Entries to the South Wales Argus Business Awards close at midnight tonight, which means you'll have to get your skates on to be part of it.

Businesses from across Gwent are eligible and there are a whole host of categories to choose from. You can enter as many as you feel is relevant to your business.

So if you are a young entrepreneur, a start up, a hospitality business, a business which is innovative or one which embraces an environmental way of working, there is a category for you - and that is just a small sample of the categories on offer.

For full details and how to enter go to www.southwalesargus.co.uk/businessawards.

Our Customer Service Award is jointly sponsored by Friars Walk and Kingsway Centre.

Kingsway Centre, right in the heart of Newport, directly employs more than 15 staff from cleaners, security, administration and management.

The centre supports the employment of more than 300 people in the local area via its tenants such as, Sainsbury's and Bonmarche, Pure Gym and Boswells as well as contractual partners from marketing, print, entertainers, builders, electricians to name but a few!

Colin Rees, operations manager for Kingsway Centre, said: “Face-to-face interaction, smooth and prompt service, an offer to go that extra mile, all create a positive impact on visitors to Kingsway Centre while building upon the reputation of Newport as a welcoming place to visit.

“Sponsoring the customer service award acknowledges the value and importance that this element of care has while at the same time crediting the hard work that staff put in day in day out.

“Sharing good news is positive; although we consider excellent service as the norm, sometimes there are occasions when staff go above and beyond. An award is a great acknowledgement, a nod to a particular person or people who have real impact on how we perceive customer service.

“Building up a reputation can take a lot of time and effort; these awards can help profile both a given organisation as well as an individual. It’s also an opportunity for managers to praise and recognise the value of an employee or even a team of staff in an official capacity

“Newport is a dynamic city and most importantly the city centre is the hub of this. Local businesses are the backbone to a vibrant economy and it’s important that we recognise and support positive news stories. Without great people, without kind people our Newport high streets and commercial centres would decline."

Simon Pullen, centre director at Friars Walk, Newport, said: "We employ a team of 25 to manage Friars Walk, five in the management team and the rest is made up of cleaning staff, security staff, maintenance operatives and environmental operatives.

"From my perspective, with how the market is and with there being so many different avenues for people to purchase their products, it is a real privilege to reward and recognise those that go above and beyond.

"One of the things I will be looking out for is how seriously businesses and individuals take good customer service. Beyond that, I want to see how a business or employee is going above to deliver not just good, but excellent customer service. When we did the awards judging last year, I was seeing businesses and employees doing far more than was being expected and I came away incredibly impressed.

"More than anything, these awards should be a motivating factor for any individual that works in customer service.

"It gives each and every one of us something to strive towards in our daily working life and with how important customer service is in business, being in a position to point to awards is a great commodity.

"We should all endeavour to be best in class and to achieve that in front of your fellow colleagues and peers is a very special feeling.

"For any business, strong, positive, recognition is important and is often the point of difference when it comes to selling its product to a deciding customer.

"If a business is recognised for its service and its quality, it naturally gives it an advantage in the market over its competitors.

"Being able to say that your customer service has been recognised as best in class is a big thing. Away from the customer, as I mentioned in my last answer, people always need something to strive towards and work for and it can be a real motivation factor.

"I’m a firm believer in the local community and we should all want the best for each other, no matter what facet that falls under.

For me personally, I want to see each and every business thrive and achieve success, regardless of size, type, profile or prominence. What’s great, particularly about this award, is that everyone has an equal chance of winning it and showcasing how they are going above and beyond to deliver the best customer service. It’s a pleasure to be part of that process.

"Every business wants to shout about the great things they are achieving, both internally and externally, and this is no different. Being shortlisted in these categories is a fantastic achievement and is something to be proud of. For businesses and colleagues, it generates a sense of pride and when you are working so hard and putting in so many hours, that recognition is important. In terms of the PR and awareness, there is a huge amount of long-term benefits that come with these awards too.

"A number of companies I have worked for over the years have won a number of local, regional and national awards and they all mean a great deal. They give everyone a boost and a feel-good factor that you have ‘beaten’ sometimes friends and competitors to the prize. It also allows you to promote this and is a differentiator when people are choosing a company to use."

The 2020/21 categories and their sponsors are: Lead sponsor and Business of the Year: Newport City Council; Innovative Business of the Year: Western Power Distribution; Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Icon Creative Design; Lifetime Achievement Award: TBC; Family Business of the Year Award: Azets; Large Business of the Year: RDP Law; Small Business of the Year: Kymin; Start Up Business of the Year Award: Educ8 Group; Contribution to the Community Award: Monmouthshire Building Society; Customer Service Award: Friars Walk/The Kingsway Centre; Training and Development Business of the Year: Inspired Media; Best BID Business of the Year: Newport Now Business Improvement District; Environmental Business of the Year: Cintec International; Hospitality Business of the Year: TBC; and Digital Technology Business of the Year: TBC.

For full details on the awards and how to enter go to southwalesargus.co.uk/businessawards - you've got until midnight to get your entries in.