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~ Sam



Today’s Customer Service related lesson is a simple one, yet seems to be overlooked by many Business Owners.

If you treat your staff in a bad manner they will in turn treat your Customers wrongly!

I have seen this happen many a time during my years of doing recruitment for various Corporate Companies across South Africa. I used to take a different approach to recruiting and always tried to look for PASSIONATE people, however it became a challenge as most of the companies I recruited for seemed to have Management and working infrastructures that would kill the lit fire of passion in my candidates once they had secured employment.


Simple. For many people a job is a means of making a monthly/weekly wage to survive. The economy crashes, work increases, wages stay the same. Owners and Management tend to have unrealistic ideals as to how to get the job done and more often then not do not put themselves in their employees shoes. They fabricate an ideal working environment during an interview process yet tend to forget to inform candidates as to how long it may take to replace company stationery / working overtime is something that will “just” happen whether you like it or not / management will be too busy to attend to your emails etc.

How then can you expect your staff to deliver TOP NOTCH Customer Service 100% of the time? Not going to happen.

Business owners take note! If you treat your staff poorly, they will take it out on your customers!


How can YOU take that extra step of service? It could be to work towards satisfying Customer Complaints or to learn how to get difficult Customers on your side. Taking that one extra step towards providing quality Customer Service is a key ingredient when exceeding expectations, for eg :

Ticket Agent :        “Would you like me to select a seat for your return flight now? “
Salesperson :          “I’ll deliver it personally this afternoon.”
Night Nurse :          “Since you are awake, let me find you something to drink.”
Waitress :               “May I bring extra glasses so you can try both wines whilst deciding?”
Hotel Clerk :           “May I call a taxi for you?”
Car mechanic :        “Since your car may take longer than planned, may I give you a lift home?”
76% of the South African General Public EXPECT to be disappointed within the Customer Service Field. They EXPECT to be treated unfairly and they EXPECT a fight. Learn to EXCEED their EXPECTATIONS and you have a Customer for life!


How far back does Customer Service training go, or supposed to go?
Do you remember the first time you went to a bank to open an account on your own, or your first paperwork application form fill out? As daunting as the big bright world seemed then, it was exciting to feel independent, yet terrifying at the same time as immaturity set in.
Now imagine a bank that had a “First Timer” department, or perhaps a Doctors Office providing a “First Time Young Patient” application form, the accounts departments staff would be a lot happier don’t you think?
Matriculants are taught in their final year to start planning for their future, they are taught to think about furthering their studies or to start casual employment to gain experience, yet no one sets out to teach them how to open a bank account, or how to write a CV correctly. Our education system does not allow for them to be taught the basic rules of an interview process, yet we expect them to become stellar waitron staff and offer superb Customer Service at our Local Spur. How??
We teach our young children to be polite, to say thank you and please, to be respectful and have well kept manners at all times. Sounds alot like Customer Service to me???? Yet once they are thrown into the big world at the age of 18 we leave them to fend for themselves whilst expecting them to actively represent restaurants/coffee shops/hotels as “cheap” labour due to their lack of experience.
Business owners then become impatient due to the amount of Customer complaints and fire these youngsters. Great, another person added to my personal Tax contribution. So how can we change this?  Simple :
–  During an interview process with an 18 -20 year old, actively discuss your Company’s Customer Service Standards and Policies, explain in detail why Customer Service is important to you and allow them to ask any question.
–  Once you have hired an 18-20 year old allow them to attend a new employee orientation meeting – talk about the Company history, assign them to a “training/shadow” partner, and communicate to them who your heroes are. End your meeting with a discussion on what NOT to do i.e Lateness, abuse of Company Telephone etc.
This will be the 1st of many steps in successfully training them within Customer Service and will set the tone for their future dealings with customers and colleagues alike.
Contact our team today via portelizabethhorizon@gmail.com to receive further Customer Service related tips and hints.


Sadly, as important as Customer Service is to ALL companies, many don’t afford any time or money towards Customer Service Training.
When we are approached by potential clients to help them identify their Customer Service Training needs we list the following as a “check-list” and encourage them to read through the below to help realise the importance and value of Customer Service Training:
1.       Poor service is the number one reason South African Companies lose business. 68% of Customers stop doing business with a Company because of poor service.
2.       90% of Customers that stopped doing business made no attempt to tell the Company why.
3.       70% of dissatisfied Customers never complain because they believe:
–          It’s not worth their time.
–          The business won’t listen.
–          The Company won’t do anything about the complaint.
4.       The average dissatisfied Customer will tell 9-10 people of their experience.
5.       It costs between 5 and 10 times as much to attract a new client as it does to keep an existing one.
6.       The first 60 seconds of contact establishes a Customer’s opinion about you and your Company – make it a good one, as first impressions don’t come around twice.
7.       Customers will pay more for better service
8.       95% of Customers will do business again with a Company that solved their problems efficiently and satisfactory.
9.       Every single person involved in your business is responsible for sales, and ALL sales result in excellent service.
10.   Customers will tell a business where it needs to improve, listen to them.
After reading the above it will become clear how valuable Customer Service Training is as well as the constant monitoring thereof. Contact us today via portelizabethhorizon@gmail.com for further information on how to assess your Company’s Customer Service Check List.


Horizon Brands has a database of unbiased Mystery Shoppers per region which are sent out into various Restaurants and Retail Stores to conduct reviews. They pose as normal paying customers and asses all facets of a consumers visit for eg : cleanliness of store, merchandising hotspots, staff enthusiasm, product knowledge etc.

Once a purchase has been made Horizon Brands then returns the products bought to the store a few days later to further asses returns / voids systems and procedures. A detailed report is written based on the Mystery Shoppers overall store experience according to a points system.
In the restaurant environment a visit to your establishment is organised during your busiest service times and a report is conducted on all aspects experienced – food, service, ambiance, brand loyalty and presentation.Added to this report is a website and telephonic review which is conducted from our offices and not onsite with the client.
The report is then handed directly to the Owner of the Restaurant / Retail Store and a plan of action is discussed for any areas that may need attention.
For more information or to request a quotation please contact us via :