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Making a Big Difference to Small Businesses

Media release for immediate use

Making a Big Difference to Small Businesses

A Wellington company regularly told it makes a big difference to small companies prides itself on its very high standards of customer service.

SmartPayroll is an online payroll/wages system for small-to-medium sized New Zealand businesses.

CEO Asantha Wijeyeratne says his early experiences working as an accountant in a corporate setting showed him everything he didn’t want to do in his own company.

“I set myself the goal of having every client happy to see me in any setting,” he says. “I want to know I need not be embarrassed if I bump into any client in a business or social setting, so we treat every customer with sincere caring alongside professionalism.”

Smartpayroll pays employees’ wages directly to their bank accounts, deducts PAYE, KiwiSaver and all other deductions, then files the necessary paperwork with the Inland Revenue Department.

Sometimes, however, the staff are asked for help on other things. “It’s not unusual to get a call asking if we can help fix a computer,” he smiles. “It’s not really what we do, but we offer the usual basic advice, such as “Try turning it off and back on”, purely to see if we can help the caller.

“We genuinely care about our customers and sincerely aim to make a difference in the lives of all people who have contact with us. Customers have to get more than their money’s worth from us.”

Asantha Wijeyeratne says SmartPayroll call centre staff are not clocked, nor have prescribed call times by which they must have ended the call and moved on to the next one.

“Our phone system has that capacity, but it’s turned off, so our staff keep working with the caller as long as they need to, to make the customer happy. We don’t have an answer phone, because we want callers to talk to people, not machines. We are dedicated to ensuring the personal touch with every call answered 24/7.”

Another example of the egalitarian desire to make a difference to small businesses is the attitude SmartPayroll took immediately after the Christchurch earthquakes.

“Business owners had enough to think about at that time without worrying about how to keep paying their staff, so we made a public offer to help any company do that – whether they were a client or not. I saw TV images of people running out of their office with a computer under their arm and I knew they would get home and wonder how to connect and how to keep things running. We could help because all our services and client information are stored off-site in what’s known as a ‘cloud’, so businesses don’t miss a beat, no matter where they operate from or how many times they move. “

Mr Wijeyeratne says he is particularly keen to work with Christchurch companies as they recover.

“This is what we do, so it’s how we can help,” he says. “If everyone focussed what they do best on Christchurch, its recovery would happen a lot faster.

“We know owners of small businesses have lots of things on their mind at any time, and even more so now, so if we can take care of one thing, it gives them space to manage another. We usually work with companies with one to 20 employees. If it helps. we do it.

“For example, at 4 o’clock every day, we personally call any employer we were expecting to put the payroll through. Sometimes they have just got busy with something else, but they’re always glad of the reminder – and so are their staff!

“What we do is make things happen, but it’s how we do it that makes them happy – and I am really proud of that. “


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