Every morning without fail I make a cup of coffee as soon as I get out of bed. It’s my morning fix and even though I have tried to replace it with Rooibos Tea and Lemon Water, coffee helps to get my day started in the exact way I need it to.

How can the simple routine of a morning cup of coffee help your business deliver effective customer service? I call it the S.M.I.L.E Train and will be sharing a few tips on how to implement it in your business. Regardless of the industry your business is in, a checklist needs to be completed every morning to help get the day started. Trust me, it works, so encourage your Management and Staff to get involved!

– INSPECTION POINTS ( These may vary depending on the layout of your office/store/ working environment)
Entrance – Is it clean, clear of obstructions and inviting?
Windows – Are they clean and open?
Aircon / Heater – Are they set at an appropriate temperature?
Aisles – Are they clean, clear of obstructions and neatly packed?
Till Points – Are they tidy, card machines in place, promotional advertizing displayed neatly?
Desks – Are they clean, diary refelcting the correct date, stationery easily accessible, notepad open and ready for messages?
Telephones – Check that they are working BEFORE you receive a complaint that they are not.

Personal Grooming.
Correct uniform.

Check for any stock shortages or predicted price changes and inform staff accordingly.
Ensure all routes for deliveries or cold calls are planned correctly so as to avoid poor time management or fuel wastage.

Respond to all queries that may have come through during the night.
Schedule tweets, statuses and blog posts for the day in advance just incase you forget to post during the work day.

Most importantly, make sure the coffee machine or kettle is working!

To receive more information on S.M.I.L.E Training please contact us via our Contact Page or email us via portelizabethhorizon



Yup! It is that time of the year again, Christmas time! Those annoying Christmas commercials are playing on your way to work and the temperature has dropped dramatically. Everyone seems to be a little more cheerful and considerate that the holidays are close. Christmas is after all the time to reconnect with all your clients, customers and prospects, but as any person would know, the holidays can also be disastrous.


Instead of paying a web marketing services company to tell you what not to do for your next campaign, actually pay attention to what others are doing! Below you will find four Christmas marketing mistakes your business should avoid so you can be far from a Christmas marketing disaster!

1. Running The Same Campaign Each Christmas: Having a picture of your employees and you at your last year Christmas party all wearing the same ugly sweater was pretty funny the first year considering everyone had way too much to drink. In fact, it had the same impact with laughter the second, but after that you should really consider something newer and more original each year. Christmas campaigns are perfect for your business to have a chance at grabbing all the people’s attention that put the idea of your product or service on the back burner. But, why? It is because these campaigns will remind them that you are a wicked company doing different things that deserve their attention. So do you not think it would be a good idea to get creative with Christmas campaigns each year and not be so afraid of thinking outside the box? When you kick off a campaign that has many components it is a perfect way to keep your content new and fresh.


2. Forgetting To Reach Out To Your Network: Are you not sick and tired of trying to come up with a lame excuse to give a lead a call that you have not spoken to within a few months? Or even you just want to reconnect with all of your customers? Perhaps you want to increase your employees engagement and get the whole gang into a holiday spirit. Regardless, it does not matter who you want to connect with; Christmas campaigns are a perfect way of doing it! It will remind people that your company is out there and will give them a sneak peek into a wicked campaign that is if it is actually interesting! So do not miss out on this valuable marketing opportunity your company can have this Christmas!

3. Forgetting Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas : When the countdown begins it may almost feel like everyone is celebrating Christmas and Christmas only, but you as a business, you need to know that you will also be marketing to various people with different religious beliefs and backgrounds. Remember even though the majority of people celebrate Christmas, there are other holidays being celebrated too such as Chanukkah and Kwanzaa so be sure to be sensitive about other holidays when working on your Christmas marketing campaign.

4. Neglecting To Make Your Campaign Strategic : It truly is easy to create a Christmas marketing campaign. However, developing a strategic marketing campaign to reach your target market, engage with them, and achieve your goals is a lot more difficult. Planning three months in advance, yes in the summer time, is the best way to kick off an amazing, results-driven Christmas campaign. But, first you need to figure out what your objectives are, how you are going to measure your success and who you want to reach out to. Then you will need to develop deadlines to make sure you campaign achieves everything you wanted it to.

Now that you have just read what to avoid when developing your Christmas marketing campaign, what are some campaigns you have seen in the past which you think are the best?

Source – See more at:


It’s FUN FRIDAY! We are looking for customer-service stories & marketing blunders to share on our website.


Funniest / strangest / most popular story receives a free BizBuzz Networking Breakfast Ticket and a Business Feature on our website (Home Page).

Share your experiences via – Winner will be chosen Monday afternoon 🙂


Many thanks to  Quentin Fottrell for writing this informative article found via

Twitter provides consumers a way to publicly air customer service grievances, forcing companies to consider not only the complaint but how it will play among the millions of users listening in. But the social media site is now helping companies make some of those conversations with angry customers once again as private as a call to an 800 number.

For most Twitter users, it’s only possible to send a private “direct message” to a Twitter account that follows them, but the site has slowly been rolling out a way to allow anyone to send a direct message.

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U.K.-based marketing consultant Jim Connolly was one of the latest Twitter users to be offered the service. Under his account settings, he was given the option to click a “Receive direct messages from any follower” box. If it becomes standard, consumers will be able to contact customer service departments, politicians, public advocates and even journalists privately to discuss issues of a sensitive nature — in 140 characters or less. On the upside, “it makes it harder for customer service staff to say, ‘We didn’t see your tweet,’” Connolly says. (A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment.)

It may distinguish real complaints from trolls, Connolly says, and encourage more companies to set up dedicated customer service handles — especially as Twitter prepares to go public. Only 10% of brands respond to public complaints within an hour, a recent survey by data analysis firm Simply Measured found, and the average response time was 5.1 hours. Although 90% of major brands tweet, only 30% have a customer service handle. Connolly liked the option so much, he clicked it himself. “I’ve had about 500 direct messages and only one funny weirdo,” he says.

Also see: Martha Stewart and how not to complain on Twitter

Allowing more direct messages from consumers also gives companies an incentive to deal with a problem promptly — before a disgruntled customer goes public. “Companies really don’t want to get yelled at in public,” says Scott Kurnit, co-founder of, a service that works to remove email spam. “It will be interesting to see how much of the negative traffic goes private or whether people will still enjoy ratting out bad service and products in public.” That said, even private conversations can become public with one screen-grab of the conversation posted as a tweet.

Airing some dirty laundry in public, however, could alert other consumers who are having the same problem, says Kristina Durante, an assistant professor of marketing at theUniversity of Texas at San Antonio. Going public with problems related to your wireless carrier or delivery service, she says, can help drum up support among other users who are having the same problem. Connolly recently used Twitter to deal with a problem with his cellphone service — and had no option but to make his complaint public: “That means that the 7,800 people who follow me probably saw my tweet.”


We promote Good Customer Service at all times, however, we cannot overlook the fact that in all businesses across all industries you will find a certain group of Customers that seem to bring out the worst in you i.e BAD Customers.

Sometimes the art of providing Good Customer Service requires you to FIRE a Customer. Below we have listed a few different types so that you can identify and decide whether or not it is viable to keep them on your database.



– Prolonged Payer – From the first invoice you submit to their accounts department you are faced with roadblocks. Late Payment and Non Payment is a definite reason to FIRE your Customer!

– Chronically Complaining and Overly Demanding – In this Customers mind you will never be able to jump as high or offer as low a price according to their demands. They refuse to value the Good Customer Service you offer and ALWAYS expect more. FIRE your Customer!

– Time, Time, Time – Your time means everything to this Customer and he/she will make sure you are concentrating on their every whim 24/7 via Emails, Telephone Calls, Faxes, Texts, Meetings etc. This Customer wastes your time which could be spent on other Customers so FIRE them!

– Deadline Dancer – No matter how many times you proactively inform this Customer of the information you require in order to meet a deadline on their behalf, they will always wait until the last hour to submit and then expect you to work extra hard to complete the project. This Customer does not respect your advice nor time constraints and should therefore be FIRED!

– Liar Liar, Pants on Fire – This Customer will continuously ask you to lie for them. No need for us to elaborate further on this, get FIRING!

Once you have decided to FIRE a Customer ensure that all the documentation, records, outstanding orders / projects are up to date so that you can hand it to them and further avoid any uncomfortable contact. It is advisable to give a referral to a prospective provider, however, make sure you choose someone that will be able to handle your Customer’s Personality if at all possible.


Here is a list of our favourite Customer Service related quotes. We give a copy of this list to all of our Clients to help keep them inspired. Enjoy!

To my customer. I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it. I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.
– Unknown

If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.
– Unknown

Treat every customer as if they sign your paycheck…because they do.
– Unknown

Your customers expect your entire operation to revolve around them – SAP Ad

Here is a simple but powerful rule -always give people more than what they expect to get.
– Nelson Boswell

There’s a place in the world for any business that takes care of its customers–after the sale.
– Harvey MacKay

Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer – Macy’s Motto

The quality of our work depends on the quality of our people.
– Unknown

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.
– Walt Disney

Washrooms will always tell if your company cares about its customers.
– Unknown

If you don’t genuinely like your customers, chances are they won’t buy.
– Tom Watson

Common sense is of paramount importance in business and customer service.
– Unknown

In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.
– Doug Warner

Never underestimate the power of the irate customer.
– Joel Ross

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
– Roger Staubach

To my customer. I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it. I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.
– Unknown


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!