Going above and beyond in 2017

Creating a better experience for our customers is something we continually strive for and our quarterly Fully SIQ award at Smartgroup (named after our ASX ticker) honours that. Our team members win all sorts of awards, but what makes our Fully SIQ unique is it recognises an act that is so memorable, we know people might just remember it for years to come!

Sally Heys is a Salary Packaging Consultant at Smartsalary, and earlier this year, she was hospitalised for complications after a routine tonsil procedure. As Sally lay in bed recovering at Sydney’s Mona Vale Hospital, one of the nursing staff recognised her and asked if she worked for Smartsalary. It turns out this nurse was also Sally’s next-door neighbour and a Smartsalary customer. She had packaging in place, but wanted more information around meal entertainment and wanted to understand the benefits associated with this product. Still in bed, and hooked up to a drip, Sally ran an impromptu information session on the value of meal entertainment. Before she knew it, she had four more nurses join her audience as the word quickly spread.

Once she was on the mend, Sally dropped off five meal entertainment cards to her neighbour’s letterbox and set up a presentation at Mona Vale Hospital so we could reach out to interested staff.

Sally’s quick thinking under less-than-ideal circumstances, demonstrates her undeniable dedication and is a shining example of how our people go above-and-beyond for our customers.

Sally thought, “The nurses had done such a wonderful job looking after me I thought the least I could do was give them a bit more info and drop off an application form to make applying as easy as possible!”

Sally exemplifies our company values, and I want to thank her for an exceptional job in delivering extraordinary customer service. She joins a fantastic group of previous Fully SIQ winners whose past stories range from baking 400 scones for a client event to flying 1,000 miles to pick up a leased car from a dealer in time a wedding and family reunion. We are lucky at Smartgroup to have such dedicated people in our company!

Fully-SIQ-Award-Winners_2014-2017_Dec-2017

Salary packaging – sooner

The process of starting a new job can often mean being swamped with paperwork –  particularly for our busy customers who work in the health sector. Filling out multiple forms to supply their personal details and financial information, coupled with a bunch of internal forms, can be an onerous and time-consuming task.

As a result, some people simply forget, or never get around to signing up for the benefits of salary sacrificing.

Smartsalary recognised this gap and developed a tailor-made process that enables employees to get their salary packaging up and running more quickly, and therefore start to save money sooner. This initiative helped Smartsalary to be recognised as one of the most ‘cutting edge’ companies by the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies Award.

strategy triangle

Continuous innovation is a key theme for our business, enabling rapid growth and strong performance results since business inception.

As one of our health customers observed, Smartsalary “developed a solution to a long-standing recruitment issue and this has culminated in the fine-tuning of seamless onboarding processes. Ongoing support and follow-up have meant small gaps were ironed out before the go-live. We look forward to a process that will allow our staff to easily engage with some of the benefits of working for a health institution as soon as they accept the job.”

More than 1,000 companies vie for these awards, so to make the top 50 again is a remarkable achievement. I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone at Smartsalary for continuing to improve our service for hundreds of thousands of customers across Australia.

This innovation award, coupled with our recent National Service Champion award, suggests that maybe, just maybe, we are a pretty good company to deal with!

Championing great customer service

The national peak body for excellence in customer service, the Customer Service Institute of Australia (CSIA), has awarded Smartsalary the highest audit score it that has ever given any organisation… indeed, for the third consecutive year.

Awards 2017

For the third year running, we’ve achieved the highest score in CSIA history.

The CSIA uses the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS: 2015-2020), a framework that assesses an organisations level of maturity when it comes to implementing customer focus in its service delivery system. CSIA CEO Anouche Newman says, “as a longstanding Certified Customer Service Organisation, Smartsalary has successfully implemented the ICSS framework into its BAU operations, and they should be delighted with the score, a result of a systemic and determined effort to turn attention towards the customer in all it does.”

Providing great service is one thing but maintaining it to a high standard, and improving year on year, shows just how committed the team is to continuous improvement, and also, of course, to delivering the sort of service our customers have come to expect.

How rugby is reshaping the future for Queensland’s Indigenous youth

Guest blog – Dave Adler, CEO of Smartleasing and Smartfleet.

One of the attractions of becoming an official sponsor of the Queensland Reds and partner of the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) in 2017, is their support of communities right across Queensland and, in particular, the focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Too often, Rugby Union is dismissed as an elite sport for private schools. But take a deeper look, and you’ll find so much more. QRU’s relationships at the grassroots level are remarkable, both in the playing of the sport itself and the education of Queensland’s Indigenous youth which, in turn, supports the development of future leaders.

On 30 May, during National Reconciliation Week, I had the opportunity to attend QRU’s launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).  It was wonderful to hear from successful young Indigenous leaders who have gained so much from QRU’s Indigenous programs.

The Reds Generation Next program (RGN) launched in 2012, and since inception, over 260 participants have benefitted from mentoring provided by specialist staff. Through relationships built and opportunities provided, RGN has delivered outcomes that compare most favourably with similar programs run by Education Queensland.

Since 2012, RGN has achieved

  • 99% year 12 graduation
  • 92% successful transition to employment or further education

I was also delighted to see a couple of Defence members representing Indigenous Australia, and meet Australian Wallaroos prop, Caroline Fairs (pictured below on the right). Caroline has represented Australia in eight tests and is lining up against England, New Zealand and Canada for the 2017 International Women’s Rugby Seizes in New Zealand in June.

Congratulations to the QRU for its efforts. Most importantly, congratulations to all the participants who are reaching new heights as a result of their commitment to complete the Reds Generation Next programs.

Jamie Whincup continues to drive the Smartleasing brand

endurance-bathurst-12-hour-2017-jamie-whincup-maranello-motorsportOur partnership with Jamie Whincup, six-time V8 Supercar Champion and Smartgroup brand ambassador, is well into its third year and we reckon it’s going stronger than ever!

We recently shot six videos with Jamie and they’ve already had over 50,000 views on Facebook, YouTube and the Smartleasing website. My personal favourite is this one for Smartleasing Vehicle Protection Packs, with Jamie and his mate, Blue.

Video.-Vehicle-protection-packs

You can check out the other videos featuring Jamie and friends here.

A great deal of work goes into making a success of these campaigns, so I’d like to thank our Marketing Team, and of course Jamie, for pulling together such a terrific campaign.

Photo credit: motorsport.com

Budget 2017/18: salary packaging to help first home buyers

Budget 2017-18_social

Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered his second federal budget on Tuesday 9 May, including a key measure aimed at tackling housing affordability for first home buyers.

From 1 July 2017, first home buyers will be allowed to make salary-sacrifice contributions to their superannuation fund that, along with the related earnings, can be withdrawn for a first home deposit. Significantly, both members of a couple can take advantage of this measure and combine savings for a single deposit to buy their first home together.

As part of the proposal, salary-sacrifice contributions will be taxed as per current super contributions and withdrawals taxed at the marginal rate, less 30% offset.

Combined with the existing concessional tax treatment of contributions and earnings, this may reduce the time it takes for first home buyers to save a deposit.

Other key points to note:

  • Contributions will be capped at $30,000 per person, and $15,000 a year (within the existing $25,000 concessional super cap)
  • Contributions can be made from 1 July 2017, and withdrawals from 1 July 2018.

Changes to the Medicare Levy

Another notable change that will impact salary packaging is the proposed increase in the Medicare Levy from 2% to 2.5% to ensure the full funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  Effective 1 April 2019, this is likely to lead to an increase in the FBT rate, expected to apply from 1 April 2020. For PBI employers, this may also impact the $17,000/$30,000 tax-free caps and the $5,000 Meal Entertainment cap.

Changes to HECs debt repayment

Also influencing salary packaging is a proposal that will see the income level at which HECS debt repayments commence reduced from $55,000 (including reportable fringe benefits and salary packaged superannuation) to $42,000, effective 1 July 2019.

We will be in touch with our valued customers to ensure that they understand the changes and how they may be affected by them.

Fully SIQ in 2016

fully-siq-award-winners_2014-2016

 

Every quarter here at Smartgroup, we recognise the great work of team members who go above and beyond to create a better experience for our customers.

Amongst the various awards, we have the “Fully SIQ” award (named after our ASX ticker).  Team members receive awards for all sorts of amazing things that they do.  What makes this award different is that the team members must have done something that is so memorable that people would be talking about it for years to come.  Since the launch of the award following our IPO in July 2014, we’ve had five Fully SIQ stories that I would like to share with you.

Katrina Wilson, Smartsalary Team Leader, was 26 weeks pregnant and undergoing testing when she met a hospital employee who recognised Katrina from a presentation she done the year before. This employee knew she would benefit from salary packaging but as a single mum in a busy job, setting it up hadn’t been a priority.  Katrina’s tests involved some waiting around, so she used the time to help the employee understand her entitlements, organise the paperwork and submit for processing. By the time Katrina’s testing was complete, this employee’s salary packaging was set up and ready to go.

Fionna Hamilton, Field Sales Consultant, went out of her way to organise the catering for an event at St George Hospital, getting up before dawn on the morning of the event to bake 400 scones; in fact, 200 plain scones and another 200 date scones! As you can imagine, the staff at St George were impressed with the freshness and home-baked quality, and no doubt left feeling pretty special that someone would go to such lengths for them.

Harish Dahal, Infrastructure Engineer, had spent hours going back and forth with Leasing Consultant, Carlee Jones working to solve persistent issues with Carlee’s phone and computer.  Even though it was late in the afternoon, Harish knew the best way forward was to pay Carlee a visit almost 200km away. So Harish hopped in his car and drove from Sydney head office to Newcastle to solve Carlee’s technical issues once and for all!

Michael Bell, Mobile Leasing Team Leader.  After severe storms had delayed new car deliveries in Queensland, one of our customers was not going to receive his car in time for a wedding and family reunion. So Michael went the extra mile (or 1000!) and took the initiative to fly from his home in Townsville down to the car dealer in Brisbane to pick up the car and drove it back up to his customer in Rockhampton.  Of course, he also cleaned and refuelled the car along the way!

Peter Arthur, Salary Packaging Consultant, was stopped for a random breath test (which he passed of course!).  Not only did he get to chatting with the officer about novated leasing, but he went back to the police station to chat with the officer’s colleagues about their novated leasing options, too.  Talk about making the most out of a situation!

They may be outside the norm, but each of these acts demonstrates the calibre of our employees and their commitment to customer service, and I certainly am immensely proud and appreciative!

So congrats Katrina, Harish and Fionna, Michael and Peter. You are all indeed Fully SIQ


Deven Billimoria
Chief Executive Officer
Smartgroup

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