By Diane Tinney, WhatWorks, LLC
It breaks my heart to see empty stores, going out of business signs, darkness where there used to be light. Every town, village, even cities go through growing pains where neighborhoods change and what used to be a vibrant part of town becomes a ghost town. But in many cases, the business could have been saved from closing by having a solid business plan that includes a customer loyalty program.
Here in the Myrtle Beach area, we become accustomed to the ebb and flow of “in-season” and “off-season” – like the ocean, our visitors some to our shores keeping our businesses afloat. As business owners, we rush from one customer to another trying to keep up with demand, deliver quality customer service, and manage the resources that are the essence of our business.
But are we truly giving the quality customer experience we hope to achieve? Will the customers that frequent our establishments today, come back tomorrow? How about next season? Will our customers text friends our address and encourage them to visit us too? Or will they write negative reviews online and prevent even strangers from ever trying our establishment?
Never before has customer loyalty (which is much more than just customer service) been more critical to the success of a business. Social media, smart phones, and tablet devices are giving customers a stronger voice and instant access to each other’s opinions. Most adults and teenagers today check online for reviews before visiting an establishment. Further, today’s customers are looking for, expecting, and demanding a great customer experience. Only those businesses who deliver the best customer experience will survive as the tide goes out (off-season and economic down-turns).
Keep in mind that getting a new customer costs 5-6 times more than keeping your current customers – a direct hit on your profits, every time you lose a customer. The impact on your profits and future sustainability of your business is then multiplied by each customer that didn’t have a good experience and then told someone else (personally or through social media/online reviews).
The good news is that we are still in busy season, so the time is ripe to bring greater awareness to your business operations and put in place customer loyalty strategies today that will sustain your business. Please join us for a three-part seminar where you will learn how to identify vulnerabilities and then apply practical, low-cost strategies to improve customer loyalty and better sustain your business.
When: Monday, July 9, 16, and 23 – from 6-7pm
Where: Clarion Hotel & Conference Center – Fantasy Harbour
Cost: $50 in advance, $90 at door
Seating is limited, so best to register in advance at http://www.whatworksmb.com/upcoming-seminars