May 4, 2007 -- An online organic food grocer in Austin, Tex., and a state-certified daycare center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., are among the 10 finalists in this year's National Small Business Excellence in Customer Experience Award, organizers announced this week.

The award, co-sponsored by Dell and the National Federation of Independent Business, recognize small-business owners who use innovative technology to deliver superior customer service. This year's finalists were selected by students at the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate of Management.

"Providing good customer service is vital for businesses of all sizes, especially smaller companies trying to differentiate from the competition," Frank Muehleman, vice president and general manager of Dell's small-business division, said in a statement.

Other finalists included Ashland, Ore.-based coaching service for private-practice dentists, an Alabaster, Ala.-based transaction-management service for real estate agents, and a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based payroll tax software firm.

The winner, who will be named in July, will receive $30,000 in Dell products and a lifetime membership to the NFIB.

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Published on: May 4, 2007