Governments departments and councils have to own their customer service across all their touchpoints, just as much as businesses do. The challenges they face are vast: language barriers, accessibility issues, socioeconomic status

Great customer service is all about convenience. While there are several high-tech solutions, each requires dedicated training which costs money and time. Data shows that 64% of constituents prefer SMS over voice calls. With SMS being ubiquitous on all mobile devices no matter what they look like or cost, this channel of communication could make customer support within government agencies a cost-effective and highly productive solution.

SMS also enables easier engagement with non-English speaking and hearing-impaired constituents. These groups make up a significant portion of our population and making sure their engagement with governments and councils as simple and effortless as all other constituents is crucial.


Customer service research indicates that consumers need mobility. They do not want to be hijacked by a 20-minute call or sit in front of their computer or iPad chatting to a bot. They want to be able to get on with their day. They want simplicity – whether they’re an 18-year-old or 80-year-old, they want customer support they can access on their device and in their language. And they want to be able to get support wherever they are in the world. SMS enables all of the above.

From a business perspective, the benefits of embracing SMS are vast. They include the ability to manage multiple conversations and increase productivity, and the $0.60 engagement cost of SMS versus the $4.80 average engagement cost of a voice call. And from a customer psychology point-of-view, SMS removes the tension and strong feelings one can often face in a difficult customer support call, allowing customers to get right to the point in resolving their issues.


Constituents have higher expectations from their councils and governments than ever before. With this in mind, providing easy access to communicate requires a multi-channel approach, and SMS should factor into the channel mix to support all constituents in whatever way they prefer.

David Hayes is the founder of
Jeeves.Plus, which allows businesses and government organisations to talk to their customers on their own devices, in their language, anytime, anywhere. Find out how governments and councils benefit from SMS-based customer support by speaking to one of our specialists.

Tagged: customer servicecustomer supportChat tool for customer serviceE-commerce chat support tooljeeves plusCRMSMS customer supportChat support toolLive chat SupportLive chat appRetail call centerOnline call center serviceDigital customer supportZendeskBest customer support appSMS helpdeskBest customer chat appRetail help chatFree live chatOnline tech support platformCall center alternativeSupport customers onlineSMS live chat'Customer caretranslation

Customer support for tourists that destroys the language barrier

Travelling to a country where you don’t speak the local language can be overwhelming. For the more than 1.5 million tourists visiting Australia annually whose native language is not English, the language barrier can dramatically impact the quality of their holidays. The responsibility to ensure foreign visitors get the best experience in our country lies not just with government tourism bodies, but with businesses delivering goods and services throughout a tourist’s visit to a destination. This includes hotels, telecommunications companies, restaurants, and tour operators.

You don’t need to hire multilingual staff to be multilingual

Being able to communicate to non-English speaking customers don’t have to be a burden, and doesn’t need to involve a huge investment in foreign speaking staff. Multilingual customer chat services enable any English speaking customer support agent to talk to tourists in virtually any language. SMS-based Jeeves.Plus does this in 104 languages, and saves conversation histories on its online platform for easy reference and handovers to other agents.

The benefits of being able to communicate easily with foreign visitors range from increased sales, attracting repeat business, and word-of-mouth referrals to from tourists who’ve had an exceptional, seamless encounter with local businesses and destinations.

Beyond Instagrammable moments

Tourists have access to technology that basically eliminates the need for human interactions – think Google Maps, translation apps, and Instagram to get all the help and advice they need to enjoy their holiday. But what’s lacking from this are the human interactions. Being able to actually chat with other people ultimate makes a holiday truly memorable, beyond a series of photos for social media.

Being able to help tourists in their native language can be cheap, productive, and most importantly, help create a lasting impression on a visitor that can make or break a destination’s reputation.

David Hayes is the founder of Jeeves.Plus, a simple multilingual customer chat tool that lets tourism businesses talk to their customers through SMS on any device at any time.

Most 5 Effective Business Relationships Tips Of All Time

Building a business is just like being in a band, not only about its productive growth but it is more of doing well on maintaining a healthy relationship with their business partners. Though this might not be a top priority for the entrepreneurs, building a healthy business relationship is very important for running a business in the long run. Here are some most effective business relationship tips that do not need extra attention or care but just practice on a daily basis.

1. Communication Has More To Do With Transparency.

A good business relationship starts with great communication with your partner. Being more specific, it's not only about updating each other's move in business but also about updating the real scenario. Be transparent and honest in your words as it will assist positive growth towards the business target and better an understanding of each other's opinion.

2. Serious Attention To the Emotional Well Being Of Each Other.

Emotional wellbeing of your client or business partner is often misunderstood with having a great friendship or binding with the other. But the real definition would be having a good understanding of their mood in certain situations and also showing your concern for their wellbeing. There are big examples of few basic caring questions that you can use every day.

Like for example, “How are you today?”, “ Are you in a good mood or state to discuss this now?”, “ How good it is to speak now?” etc. Be connected and concerned to do a good deal. After all, values are always first than any other even when it comes to business.

3. Compliment Their Area Of Expertise.

Building confidence in each other will work great in business goals. The first step of this would be knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses. Try to compliment each other about strengths and provide feedback on their weaknesses. This will make magic to build trust and a solid base for a better partnership. Remember not to go overboard and try keeping it very genuine.

4. Take Any Step With Each Other's Concern Every Time.

Every decision you make together matters in any business. But the most crucial thing is respecting each other's opinion before making the final decision. Always make sure the number of persons involved are willing, happy and feeling the same about the business decisions. This builds mutual respect and responsible for every step taken.

5. No Blame Game Any Day.

The worst thing that could happen in any business partnerships is the blame game. Never do this any day even if someone is specifically responsible for the situation. There is never 'you' and accept it is always 'we' for better business relationships.

Business relationships are not very tough to handle, it just needs some attention and some strong motivation to keep it going well.

Enjoy - Dave

PS - Play a musical instrument - Best therapy ever.

Hey! What About Me !!

Have you ever really sat still and said; "I am a marketer and how would I market to me! "

Yes interesting question, and in recent days explored that very question, realizing that I am personally a microcosm in the overall scheme of things, but as I have a small amount of disposable income, I am therefore a consumer, and hence deserve my microcosm of that elusive marketing dollar.

So map your day, when and where are your touch points, where a marketing message, can be injected. My first count was 12 in one day, some repeated, and does not take into account general marketing noise. Second count 21, yes 21 opportunities to influence me in one day, and I am sure being, post 60, just a tickle.

Try it out for yourself, next time you want to market something seriously.

Just wanted to share the experience.




Why it's important for you to make connections when you run a business.

It's ok to fly solo on your adventure, don't get me wrong. It is however, imperative that you get yourself out to a world of opportunities. The old saying goes ' If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' - this is an upstanding moto within the Business industry. Of course you will come across the odd bunch that may take advantage of you, just be aware and ready.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to get yourself out there and why.

1. Think outside your industry

This is important. It's very easy to think that you will find like minded people and mutual relationships within your industry network. It's the wrong frame of mind. They are your competitors and generally won't be looking to use your services or recommend them. They are great for tips, ideas and motivation. Not for business. Look for networking groups that have a variety of industries that attend. You are the best brand ambassador you will ever have so get yourself out there and show prospective clients just how passionate you are.

2. Be Unconventional

Look around you and take opportunities as you see them. You may be out at a restaurant and you are introduced to a friends friend and start talking only to find out that both industries align nicely. Bring up your business, start talking and making connections to people outside of networking groups. Your personal life is full of opportunities - you just need to be aware and ready.

3. Don't be hasty

It's one thing to see an opportunity and act on it, it's another thing to become too needy or frankly, annoying. Don't take an opportunity for granted. Respect it, care for it and show it love. You would not rush into anything you care for, respect or anyone you love. So don't rush into an opportunity and don't become too overwhelming to your prospective client. Take your time and know when to pounce. Patience is key, confidence is a winner. Combine them both and you have a recipe to success. 

4. Social Media Network

This is a very important part of the world now and even more important when it comes to networking. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are full of prospective clients, customers and business opportunities. You need to learn the ropes of the power of social media or you need to pay someone to do it for you. Either way - it needs to be done and has to be done well. If you use this tool properly, your business will benefit greatly. 

5. Follow up

This is the most important part of all. You need to follow up on your new networking clients, your social media platforms, prospect clients and anything else you have started. Timely follow up is important to maintaining a good raptor. Aim to practice a 24hr follow up with clients/customers/opportunities. 

So now that you are armed with 5 tips of better networking. Why not look around for some events this weekend that may be of interest to you and your business.

The Fundamentals of Grant Writing

First things first. A grant is non-repayable funds or products dispersed by one party - generally a government body to a not for profit, educational institution, business or individual. 

Why would a Grant benefit you ?

Keeping in mind that benefits will be different amongst business owners as they will specify to your chosen field. Generally speaking though a Grant can offer many benefits including: 

  • A stepping stone for you to begin what you have worked so hard towards
  • Business growth
  • Create more opportunities within your business
  • Financial breathing room

Grants are created to be given. Those who provide companies like yours grants - need to assign their grants to someone. So why not you ! 

Why is it important to write an above average Grant application?

As you would have thought and discovered by now - you are not the only startup. This also means you unfortunately aren't the only one going for your Grant. So above average keeps you a step ahead of the crowd. Here are some key aspects to to think about :

  • Know your Grant provider . You wouldn't interview for a business you don't know - so don't apply for a Grant off someone you know nothing about. 
  • Ensure your content is what they want to hear

             - Who will benefit ?

             - What project will you use it for  ?

             - how much will your project cost you ? 

             - what are the risks associated with your project ? 

             - Is it a one off or do you need ongoing funding ? 

             - How will you measure your outcomes to show when your project is completed ? 

  • Ensure the amount you are asking for is within the Scope of the provider. 
  • Research potential competitors going for your Grant. Do you have an edge over them.   
  • Plan ahead - quality applications take time. Don't look for grants that are closing within the week. 

Where can you find what Grants are available  ?

local government body sites  

Questions ? Need advice ?  

Contact me  - I am an experienced Grant writer with a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be taught ! 




The top 5 marketing tips of 2016

When you run a business one of the most important things to aide your progression is to reflect. Reflect on what has worked with your business and what has not worked. With the end of the year near you have the perfect opportunity to look back and assess.

Today we will re-cap 2016 in terms of Content Marketing.

What is content marketing ? 

It's the guy that sticks around no matter who leaves the party. It can be hard yakka trying to keep up with forever changing marketing ideas. What's hot now may not even be close to being hot in March 2017. Content marketing will always be hot. So invest your time smartly.

Engaging your clients and their expectations is paramount when working on your content marketing strategies. 

How does Content Marketing help you reach your goals ?

The most powerful aspect of content marketing is allowing your customers/clients to get to know you behind closed doors. It allows them to relate to you and almost feel connected at a personal level rather than a consumer level. This allows you to build relationships with your customers. According to Kapost 78% of consumers believe businesses that create original content are more open to creating a relationship with their customers.

Another way it works is through catching your clients attention right when you need it. 68% of customers are likely to spend time reading content by brands they are interested in ( This means when writhing your content and engaging your consumer you have the opportunity to slip in some sneaky advert to current products down the bottom or even in the content.

So what are the top 5 tips of 2016 ?

1. Know who you are writing your content for. Creating a buyer persona should be done before you even start your journey. This will make the creation of your content a lot easier than if you didn't know who it should appeal to.

2. Create a blogging timetable. Make it consistent so customers know they can rely on you. For example Blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  - not every now and then. This is important to keep in mind so you don't over commit yourself. If you can only blog once a week, stick to that same once a week and increase as you can.

3. Push your content through all avenues. One of the beautiful things about content marketing is that you can repurpose it. If you write a blog on your website share it to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram (you get the picture?). The more people you reach and refer back to your website - the better your ranking . 

4. Use your network of influencers. Who gives off what you want your company to resonate with? Share their social media posts, write about them, link them to your blog - just connect with them. You will then effectively reach their market through association. Smart.

5. Keep up with the times. Subscribe to anything and everything relevant to make sure your in the know of your industry. Keep your content with what's trending and don't fall behind. 

If you use 2017 to implement these 5 tips to start - you will be on a brighter route towards a successful business.



How to Market to Mobile – The Challenge

Over the last 25 odd years I have observed hundreds of mobile initiatives that engage consumers, many of them successful and many have ended up in the trash.

 There is an obsession with building mobile applications, even to the extent that we fail to realize the consumer road bumps experienced in engaging with a mobile application.  Lets have a quick summary:


·         You have to build it in both IOS and Android

·         You have to get approval from both IOS and Android

·         You have to promote the application

·         You have to get the consumer to download

·         You have to successfully combine the aggregate data generated from both platforms

·         You have to educate the consumer on how to use

·         You have to maintain the sites cognizant of the continuing changes to both rules and regulations imposed by IOS and Android, as well as the commercial elements.

 You exhausted already – I Am! Yet marketers keep building them and wonder why there is such little traction. But I got the following stats from a great blog by Adobe, and worth repeating, so as I am being fair. With great thanks Adobe.


1.       Users spend 90% of their time in apps compared to the mobile Web. —Flurry, 2015 (I think this is rubbish)

2.       Users download on average 8.8 apps per month, with app installs up 5% year over year (YoY). —BI Intelligence, 2015

3.       In May 2016, the average cost per app installation is $2.33 on Android (+93% YoY) and $1.46 on iOS (–3% YoY). —Fiksu, 2015

4.       25% of installed apps are never used. —Google, 2015

5.       26% of installed apps are abandoned after the first use. —Google, 2015

6.       (Only) 51% of companies measure user engagement and return on investment (ROI). —Adobe and Econsultancy, 2015

7.       Mobile retail experience satisfaction is low: 45% of mobile app users dislike their app experience, whereas 47% dislike their Web experience. —Mobile Commerce Daily, 2015

8.       The average Android app loses 77% of its daily active users (DAUs) within the first three days after the install, and 90% within the first 30 days. —Quettra

9.       Of those who stop using apps, 30% would use an app again if offered a discount, and 24% would reuse an app if offered exclusive or bonus content. —Google, 2015

10.   78% of companies use paid media to drive app downloads. —Adobe Mobile Maturity Survey, 2015


Clearly there are opportunities for “The Big App” where there is adequate funding for build, testing, promotion, education and of course management.  God forbid we allocate enough to include the dreaded social media integration.  That is a minefield all in itself.

 After 25 years in mobile engagement all I can say that I still use SMS, the only ubiquitous mobile application, prefer mobile websites, use very few mobile applications if any, and less and less make old fashion telephone calls.

 I would like to challenge my LinkedIn community to debunk my theory as frankly we are all obsessed with mobile, but we rarely stop and think. They say your customers are on mobile, and I cannot disagree but what are they really doing?

Let me know your thoughts. David



Oh Technology, you beast, I love you and hate you all in one breath.

Faced with the challenge of upgrading today, do I don't I, will it work first time will it do what it really say's it will do!

So I like all other good sheep press the button and hope like hell that at the end everything will be ok. 

I did and despite a few scotches to ease the nerves Microsoft lived up to it newly generated reputation of getting it right first time.


Human Resources

Acquiring the right human resources for any business is a challenge. However what I have learnt is that most businesses undertake the selection process either via a recruitment firm or via various online sites. In both cases this may not get the candidate that you are seeking.

However online is especially powerful for both candidate and business. 

Firstly lets review the business. If they have a professional and responsive website that alone will be the bait for potential candidates. 

Secondly the potential candidates you seek are ones that are prepared to research the firms and job roles that they are seeking.

Hence if you get an approach from someone who has researched your firm and regardless of there being a position, states that they would really love to work and there is a belief of a fit, grant them 30 minutes of your time and it could turn out to be the best 30 minutes of the day.  


How to avoid common accounting pitfalls

Why is this important?

Accounting is a critical business function whether you’re a start-up with less than 5 employees or a fully-fledged, growing business with more than 20 employees.

A common practice of most entrepreneurs when starting out with their own business is to wear different hats – including the bookkeeping hat. But since not everyone is skilled in, or keen on bookkeeping, several mistakes are made along the way, many of which turn out to be costly.

Sound bookkeeping practices are crucial for your business. They tell you the complete picture as to whether you are actually profitable or not

What to do

Bookkeeping doesn’t need to be a tedious and painful process. By avoiding the common pitfalls you can have a growing business without the usual stress associated with bookkeeping, and you will avoid falling in to the common accounting pitfalls most start-up entrepreneurs encounter:

1.    Keep personal and business finances separate

Your business is a separate entity from yourself – even if you are the sole owner of it. It is not a good practice to mix your business funds with your personal ones. What your business earns does not automatically translate to your personal earnings, and your personal expenses do not automatically qualify as your business’ expenses.

Regardless of the size of your business it is critical that personal and business finances are kept separate at all times.

Tip: Open a separate bank account for your business even before you start it, and use it for all the financial transactions of your business. All business income must go to this account and all business expenses must be charged to this account.

2. Receive a salary from the business

If you grasp the concept that your business is a separate entity from yourself, then it makes more sense that you should be paid a salary for the time you dedicate to it. Regardless of whatever job you do in your business, you must assign a monetary value for your efforts in running it. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to associate a monetary value to their time and energy, thinking that when the business profits, they profit too. But this is a crucial mistake. By paying yourself a fixed salary, you will get a clearer picture of whether your business is actually profitable or not. 

Tip: Determine your desired salary from the business commensurate to the time and effort you put in. Pay yourself monthly with this amount, moving it from your business funds to your personal funds.

2.    Understand the difference between profit and cash flow

Most small business owners make the costly mistake of not knowing the difference between cash flow and profit. Just because your business’ bank account has a lot of cash doesn’t mean your business is profitable. In fact, you may actually be on the verge of bankruptcy!

Cash flow pertains to the money flowing in and out of the business from financial activities, investments and other operations. Profit is what remains from the sales revenue after a company’s expenses are subtracted.

Tip: Always keep track of your expenses versus your sales. It is best to review your financial statements monthly to get a clearer picture of the exact situation of your business.

 3. Delegate to the experts

Entrepreneurs take pride in what they do. Their passion for their business is limitless and they can carry on wearing many hats at once, including the bookkeeping hat. However, accounting is a technical and complex process. It involves knowing countless taxation compliance rules and the process can be very time consuming. Although it might cost more at first, the money spent on a trained accountant will come back many times over in the form of time savings and costly mistakes avoided.

Tip: As a business owner, your time is valuable and your business needs your full attention for it to grow. The time you spend taking care of your own records and trying to figure out how to make sense of everything can be better-spent forging new networks or improving your product or service.

Source: David Hayes – Australian Business Development Manager – Vertaccount

Editor: Charisse Gray

Where to go for help

Vertaccount are an accounting and bookkeeping firm - trusted by over 200 clients, processing over 12,000 bills annually and managing $70 million in revenues - who partner with small and medium business in all aspects of their financial management, bringing success to their business and value to their lives. 

Phone: 02 8599 1760



Changing Face of Accounting - Q&A

Accounting and Bookkeeping is becoming increasingly driven by technology and especially cloud based programs - I am keen to hear feedback from my network on their experiences, good and bad.  As the proliferation of software is challenging, so when commenting please let me also know the software programs that you have adopted and how they have helped. Thanks basically a quick Q&A. I will report on the results.

3 Steps to Building a Profitable Fitness Business

To be successful as a fitness business owner you need to have a profitable competitive business strategy and then master 3 key business functions:

  1. Marketing your business effectively
  2. Delivering your fitness service promise consistently
  3. Managing your company’s money: payroll, accounts receivable, accounts, accounts payable, BAS (GST and PAYG), financial reporting and cash-flow management.