Customer Service Excellence



It was 1989 – a year on the verge of tipping into the last decade of the 20th century, Michael Keaton donned a Batman cape for the highest-grossing movie of the year; social media was not a thing; there was uncertainty and excitement about what the ‘90s would bring; and a time when, according to, the price of a Sony Walkman was $79 (a what?!).

While Generation X and early Gen Ys prepped themselves to say goodbye to the ‘80s, 1989 also brought the creation of the Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Awards program. Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, CSE has recognized thousands of well-deserving individuals for their excellent customer care in Southern Nevada.

Managed by the Las Vegas Chamber, in partnership with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the Customer Service Excellence Awards is a free turnkey program designed to encourage “above and beyond” service in Las Vegas and inspire extraordinary customer care representing hundreds of businesses throughout the community. It is the only valleywide program of its kind and plays a vital role in promoting a strong and positive service attitude, especially among front-line employees.

Thirty years ago, CSE was developed in response to tourist complaints to the Chamber about their visitor experiences. The founding members of the program focused on working with McCarran International Airport to welcome Las Vegas guests and ensure they experienced high-quality customer service. That effort bloomed into the CSE program by honoring the value of recognition, resulting in a win-win for guests, employees, employers and those who call Southern Nevada “home.”

Today, the program continues its tradition in providing visitors, employers and the community a streamlined way to nominate and recognize employees who set the highest standard of service in the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Since its inception, the program has grown annually with record amounts of nominations, administered by the Vegas Chamber. In 2018 alone, the Vegas Chamber recognized more than 6,000 employees across the valley!

Nominees receive an exclusive invitation to a recognition event where a quarterly winner is announced as the Customer Service Excellence Five Star Award winner. During a program year, all nominations are tracked, and recognition is given to those nominees who are recognized multiple times over the course of the program year:

3 to 5 nominations = Bronze
6 to 10 nominations = Silver
11-plus nominations = Gold

The program culminates with a CSE Person of the Year, who is selected from the quarterly Five Star Award winners. The Person of the Year award recipient earns the honor, as well as special prizes at the annual celebration.

The program is easy to implement and fun to encourage. Give your company additional publicity for its commitment to exceptional service and enroll today! To get more information on the program or to enroll, contact Events at or 702.641.5822.

Nominate Someone!

Quarter 2 nomination deadline: Friday, March 29!

There are several easy ways to nominate an individual for providing great service:

  • Send in a nomination card (postage paid)
  • Scan in the special QR code to nominate from your smart phone
  • Fax, email or mail in commendation letters, comment cards, notes, and customer recognition to the Chamber
  • Download the employee tracking sheet and submit by the deadline each quarter.
  • Submit the online nomination form below:

Nominator Information:


  • Achievement Levels

    During a program year, all nominations are tracked. Each nominee is invited to attend the annual Customer Service Excellence Luncheon. Special recognition is given to those nominees that are recognized multiple times over the course of the program year:

    3 – 5 Nominations Bronze Certificate
    6 – 10 Nominations Silver Certificate
    11+ Nominations Gold Certificate

    Five Star and Person of the Year Awards


    Each quarter, the Customer Service Excellence Committee selects one individual that has truly gone above and beyond in his or her efforts to provide exemplary customer service, and awards that individual the Five Star Award. These individuals receive extra recognition at the quarterly ceremonies and special recognition at the annual luncheon.

    2018 Person of the Year:


    Elmo Wedderburn, Southwest Airlines

    The 2018 Quarter 4 Customer Service Excellence 5 Star Winner is Elmo Wedderburn of Southwest Airlines. The Customer Service Excellence Committee was impressed by Elmo’s dedication to customer service and her willingness to make a difference in his customer’s life. Following is Elmo’s outstanding nomination letter:


    “I wanted to write and THANK your company for their kind treatment of my husband, John Martinez. We got word that his mother was suddenly reaching the end of her life. We had limited time as she was not well. We were losing her. I had to get my husband, John, to Florida IMMEDIATELY. As we were throwing clothes into a bag, I got online. I bought a ticket from another airline that was only available. I knew it would be too late and we wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to her. My heart was breaking as we raced to the airport. When we arrived, I tried to get an earlier flight with this airline and they could not help me. The thought of her passing without my husband there, sent us both into tears. In desperation I ran to the SouthWest counter what I was greeted by Elmo … our ANGEL. This man was so kind and FAST. He immediately got my husband on a flight and treated us with so much respect and empathy. Because of Elmo, my husband was able to say goodbye to his mother. He JUST made it in time. I can’t even begin to express HOW MUCH THAT MEANS to our family. My husband was raised by his single mother who came to the United States alone and 6 months pregnant. They never had much and struggled. She worked hard and raised her son by herself to be the most generous, kind and loving man. He has always expressed to me the love and admiration he has for his mother. When we got the call, I knew our time was limited. I was so afraid he would not be able to say goodbye to her and it sent me into a panic. Elmo didn’t need one word of explanation from me. I briefly told him (while crying hysterically) what was happening and without a word, he got John on a flight immediately. The airport can be an extremely stressful place. I have seen airport employees be treated so poorly by people upset about their flights, etc. It has to be an incredibly stressful job. Elmo was BEYOND patient, kind, fast, helpful. .. he is our ANGEL. Thank you Elmo and THANK YOU Southwest for giving my husband the opportunity to say goodbye to his mother and hold her hand as she slipped away from us. I wish i had the words to express my gratitude fully … Thank you, Elmo for what you did for John Martinez that day. Because of you … a wonderful man who grew up with nothing was able to give his mother everything. With all our hearts we THANK YOU. You are our angel. Thank you Southwest for having such an incredible employee. I truly hope he knows what he means to us.”


    Congratulations to Elmo Wedderburn for her outstanding customer service!


    At the annual luncheon, a Customer Service Excellence Person of the Year is selected from the Five Star Award winners of that year. That person receives special prizes and podium recognition at the luncheon.

    2017 Person of the Year:


    Kelly Tieman, Luxor Hotel and Casino


    The Customer Service Excellence Person of the Year is Kelly Tieman of the Luxor Hotel and Casino. Here is a small portion of the many nomination letters she received: “Kelly works for our concierge team, and she was presented with an email from a guest asking if there was anything special that could be done for her husband and twin boys that would be staying at Luxor for a couple of days. After collecting the supplies, she needed, Kelly created a memory that would last with the twin boys. With assistance from the front desk to ensure their room was pre-blocked as well as housekeeping to borrow some linen for the idea. Upon their arrival to the hotel and their guest room, the twin boys and father were greeted with an elaborate sheet/ pillow fort that Kelly created. The boys were so excited, and the father was so appreciative. Kelly continues to go above and beyond in the name of excellent customer service on the daily, and we are so happy to have her on our Luxor team.”


    Congratulations to Kelly Tieman for her outstanding customer service!


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