Tag Archive: Sage South Africa


With the official launch of the Tax season on 01 July 2013, taxpayers once again need to file their tax returns within the SARS deadlines if they are to avoid fines or penalties.

Manual returns must be posted or delivered to local SARS branches by 27 September 2013 while non-provisional taxpayers may use SARS eFiling until 22 November 2013. Provisional taxpayers have more time and may submit electronic returns via eFiling until 31 January 2014.

Philip Meyer, technology director of Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, encourages taxpayers to start getting their tax documentation into order as soon as possible.

“They should start gathering proof of contributions to Retirement Annuities or private pensions and medical schemes, investment income, dividends and lump sum payments as the earlier the return can be finalised and submitted, the better. Rather be well prepared and avoid the stress that accompanies the last-minute rush.”

Taxpayers receiving remuneration of less than R250 000 may choose to not submit an income tax return. However, they need to meet the following criteria: their remuneration must be from a single employer and for a full year of assessment (1 March 2012 to 28 February 2013), no allowance was paid from which employees’ tax was not fully deducted and no further deductions need to be claimed or income declared.

SARS announces its tax season every year and it is during this period that individuals must submit their annual return.

On Monday (01 July 2013) the individual tax filing season was launched by SARS and on the first day,  the SARS eFiling website struggled to handle the volumes of eFilers logging in to file tax returns.

“Thousands of returns were filed on Monday and the volume may have caught SARS by surprise. Traditionally, taxpayers prefer to wait until the last few days of the filing season to get their tax returns done and this is normally the time we expect the eFiling website to start stumbling under the pressure,” said Meyer.

SARS has acknowledged via their website that they are aware of the technical difficulties being experienced by eFiling and that their technicians and service providers are investigating the network issues.

If you want to confirm whether you are one of the individuals exempt from filing this year, access the following link from the SARS website, http://bit.ly/15a37Gp

SARS has adopted a more user-friendly approach and has published a Tax Season 2013 electronic guide that can be easily accessed on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za enabling an electronic version to be quickly downloaded.

Taxpayers are being offered SARS assistance with their returns through a number of channels to ensure that tax returns are submitted accurately and on time with minimal effort. A Help-You-eFile service has also been launched by SARS.

“The Help-You-eFile service provides taxpayers with access to contact the call centre agents while the taxpayer is online. Agents are able to see what taxpayers are doing and can assist with the completion of the tax return,” says Meyer.

SARS also caters for mobile technology, enabling individuals with mobile devices to file their returns from their smartphones and tablets.

“Taxpayers will also be able to view eFiling videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to register for eFiling, complete and submit the IRT12 tax form, accompanied by supporting documents if these are required. SARS has said that eFilers will receive their ITA34 assessment and statement of account within a few minutes of submitting the return.”

Finally, taxpayers who may have forgotten their eFiling login or password will be able to request their login name and reset their password.

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. on Twitter (Payroll News), LinkedIn, Facebook.

Philip Meyer

Philip Meyer

By Phillip Meyer, Technology director Sage Pastel Payroll & HR

Connected Services enables SME companies to extend their desktop payroll with an online solution that eases the growing burden of HR managers and payroll administrators.

Connected Services includes a web-based self-service tool that enables employees to manage and maintain their own information online, thereby carrying some of the overall HR administration responsibility. They are able to make online applications for leave, loans, bursaries, travel claims, view their payslips and update personal information no matter where they are so long as they have an internet connection.

The adoption rate of online business software for new entrants into the market is increasing, posing the question of how to bridge the gap between the growing trend towards online software adoption and the traditional desktop application users in the same market segments.

The advantages and conveniences of connected services assist with expediting the many benefits of dual-deployment business software models such as client-side hosted applications with significant connected services capabilities and functionality, together with a seamless upgrade path to ultimately complete cloud-based models facilitated by vendors.

Connected Services has workflow capabilities based on the organisation chart or specific workflow orders per online form. Once an employee applies for leave online and it is management approved, the payroll & HR systems are automatically updated. The software also provides for leave scheduling, particularly practical over traditional December holidays when “skeleton staff” is required. The programme helps to manage minimum staff levels by providing system warnings.

When applying a connected services solution such as Self Service, companies should consider a hosted solution.  This guarantees quick deployment at low implementation cost, meaning companies do not have to invest in additional infrastructure to host the online application. All a company needs is an internet connection and a computer.

Frictionless (automated) payroll legislative updates
Frictionless updates are another example of connected services. This functionality enables traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user of the software.

Users no longer need to visit a website to download and install updates or CD versions manually as the connected services functionality does it all for them, directly from their payroll software. The days of CD-based updates and disruptive installation and implementation cycles are over.

RSS Feeds within payroll software
Another component of Connected Services allows HR managers and payroll administrators to receive RSS feeds to their desktops notifying them of legislative and tax changes as well as new system software releases so that the company is always on track and up to date.

The internet and, more specifically, cloud-based and online business applications constitute some of the most compelling opportunities for streamlining the way business is now conducted. It is reassuring that the optimisation of internet capabilities will almost certainly not amount to a one-size fits all model.

It is rather the incremental evolution of traditional desktop software, leveraging the internet where it is appropriate and business enhancing, that is playing an important role in the evolutionary shift to complete cloud-based business software provisioning, billing and deployment. This is providing a flexible and extensible migration path to the cloud, taking into account preferences of individual business requirements, as will pure cloud-only offerings.

Reduce payroll fraud and bank rejections with automated payroll software
Opt for a payroll vendor that can offerID number and bank account validations, as well as Employee Credit Checks and the delivery of secure salary EFT payments directly from the payroll software.

Companies need to take steps to avoid paying fake employees and can reduce payroll fraud and bank rejections, ensuring that they avoid stalling when processing salary payments. By combining monthly employee ID Number validation and verification with monthly bank account validation and verification together with secure payment services, companies  ensure that not only are they paying the correct employee through the correct bank account, but also that the payment is expedited in the most secure manner possible.

By validating and verifying the ID Numbers on the payroll, companies create complete peace of mind in the knowledge that not only has their employee provided a valid ID Number but also that the ID Number has been verified as belonging to the associated employee and is recorded on the Department of Home Affairs list of official ID Numbers. This eliminates both fake ID Numbers as well as ID Numbers not associated with the given employee.

With secure salary EFT payments, payment batches can be created automatically within a payroll system without creating the infamous “text files” which on some payroll systems needed to be stored on the hard drive of the Payroll Administrator’s computer and then forwarded or transferred to the authorised user of the banking software for transmission to the relevant bank. Avoiding editable payment  text files improves efficiency and eliminates yet another potential area for payroll fraud, ensuring a tamperproof payment is imported into the banking software.

By performing credit checks on employees, companies and Human Resource managers are provided with valuable information on existing and potential employees including judgments, defaults, notices / alerts, fraud listings / indicators, marital status spouse details and all residential address details. Reports can sourced from the three main credit bureaus in South Africa, namely TransUnion, Experian and XDS.

For more information on in-payroll software ID Number and Bank Account validation and verification services, contact Sage Pastel Payroll & HR and enquire about their Sage Pastel Connect Module.

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. on Twitter (Payroll News), LinkedIn, Facebook.

By Keith Fennersenior vice president for sales at Sage ERP Africa.

Companies need to be efficient, save time and costs, when it comes to the production and distribution of documents, such as invoices, remittances, statements, quotes and order confirmations

Sage ERP Africa’s electronic document distribution solution, Spindle Professional, now makes being efficient as a business so much easier because it enables business users to improve their practices and to streamline and automate all communications. It also helps the organisation to reduce their carbon footprint by going paperless.

The Spindle Professional software helps the small and medium sized business to instantly distribute multiple documents via email and to automatically print, fax and archive it as PDF documents. It is versatile, can be utilised by a number of departments across an organisation including Accounts, Sales, Marketing and Customer Service functions and it integrates with accounting, CRM and other systems. The software also enables organisations to create professional-looking documents, including the company’s logo and branding.”

How does it work? – A practical example:

Angela raises a sales order and prints it to Spindle Professional. John (the customer) gets an order confirmation as a PDF, via email. It includes corporate branding, terms and conditions and special offers, as well as a digital signature to assure its validity. Steve (in the sales department) also gets the order confirmation and checks it against quotations. At the same time a copy is saved in CRM, giving a single location for all communications and documents.

In the accounts department, Susan’s local printer prints a copy for filing with Terms and Conditions. A copy is also created and indexed into Microsoft SharePoint for easy access by multiple teams. Angela’s sales order is at the same time printed directly to the warehouse printer with bar codes added for easy item picking. A copy gets emailed to Bob in the warehouse, in case a reprint of the paperwork is required.

Key Features

·         Email – The most cost effective way to send documents. Complete with company branding and messages, finished documents are sent as PDF files.

  • Print – When an organisation simply can’t email or fax. Copies can be printed on different stationery Prints to multiple printers simultaneously

·         Barcode Generation – Create and insert barcodes to documents.

·         CRM – Automatically links outgoing documents with a customer or company and saves a record of the communication for reference.

·         Fax – Quick document delivery from one business to another.

·         PDF Digital signatures – Digitally signing documents gives you improved security and protects against invoice fraud.

Key Benefits

·         Reduce costs – documents are automatically delivered via email and fax and remove the need for pre-printed stationery.

·         Reduce environmental impact - sending documents by email and fax dramatically reduces the amount of paper used by a business and can help reduce environmental impact.

·         Automated Archiving – Spindle Professional automatically archives all documents as PDF files to a predefined location.

·         Intelligent Delivery – Spindle knows which documents to print, email or fax based on client and supplier preferences.

·         Intelligent documents - Terms and Conditions or promotional offers are automatically attached to relevant documents.

·         Seamless Integration – Spindle professional integrates with existing systems e.g. Sage 300 ERP (formerly Accpac), Sage ERP X3 and Sage CRM.

Spindle Professional is a document distribution solution that many of our Sage 300 ERP and Sage ERP X3 users in Africa have been looking for. It has been developed in partnership with Draycir International and offers us a real opportunity to deliver greater business value to our distributors and offer even more functionality from our Sage platforms.

Sandra Swanepoel

Sandra Swanepoel

Blog by Sandra Swanepoel, Sales Director at Sage VIP

There are ten core principles that differentiate good entrepreneurs from great ones. It is important to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit within an organisation and to empower the business to operate as if each individual works for themselves.

My top ten tips for entrepreneurs are:

  • Have stamina and work hard – Be relentless in pursuing  business. Make sure you have the stamina to spend all the hours that you can on pursuing your dreams.
  • Always spend your time on activities that are closest to cash – Certain hours are high income generating hours, spend them wisely.
  • Be an expert in what you do – invest time in yourself in order to be extremely well informed.
  • Deal with people  effectively – if you had to think of a leader  that really had a impact on you  and that influenced you in a positive way. You will find that the qualities they possessed were mostly emotional intelligence qualities and very seldom technical or IQ related. Make sure you develop your emotional intelligence to be able to deal with people efficiently.
  • Do things differently – Ask yourself what can I do differently so that customers will do business with me. How can I add value to their business? Be innovative, and take bold steps to distinguish yourself from the competition, be it with product service or your operations.
  • Be driven – set targets for yourself, your business and your staff; your business will only do well if you are driven to achieve results. Make sure that your targets are realistic. Unless you set goals you will find that time goes by that you cannot account for.
  • Do you have an immensely positive attitude – How you think is extremely important when you are a business owner. If you are able to stay positive and have a great mindset you are already on the right track.
  • Measure as much as possible – If you do not know your business you will not be able to improve year on year.  An example would be to measure what employees do and to give them goals, motivate them and pay them accordingly, resulting in greater buy-in, more ownership and accountability.
  • Read listen and learn – make sure you have a culture where you never think you know enough. Be open to learning and hungry for knowledge, whether from people that are younger, older, in different places or culture groups.
  • Admit mistakes and manage poor performers – If you do not manage people that perform poorly you will loose the whole room. For the same token if you have made a mistake by admitting it you will create a platform for peers to also admit mistakes. Keep the best employees and surround yourself with strong players.

Join the Cloud

Charles Pittaway

Charles Pittaway

By Monique Verduyn

Mention moving to the cloud and someone is bound to ask, “How do we do that?” The answer is that it’s really simple. All you need is connectivity, and all you have to do is replace your existing system with a business-application cloud service.

This will mean that you have decided to end the life of your existing application and instead receive your payroll and HR software from a new provider. That provider will manage the migration of all your data to the cloud, and will manage the application’s security, availability, and performance, as well as address any problems and changes in the underlying software and hardware the application depends upon. It’s that easy.

Charles Pittaway, MD of Sage Netcash, says that the biggest benefit of moving to a reputable cloud service is that business owners get access to a safe online system with competitive transaction fees. “SMEs can exercise control over their money and only pay for services used. The get secure online access to debit order collections, salary and creditor payments, credit card gateway and a range of credit and risk management services from one account. Overheads are reduced as there are no hardware costs, no costs for additional resources, and no costs for managing several different accounts.”

High security

The integration of a variety of security services provides customers with a single secure payroll system, directly from the payroll software. Security services include identity number validation and verification services, bank account validation and verification services, credit checks and secure salary EFT payments.

Bank account validation and verification ensures that a valid bank account has been entered into the payroll system and that it is in the name of the employee specified on the payroll. This eliminates one of the most critical areas of payment fraud which occurs when an employee’s salary is paid into the fake or erroneous bank account of another individual. In addition, the solution validates employee banking details with major banks including Absa, African Bank, Capitec, First National Bank, Mercantile, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

“Businesses want simple, cost effective and efficient debit order, salary and creditor payments and credit and risk management services,” says Pittaway. “As a business owner your cash flow and your relationship with your customers and creditors are the two most important aspects of your business. Cloud solutions ensure that all transactions are processed securely, accurately and on time each and every time.”

Many cloud application service providers enable users to register for an account online. That means there are no lengthy approval times to open a merchant account and implementation of the service can be done in a matter of hours. With Sage Netcash, the service agreement has no fixed timeframe which allows you the flexibility to discontinue the services at any time.

The benefits

Moving your payroll to the cloud allows your business to reap the many benefits of software as a service (SaaS):

  1. Innovation. You always use the latest release of the software, so the business has continuous innovation in user experience, workflows and capabilities.
  2. Reduced costs. Cloud solutions can easily and quickly be deployed to solve immediate business needs.
  1. Risk Mitigation. SaaS providers typically excel in security measures, including access controls, backup and recovery, and other potential vulnerability points.
  2. Control.  With SaaS, the business gets full control over process timing (data entry, audits, check runs, quality checks, adjustments), which is not guaranteed when the payroll is managed in-house or outsourced. You also get anytime access to data, analytics and reporting, and the assurance that the software always includes the most recent changes in legislation.
  3. Scalability. Cloud-based payroll solutions make it easy for businesses of any size to dynamically scale operations as and when they need to.

The stats

  • Cloud-based solutions are implemented on average 82% faster than on-premises solutions.
  • They require only 22% of the resources in ongoing staff compared to on-premises shops, freeing up members of the payroll team to focus on more strategic initiatives.

(Source: CedarCrestone 2012-13 HR Systems Survey, 15th ed.)

Christophe Letellier

Christophe Letellier

 

Christophe Letellier, CEO – Sage ERP X3

On my way back from a great Sage ERP X3 Global Convention in Berlin last week, I was wondering what makes an ERP solution the right one for mid-market customers. During the whole week, we’ve presented and demonstrated Sage ERP X3 at length: the solution today, with its breadth and depth of functionality and exciting customer testimonials, as well as the future of Sage ERP X3 with its totally new user experience that will increase return on investment. We have shared all this with our employees and partners. Of course, excitement was high and a good product is an important part of a good solution, but it’s not enough.

My take from last week in Berlin is that the community makes the difference. I’m not speaking about size or numbers but about commitment and collaboration. What showed strongly last week is the ability and the willingness of Sage and its partners to collaborate, share and work together for the benefit of our clients. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to paint a picture of a perfect world, but what I describe is the reality of what I’ve witnessed. I received so much feedback from our partners, and no matter where they came from, they all mentioned the fact that probably the best part of our Convention was the opportunity to engage transparently with Sage and the other partners.

I’ve always believed that the split between “direct” and “indirect” was a figment of the past. What counts now is gathering the skills and competencies that will make our customers more successful. Good sense says that it’s better to have a small slice of a big cake than a big slice of a small one. In business it’s not small or big, in fact, it’s “deal” or “no deal”. Sharing value makes sense when you have won! I think that together with our partners, we’ve got that mentality. Winning means giving our prospects and customers the confidence that they will have the solution they need to succeed, putting together the winning team that will fully address their needs.

This is what I’ve seen in Berlin: a great collaborative spirit. I know that our customers and prospects, who joined us on the last day, felt the same.

Even if this was a great outcome from our Sage ERP X3 Global Convention, it is not new to us. From day one we always have favored a selective approach when recruiting our partners. We could easily have 2-3 times more partners if we wanted, but the level of commitment and engagement behind Sage ERP X3 has always been the priority. Looking back, I’m happy we made this decision. Only committed partners can be open and mature enough to work as part as a community. Only the ones who are engaging their own business behind Sage ERP X3 can understand and accept that they will be stronger collaborating rather than working in isolation.

What’s true for our partners is also true for Sage. In all regions we have developed very collaborative models that leverage both the strength of our community and give our customers the choice to contract with who they want in order to access the best skills and competencies. We’ll keep developing this model; it’s not a dual model, but a hybrid model. At the end of the day, mid-market companies have the last say and they will tell us if we are right!

With mobility now the cornerstone for operating a cutting-edge business, Sage Evolution Mobile is the perfect tool to stay ahead of the competition. Now with an innovative suite of mobile applications, this homegrown ERP solution gives your sales force the ability to extend your business borders by transacting anywhere, anytime.

Available on Apple’s App Store and soon for Android too, Sage Evolution Mobile allows sales executives and management to view customised dashboards and real time information on customer history, inventory, expenses and other key business information. The ability to check item quantities and prices with quick searches allows users to create in-the-moment quotes and orders with discounts – this means deals can be negotiated and closed in one meeting. Customers can accept terms by signing on the tablet and an e-mail confirmation follows.

If more detailed quotes or proposals are required, Sage Evolution’s Quote on Air is the perfect solution: it combines desktop software with that of a cloud-based portal. Users can create custom quote templates that are automatically uploaded to the Quote on Air web space allowing the sales team to log into the portal and use the templates to produce professional and standardised quotes and proposals. Customers can accept their quotes online with immediate notification to the sales executive.

Sage Evolution’s mobile applications are the only mobile sales tools that offer online/offline modes, allowing the programs to operate even when users are out of 3G range and still ensure an automated and seamless integration back into Sage Evolution ERP.

Jeremy Waterman

Jeremy Waterman

A New ‘Customer Day’ is Introduced for 2013

Sage will be holding its third annual Sage ERP X3 Global Convention from 8-11 April 2013, in Berlin, Germany. The event will host Sage ERP X3 partners and internal teams for its duration and for the first time will also welcome Sage ERP X3 customers from around the world for the final day of the Convention.

The Marussia F1 Team, a customer and partner of Sage, will be attending the Convention, exhibiting its Show Car and sharing how it has put Sage ERP X3 at the heart of its operations, linking every part of its business for the first time.

During the Convention participants will hear from members of the Sage Executive Committee including Guy Berruyer, Chief Executive, Klaus Michael Vogelberg, Group Chief Technology Officer, and Christophe Letellier, CEO, Mid-Market Europe and CEO, Sage ERP X3. Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director for Sage ERP Africa & Middle East will give an update on the implementation of Sage ERP X3 in Sub-Saharan Africa. He will be joined by Keith Fenner, senior vice president for sales at Sage ERP Africa, who will share some interesting case studies. A great representation of more than 25 Sage Solution Providers from the Sage ERP Africa territory will be attending

Christophe Letellier, commented, “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and this year we wanted to give them the opportunity to experience the dynamism of the global Sage ERP X3 community and participate in our Convention. There will be a specific event track for customers which will allow for networking, learning and meeting partners and members of our global network. Our partners are an integral part of our success in increasing our business globally and the aim of the Convention is to bring together Sage ERP X3 sales teams and partners so that we can better serve our customers and provide a forum to drive knowledge sharing and growth.

Preactor and Tema Business Systems are confirmed Gold sponsors of the Convention and Ortems are Silver sponsors.

Mike Novels , Chairman and Managing Director, Preactor said, “Being a lead sponsor of the Sage ERP X3 Global Convention 2013 in Berlin is an excellent opportunity for Preactor to promote its partnership with Sage, showcase our innovative solutions to a global audience and network with some of the leading figures in the ERP community. And this year, we anticipate some more good news to be announced about our Sage partnership at the Convention! As in 2012 we expect the Convention to be very dynamic, with a big emphasis on knowledge sharing and relationship building and we look forward to actively participating.”

Batcha Noordin, VP Business Development at Tema Business Systems said: “Our business model is exclusively focused on Sage ERP X3 partners worldwide.  As such, TBS is an active exhibitor at various Sage events throughout the world. However the Sage ERP X3 Global Convention is definitely the most important event having all the active players of the Sage ERP X3 community under the same roof for a few days. This year, Tema Business Systems is a gold sponsor and that reflects our continued commitment towards the Sage ERP X3 ecosystem to whom we provide a value added service ranging from pre-sales support to a dedicated 24/7 helpdesk. We are very much looking forward to connecting with Sage ERP X3 community members again.”

For more information on the Sage ERP X3 Global Convention, go to http://www.sageerpx3.com/gsc

Gerhard Hartman

Gerhard Hartman

Blog by Gerhard Hartman, Head of the Africa Division at Sage VIP

This year’s annual Sage VIP African Alliance Partner Conference is taking place from 11-12 April at Lombardy Hotel in Pretoria. The conference serves as an ideal platform for not only building relationships with our African alliance partners across 12 African countries, but also to share key product developments and assist them with operational challenges.

An opening address from the Managing Director of Sage VIP Africa, Anton van Heerden, will kick the event into gear on Thursday, 11 April 2013.

Ina du Plessis, Research and Development Director, will address the exciting roadmap that is planned for the launch of various Sage VIP products into Africa and Sandra Swanepoel, Sales director, will deliver a keynote about the organisation’s strategic focus for the future.

A highlight of the conference will be the announcement of Sage VIP’s top three African alliance partners for 2012. Our client base into Africa has increased tremendously in the last year and these partners’ contribution has been invaluable.

Sage VIP’s comprehensive partnership program is part of their winning recipe for increasing the footprint into Africa.  Establishing a partnership that works, is however a two-way street. Our partners need to take the first step in certifying themselves through Sage VIP’s training programmes.  It then becomes our responsibility to monitor their growth and development and to aid them as far as we can.  Being able to offer the best possible service to the end-user includes the offering of training to the client, local support and the implementation of a service level agreement.  We provide our partners with regular insightful information, in addition to a monthly webinar where we discuss any issues that may have arisen.

During our recent customer road shows with partners in Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe it was once again clear that companies in Africa want to ensure profitability by streamlining their business processes with automated HR and payroll software, which enable them to, for example, email payslips and manage overtime and leave by means of an automated process.

There is still an enormous scope of growth and within the next year Sage VIP’s client base in the rest of Africa will definitely increase. The greatest driving force behind our products remains the ability to offer a service that is compliant to the country’s specific statutory requirements.  Clients want the assurance that their payroll and HR system is compliant with legislation and that their tax documentation is on target.

The African Alliance Conference is the premier event of the year for Sage VIP and its partners. It promises to be highly informative and will provide a great deal of insight into the year ahead.

For more information visit:  www.sagevippayroll.com

By Steven Cohen, managing director, Sage Pastel Accounting

Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen

To succeed in business, exceptional service is essential. Everyone says they do it but I question its true impact, particularly when I consider that everything is automated these days. In the world of electronic communications, everyone auto-signs their emails with a warm and fuzzy salutation, your birthday is recorded in a customer relationship management (CRM) system that triggers a congratulatory SMS on the appropriate date and it’s seldom that you get to talk to a real person at a call centre anymore. The result of the, so-called benefits of technology is a techno-void between a company and its customers.

The Extraordinary Customer Experience

Sage, the global parent of Sage Pastel Accounting has launched a new Extraordinary Customer Experience initiative which will benefit its 4 million clients globally. The programme’s key objective is to build real relationships with customers using an old-fashioned method; people.

Initially I was cynical about the advantages such a plan would bring to the business. Our local contact centre is manned by real people and it’s considered one of the best – it wins local and international awards all the time and is currently a regional finalist in three categories of the highly regarded Contact Centre World Awards run by ContactCentreWorld.com.

However, our new service initiative requires more than just people to offer extraordinary customer service; it’s their attitude and approach to the customer that is so crucial. In addition to the programme’s need for passion, accountability, collaboration and being enterprising when dealing with customers, I am drawn to its requirements for creating working conditions that encourage people to succeed!

It’s all about attitude

As a business leader, I’ve always said that it’s important to stimulate the thinking of those around you. This can only be applied if you understand that attitude and not just aptitude is essential when employing at any level in the organisation. I like to see the interview process as a gate that only lets exceptional people in – and it’s part of my management ethos to pay more for a good person. So, I think I am on the correct path to getting the customer service experience right but now the hard work really begins.

For the Extraordinary Customer Experience to become a reality we need to change the way we think about customer service. I want us to own every customer experience and not simply sell stuff to people because we have targets to meet. We need to build real relationships with all of our clients and recognise that a new client or a satisfied contact centre customer is not just another successful transaction. In addition it’s important to define what we are delivering to our customers in relation to what our customers think they are getting – a disconnect at this point is the difference between exceptional or deficient service.

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