Unless you have been living on a desert island you cannot have missed the media coverage and fulsome accolates surrounding the resignation of Sir Alex Ferguson from Manchester United.
Many would profoundly disagree with his idiosyncratic and aggressive management style - which included furious ‘hairdryer’ post-match bawling out sessions and the infamous incident where he lobbed a football boot at David Beckham and hit him in the face. However few could criticise the results he obtained for the club he led for almost 27 years and the world-class performances he wrought from the players he managed, including more than a few mavericks who might have struggled to fit in under a different manager.

For Sir Alex, the outpouring of praise and widespread acknowledgement of his managerial skills must be all the more welcome as it comes while he is still alive rather than posthumously as so often is the case.

Recognition was also the theme of another media story this week - this time for naval veterans who fought the ‘Battle of the Atlantic', the longest continuous military campaign of World War II. Servicemen fought valiantly to keep vital supply routes to Britain open, battling in the roughest sea conditions, with tens of thousands paying the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately, the survivors and the families of those who lost their lives did not receive medals or gratitude until now - the 70th anniversary of the climax of the battle when their heroic contribution is finally being recognised.

During this difficult climate it is easy to forget about the importance of recognition as pressures of business demand a greater degree of effort, sometimes without tangible returns. Consumers are understandably looking for better deals, more likely to complain and generally looking for more reassurance. It requires us all to shape and deliver service in a more empathetic way and it entails even greater efforts on the part of our people.

At CCA, recognition and reward is very much on the agenda with our Excellence Awards programme going from strength to strength each year. We anticipate more entries than ever as we approach the submissions deadline of 31 May. Complaints handling is a particularly important category - arguably even more so currently because of the tough economic climate and the changing nature of customer behaviour and attitudes.

Complaints handling processes and techniques are becoming a recognised science as organisations wake up to both the opportunities to delight customers by better handling and also to the pitfalls if they fall short on this measure. Customers are increasingly likely to vent their frustration on social media or appeal to regulators - both of which can result in significant reputational damage for a brand.

This year, for the first time, members have a unique opportunity to showcase their triumphs in this area before a television audience as our Excellence Awards will be filmed for a TV documentary which aims to highlight the growing complexity of complaints handling. Winners will in effect achieve double recognition - within our sector and before a wider world and the opportunity is open to both private and public sector organisations - so start telling us how good you are at it now before the opportunity passes. For more information on CCA Excellence Awards click here.