so unexpected and touching, I have never experienced anything remotely like it.”

Singh says the program has also been a rewarding experience for Squaremouth. The firm, with 16 employees in St. Petersburg and another 10 in an Indiana office, has picked up some momentum in national media exposure this year. That includes a mention in the New York Times as having the most comprehensive list of travel insurance products. “Our focus is always on customer service,” says Singh. “We hold our customer service reps up to a very high standard.”

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