Has been operating in the Hastings since 1999. I am proud of what our team has achieved in a competitive and challenging business environment over the past eleven years.
Attribute our success to the fact that we have great people who listen to our customers and understand the importance our customers place on reliability and great customer service. We do care about our customers and emphasis the point of keeping the communication channels open at all times.
The structure of our delivery model ensures that our customer service personnel build strong relationships with our customers. We extend ourselves to provide best customer service.
We can and are proud of the number of long term customers we are still serving as we enter our twelfth year of operations. We are aware, however, that there is always room for refreshment and improvement.
Why did MSSW decide to be part of the Customer Care Program?
Mount Seaview Natural Spring Water have a customer base which includes the private customer at home, business and factory operations, and a number of the larger government institutions. Different customers have different needs and servicing requirements.
While the majority of our customers are geographically based within the Port Macquarie- Hastings area, we also provide weekly delivery services from Coffs Harbour to Forster on the Nid North Coast.
The business environment is challenging for most local businesses, especially taking into consideration the impact that the larger multi-nationals have in regard to purchasing and marketing power. This challenge is further exacerbated when one considers that for many franchised businesses, deals that are made at head office effectively block out our products from these organisations and their retail outlets.
Our company has been privileged to participate in a number of programs instigated by Trevor Sargeant and his Economic Development team at the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
In 2008 we were one of a number of local businesses offered a position to participate in the first Key Business Development Program facilitated by the Council. Prior to this we had undertaken the original Quality Service Provider Program.
Customer satisfaction and referrals are a very important factor in maintaining existing customers and expanding our servicing to new customers. Excellent customer service is therefore crucial to the continuing success of my business.
As a business owner, anything I can do to improve the service we provide to our customer through revitalising and upgrading our customer service skills is important. So, it was a natural progression to update and expand our skills through our participation in the Customer Care Program offered by the Port Macquarie – Hastings Council.
Why did MSSW decide to be part of the Journey of Flavour?
Mount Seaview Natural Spring Water was one of the original participants at commencement of the Hastings Farmers’ Markets, and we have always been focused on the promotion of locally owned and operated businesses, of which we are one.
We acknowledge the assistance our business has received through our participation in the Farmers’ Markets and related supporting programs. We are very supportive of the Tastings of The Hastings. Our association with the Journey of Flavour brand for the Hastings region has been through supplying a number of our customers who operate in the food and beverage sector of this program.
What benefits has being an accredited program member brought to, or do you see bringing to, your business?
The Customer Care program’s focus on ‘best practice’ methods for customer service is important for all businesses, including ours. The recognition of being accredited in a Council sponsored program such as Customer Care is one additional bow to our level of customer service and assists us to differentiate our business ethics from the other larger multi-nationals that focus only on the price of a product.
Customer Care allows us to be recognised as a business that strives for excellence in customer service and shows that we are doing something positive in an effort to achieve that goal. The continual education and training programs in customer service skills and other business functions are an important factor in business development.
Why do you think it is important we have these programs from a tourism point of view?
A point of differentiation and recognition is an important issue with these Council initiated programs. I feel that the Customer Care Program is very important in demonstrating to the visitors to our area that the local businesses can cut the mustard in customer service and are serious about the image we convey as customer focused businesses.
Another reason why the first time traveller should come to our region and sample the wares offered. These customer service programs are also important for the many return visitors who have been coming to our area for many years. I am not forgetting the loyal locals, who obviously appreciate the fact that their locally supported businesses are growing and as well as providing services, are providing employment for the locals.
What is it that makes your business successful?
I feel that our success can be attributed to a number of important factors. I note that we are limited for space, so will briefly outline what I consider has attributed to our success as a business.
The first point I would like to make is to acknowledge the great people that we have working within our business. I consider a major factor in creating a successful business is to provide an environment of positive energy, and our employees contribute greatly to this.
Our administration team are focused on providing efficient administration and accounting services. Our production team are focused on providing quality products. Our sales personnel are focused on satisfying our future customers’ needs and not attempting to sell a product which is not really needed. Our customer service / delivery personnel are focused on providing friendly and reliable service to our customers.
Each of the different areas within our business have different responsibilities, and as the head of such an organisation, I consider one of my functions to facilitate this process as best I can.
These ingredients mixed together with the right recipe go towards making our happy customers. We care about our customers and we acknowledge that without customers, we don’t have a business.
How do you build customer loyalty, trust and integrity?
A great customer relationship is built through actually doing what you state you are going to do, and doing it to the best of your ability, and doing it when you say you are going to do it. We go out of our way to at all times provide friendly and reliable service to our customers and potential customers. Customer loyalty, trust and integrity are built over time, through repeatedly demonstrating who you are and what your business stands for. Clear communication channels are also an important quality to keep in mind, to deal with any issues that may arise from time to time.
Do you attend the Customer Care Mix & Mingle (M&M) Networking functions regularly? What are your comments on the benefits of these events?
When family and work commitments allow, I try to attend the various networking functions that are available, and this includes the Customer Care Mix and Mingle, as I feel it is an important place of contact with other like minded individuals in a more relaxed environment.
At times when I have been unavailable, we have had different staff members attend. In most cases, the benefits gained go beyond business and include enhancing personal friendships.
What would you say to someone who was contemplating having his or her business accredited as a member of the Customer Care Program and Journey of Flavour Program?
We are fortunate in having a passionate advocate for business development in Trevor Sargeant and a pro-active Council economic development department that have provided and are providing some fantastic programs to assist local businesses. I would ask anyone in business to support these programs and in relation to the Customer Care Program, I would ask the question, “What are you waiting for?”
Besides attitude, what advice would you give to other firms striving to excel in Customer Care?
Firstly, listen to your customers and potential future customers, as this will assist you greatly in providing the services that they are looking for and will guide you on what needs to be done.
Secondly, communicating with other business proprietors through networking events will help you greatly, as you will most likely find that the challenges that you are dealing with in your own business are issues that other business operators have had to or are currently dealing with.