Category Archives: Small Business And Personal Taxes

Building Customer Loyalty – A Few Basics

Building Customer Loyalty – A Few Basics

Building customer loyalty is a matter of focusing on the basics. Does your company need to refocus on any of them?

Studies have shown that businesses often spend five to six times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Over the long term, those dollars add up. In fact, a company’s ability to care for its customers often determines its survivability in the marketplace. Make customers happy and they’ll stick with you; disappoint them and they’ll tell their friends.

Hire friendly people. You have probably visited a business where you encountered a grumpy salesperson or a bashful receptionist. Unlikeable staff will not generate repeat business. The staff you employ should enjoy interacting with your customers. If your employees regularly hide out in the back room instead of greeting clients, it’s time to take a hard look at your hiring practices.

Request customer feedback. This can be as simple as spending a few minutes with a customer to inquire about his or her experience with your company. Be specific. Instead of asking, “How was our customer service today?”, ask something more along the lines of, “Did our salesperson answer all your questions about ‘XYZ’ project?”. You might also establish a focus group of customers to solicit ideas for improving your products and services.

Follow up. If customers spend valuable time providing their opinions via surveys, suggestion boxes, or focus groups, don’t ignore what they have to say. Let them know that you take their ideas seriously and are looking for ways to implement at least some of their suggestions.

Never stop training. Often employees treat customers rudely or disrespectfully because they simply lack training in proper etiquette. Show them the proper way to answer phone calls, how to make eye contact and smile, how to help without being pushy. With a little focused training, most people can learn good customer service skills. Take time upfront to develop these skills in your employees and you’ll reap dividends in customer loyalty.

Model proper behavior. Simply put, the boss should exemplify top-notch customer service. If your employees see you treating clients poorly, don’t be surprised if they assume that such behavior is acceptable.

Remember: it’s easier to keep an existing client than to beat the bushes for a new one. It’s cheaper, too.

The Real Definition of ‘Dependent’ May Surprise You.

The Real Definition of ‘Dependent’ May Surprise You.

Many people think of a ‘dependent’ as a minor child who lives with you. This is true, but it’s important to remember that dependents can include, parents, other relatives and non-relatives, and even children who don’t live with you. Exemptions and your taxable income. Each dependent deduction is worth $4,050 on your 2016 and 2017Continue Reading

Tax Bracket, Tax Rate, What’s the Difference?

Tax Bracket, Tax Rate, What’s the Difference?

The difference between your tax bracket and your tax rate is more than a trick question. For example, knowing your tax rate gives you an accurate reflection of your tax liability in relation to your total income. Knowing your tax bracket is useful for planning purposes. For instance, you may want to spread a RothContinue Reading

Start Smart: Five Items to Focus on When Starting a New Business.

Start Smart: Five Items to Focus on When Starting a New Business.

Are you starting a new business in the New Year? Put these items on your to-do list for your smart start. Business plan. Outline who will own the business and what the legal form will be, your qualifications to run the business, the competitive market you face, the products or services you will sell, andContinue Reading

Go into Business with your Spouse and Succeed

Starting and running a business is rarely a safe or simple process, and doing so with one’s spouse creates an additional layer of complexity. Whether that complexity will have a positive or negative effect depends on several factors. Here are some of the questions you need to discuss before going into business with your spouse.Continue Reading

Tax Consequences When Borrowing From Your 401(K)

When you borrow from your 401(k), you become both a borrower and a lender. Whether that’s a good idea depends on your personal financial situation – and in the process of making the decision about lending money to yourself, you may have questions regarding the tax consequences. For instance, though you probably know the initialContinue Reading