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We are the proud owners of a very new home!

Visit us at http://www.horizonbrands.co.za and we will continue to dazzle you with our wisdom, expertise and marketing tips.

~ Sam



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


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 https://horizonbrands.wordpress.com/contact-us/ – Winner will be chosen Monday afternoon 🙂


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!


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!


Thank you to @flavmartins for this article via http://www.winthecustomer.com :

1. Launching a premature, incomplete or untested product.

There is nothing that annoys customers more than being sold a bug-ridden or incomplete product that was advertised as ready for market. If you plan on doing an early release, make sure to limit the trial to a handful of “test customers” and let them know that the product is still in its testing trials.

2. Blaming customers for their own complaints.

Customers do not like being blamed for the problems they report even if they are the result of their own user errors. A frustrated customer can easily become an angry customer, so just helping them resolve their problem quickly is the best way to defuse these situations.

3. Being unresponsive or slow to respond to customers.

The longer customers wait the more frustrated customers will become and the harder they will be to deal with and keep happy. If you don’t acknowledge them at all, they will likely turn to the internet to voice their complaints and this could become very damaging to your brand.

4. Providing an unfriendly customer atmosphere or business experience. 

Customers hate rude and unhelpful customer service representatives and love to complain about these experiences via social media.