Great customer service and great tech delivered by our Gladstone team

Great customer service and great tech delivered by our Gladstone team

Deon Martin is the Regional Manager for our branch in Gladstone, Queensland. We know he loves a chat, so when we asked, he was very happy to answer some questions about the work he and our Gladstone team do helping our customers in the region and their involvement in the community.

Can you share a little about your background?

I came to Gladstone over 20 years ago from South Africa. It was the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef which, as a diving enthusiast, was enormously attractive. While I can’t dive now, I love the fact Gladstone has one of the busiest ports in the southern hemisphere. That’s my personal story. Professionally I started my career in the military and police but in Australia moved into technology, working for various manufacturers. Technology is a fast paced industry, which means there's always something new to learn.

You’ve been working with the Gladstone team for nearly 4 years. Can you give some insight into the work you collaborate on and how far you reach geographically?

We have a team in the region including myself on the sales and account management side along with Alex who runs the tech team and helps customers with consumables. We have five technicians. Jack, Dan and Jarred are in Gladstone, Peter is in Emerald and Ryan is in Rockhampton.

We’re fortunate to have a highly skilled team locally. This enables us to look after businesses of any size in our region.

We cover a broad area with our furthest customers being over 4.5 hours drive away in the Western Basin. Because efex also has branches in Sunshine Coast and Roma, our outer reach meets up nicely with the areas they service, so there’s no geographical gaps in the on-site support we can provide.

Our local team also works hand in hand with the efex national team based in several of our other branches around Australia. It’s a different model to our local competitors, and I’ve found it works really well for our customers. We have scale & national expertise that gives our customers access to the best possible technology for their business no matter where they are or what they do. An example that’s testament to the success of this model and the contribution from our Gladstone team – despite the distance, we still look after a large global mining company that started their operations in Gladstone but moved their head office further south.

What excites you the most about providing IT services to businesses in your local area?

I personally love working with and finding new customers. It’s really rewarding to help a business owner or operator get their technology system to better serve their business. As a team I really think our ability to help businesses large and small is exciting. It’s a great feeling to provide small local businesses with the same high standard and professional level of service that we provide to our corporate customers. We really are here for everyone, and we enjoy the opportunity to help customers above and beyond the problems that they can see. I always tell my customers, judge us by our smaller customers, not by our largest ones, because we aim to give 100% regardless of size.

What do you enjoy most about living in the local area?

Gladstone has a real sense of community. It’s the kind of place where everyone will stop and give you the time of day.  It might be a small town by capital city standards, but it really has a big community spirit.

We’re also surrounded by lots of opportunities across work and leisure so there’s something for everyone here. I really like the friendly and supportive community. It’s a big benefit living in a regional town in Australia.

Can you share a success story or a memorable experience of how your team helped a local business overcome a significant IT challenge?

I was introduced to a small business that ran all its file storage through Dropbox. It was an approach that worked for a while but as the owner employed more people, we recommended they onboard Microsoft 365 and migrate their file storage to SharePoint to better handle their team’s productivity as the business continued growing, backed with our local support if ever needed. It would be fair to say the owner was reluctant to make the change but now she phones me all the time just to say how great her business is running!

Are there any particular challenges or opportunities to providing IT services in a regional area?

It can be challenging to get a foot in the door with some smaller businesses, as having only a few staff can make a managed technology solution seem too expensive to them. However, our prices are competitive and we’re renowned for the service we provide. I believe it’s our business-first/technology-second approach that our customers recongise as good value. After all, there are real costs from poor productivity or constant downtime if a business is running on B-grade tech.

Perhaps most of all, it’s about service. I hate receiving bad service, so why would I give bad service? We just don’t. Being responsive, helpful and giving our customers the best experience is always at the forefront of what we do.

What IT solutions are more crucial in your area?

Cyber is really the big focus for most people. I’ve seen businesses who were unprepared for a cyber-attack needing to delete everything and start again. With a little preparedness and education, it’s an avoidable situation. Helping businesses to manage cyber security the right way is key. Putting a solution in place to monitor and keep your digital footprint safe is crucial for all businesses these days, particularly with technology-based crime on the rise. The right level of protection is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must for everyone.

Do you have any partnerships with community organisations?

efex sponsors the local RACQ CapRescue helicopter and we’ve just become the technology partner for the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce & Industry. We do a lot of work with not-for-profit organisations and we sponsor local sporting clubs. We believe in supporting the community and so we look for the opportunities where we can make a difference at that level. It’s good to have visibility and we want people to know that we are keen to help from both a community and a business perspective.

How do you and your team stay updated on the latest technology trends and advancements to better serve local businesses?

We stay on top of what’s happening through learning on the job, training and collaborating with our colleagues nationally. We share ideas and content as a team so that we’re always expanding on our collective expertise and knowledge. We also regularly tap into other branches to ask them if they’ve tackled a similar situation, and of course our national team of experts are amazing. It’s important we work together because our technicians experience first-hand the day-to-day issues and have a lot of insight and feedback we can all learn from then apply to new ideas for software and services that deliver the best outcomes for every customer.

Technology may always be evolving, which keeps it interesting, but helping customers translate their business needs into tech solutions never gets old.

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