If you're in the business of selling products and services, a content and loyal customer is gold. However, as technology-enhanced, real-time communication grows, a dissatisfied customer is a ticking time-bomb that can do significant damage to your reputation.

Leading integrated business solutions provider, Nashua, recently completed a comprehensive customer service survey to find out just how it measures up in the eyes of their customers. The results revealed interesting insights, as well as an impressive score of 77%. Drawing on their own knowledge and feedback from customers, Nashua has identified seven key steps to improving customer service:

1. Choose the right medium

It's vital to know when to use technology-based services and when to rely on human interaction. An online form or automated response might work for a customer who's looking for efficiency and a quick-fix, but someone who's desperately seeking consolation, advice or assistance won't react well to a machine. Train service agents to know when which form of service is most appropriate.

2. Streamline consultancy

Working with one consultant is invaluable for customers. One point of contact simplifies exchange, makes problem solving efficient and decreases frustration levels. This system also allows consultants to build strong and lasting relationships with clients.

3. Reward valuable customers

Tailored services for long-standing clients, as well as new and existing 'big spenders' is a useful value-add – whether it's additional or personalised services or exclusive benefits. This can result in significant growth and investment from the customer's side.

4. Listen well

'Customer service' often drums up images of sub-par call centres, but valuable support can be offered in so many ways. Social media, if used properly, can be a powerful tool in gaining insights from customers to improve service. Feedback is never diluted and happens in real-time, which is a huge asset, if managed properly.

5. Specialised support

Effective communication is the first tenant of great customer service. This means if your customer service support team isn't speaking the same language as your customers – literally and figuratively – you'll never be offering the best service possible. Make sure your support team is tailored according to region, accents and even vernacular, to ensure a fruitful exchange.

6. First-time fix

As far as possible, make sure customers' issues are resolved the very first time they complain, so clients experience the least downtime and maximise efficiency. First Time Fix (FTF) is a sure-fire way to get repeat business.

7. Follow up

A customer scorned once is dangerous, a customer scorned twice is fatal – and they will not hesitate to make their plight known. Even after the resolution of an issue, there should always be some kind of follow-up communication to check the problem hasn't returned, and the client is happy. It never goes amiss.




If it has your ears and your eyes, then it has your attention. If it has your attention then it has your heart and if it has your heart it will surely have your voice, says MD of 2one2 Business Consulting; personal development coach and a professional speaker Quinton Douman.

Currently, South Africans are being inundated with a barrage of negative messaging from a wide variety of sources and platforms, from news outlets to social media posts.

Anger, insecurity and fear breed anger, insecurity and fear. These three emotions are toxic to your success on any level and can destroy all the hard work that you have put into improving your life or your business; they push you into making defensive decisions rather than proactive ones, spreading the negativity to employees, contemporaries and even family members.

However, if you choose to be anchored in voices and messaging that inspires hope and confidence, then your internal dialogue will reflect that, providing you with the perspective and emotional freedom from which great decisions can manifest, and making you someone others can turn to for positive reinforcement and inspiration.

You may ask: 'But Quinton, how can we have hope and confidence in our country and economy at a time like this?'

My answer to you is - how can we not?

This is one of those times in which an overflow of hope, love and confidence are imperative. And it is in times like this when we need to become selective about the voices we expose ourselves to so as not to be influenced by those whose aspirations and intentions are not in line with our own, or be seduced into repeating and reinforcing them.

Start by implementing a no compromise strategy regarding your consumption of information. Don't read everything in your newsfeed; you need to become highly selective about who you listen to and who you spend your time with.

Find your anchor; this is a good time to go back to the roots of your business - the reason you started it in the first place.

Revisit your strengths and talents - the things you are absolutely great at - and, if you know that what you are good at still has the power to solve problems in society or your business, then use it as your anchor and don't quit.

Reawaken the core values of your business. Walt Disney believed with his whole heart that one could assert one's will on the world. He believed that anything was possible, and his belief in possibility was his highest value, serving as a wonderful anchor in his decision-making.

Quiet periods and lower revenue are to be expected all over, so plan for it; use the time wisely to invest in your personal development as a leader, learn and study more, and encourage your people to do the same. Use the time to solidify your team, engage in activities that will enhance the commitment of everyone to the overall vision of your business, so that when the season changes - and it will change - you will be ready, better equipped and perfectly positioned to win.

There's a lot going on in Mzansi right now; our currency is weak, racism is prevalent and, and increased news sources which consistently publish articles that sow seeds of division and anger in the name of profit, it is easy to feel discouraged - but now is the time to be grounded and anchored in the belief that we will weather this storm and will come out victorious... Nomakanjani!



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