SOURCE: Sage Software

May 31, 2005 16:00 ET

Sage Software's Timberline Office Customer Support Department Is Named Finalist for American Business Awards Best Customer Service Organization

The Department's 'Focus on the Customer' Initiative Gains Further Recognition, Joins Elite Companies Nationwide Honored With Finalist Status

BEAVERTON, OR -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 31, 2005 -- Sage Software (formerly Best Software) announced today that its customer support department for the Timberline Office product suite has been named a Finalist in the Best Customer Service Organization category in the third annual American Business Awards competition. More than 20,000 businesses currently rely on Sage Software's Timberline Office, a suite of fully integrated financial and operations software created specifically for construction and real estate professionals.

Hailed as "the business world's own Oscars" by the New York Post (September 22, 2002), The American Business Awards are the first national, all-encompassing business awards program honoring great performances in the workplace. The awards are nicknamed the Stevies™ for the Greek word "crowned."

Winners will be announced during presentations on Monday, June 6 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The ceremonies will be videocast on the Internet and broadcast on radio. Donald J. Trump will receive the first Lifetime Achievement Award that evening.

More than 1,200 nominations from companies of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration in more than 40 categories, including Best Overall Company, Best Executive, Best New Product or Service and Best Support Staffer.

From Sage Software's Timberline Campus in Beaverton, Oregon, 100 fulltime agents handle on average nearly 23,000 technical support calls and email requests monthly from Timberline Office customers, consultants, and business partners. About 95% of the calls originate from North America.

Timberline's customer support selection as a Finalist stems from the department's ongoing, employee-driven "Focus on the Customer" initiative. The program has made substantial gains since its inception in 1999, and overcame particular challenges in 2004. Those challenges included maintaining traditionally high customer satisfaction scores while supporting major product introductions requiring broader staff skill sets, the introduction of unlimited call support as a service option, and limited staffing.

In 2004, employee teams tackled customer satisfaction and quality monitoring, initiated a new quality monitoring program, further honed call handling and routing, and refined the Technical Support Knowledgebase, a Web-based repository of self-help support.

As a result, by early 2005, customer satisfaction had reached a new high of nearly 95%; customer use of the knowledgebase rose to more than 125,000 requests in 2004, more than double the previous year, thus easing the number of potential calls; support analyst productivity increased 18%, resulting in more efficient customer service, including a reduction in call abandon rates from 9% a few years prior, to only 5% of calls; and enhanced employee experiences were reflected in a 98% retention rate for 2003-2004.

Also in recent months, Timberline Office customer support was named one of nine world recipients of the Call Center of the Year Awards, by Call Center Magazine, and earned a fourth consecutive Support Center Practices (SCP) Certification, an earned industry designation that ensures high performance in customer support.

For more information about Timberline Office software products and services, please view www.timberline.com or call 1-800-628-6583.

About The American Business and Stevie Awards

Hailed as "the business world's own Oscars" by the New York Post (September 22, 2002), Stevie Awards are conferred in three programs: The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, and The Stevie Awards for Women Entrepreneurs. Honoring companies of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about The Stevie Awards at www.stevieawards.com.

About Sage Software (formerly Best Software)

Sage Software offers leading business management products and services that support the needs, challenges and dreams of more than 2.4 million small and mid-sized customers in North America. Its parent company, The Sage Group plc (London: SGE.L), supports 4.5 million customers worldwide. For more than 25 years, Sage Software has delivered easy-to-use, scalable and customizable applications through its portfolio of leading brands, including Abra, ACCPAC, ACT!, BusinessWorks, CPASoftware, FAS, MAS 90, MAS 200, MAS 500, MIP, Peachtree, SalesLogix, and Timberline Office, among many others. For more information, please visit the Web site at www.bestsoftware.com/moreinfo or call (866) 308-BEST.

© 2005 Sage Software. All rights reserved. The Sage Software logo and the Sage Software product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software or its affiliated entities.

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