SECTION 3 – Retaining customers – setting high standards, delivering value for money and a high-quality customer experience – continued

Other important considerations for provision of a high-quality customer experience:
– make it easy to do business with you – phones answered quickly, a staffed office, a booking system, a messenger system, social media, online booking all help to ensure customers can contact you by their chosen method at their convenience. Make sure all messages across all channels are consistent with each other.
– make sure your facilities are always clean, tidy, well maintained and safe and meet the highest possible standards. This is assumed by many yards but not always carried out.
– don’t cut corners on horse welfare – no one wants to see a tired out horse that is no fun or challenge to ride or poorly maintained fields and stable areas. Veterinary checks, farrier visits, vaccinations and teeth examinations must be kept up to date and never deferred.
– horses should be presented as well groomed, in a fit & healthy condition with excellent tack.
– never permit shouting or swearing or smoking at any time from staff and customers alike. It presents the business as a poorly managed facility.
– always have comprehensive policies, signage, yard rules, insurances and display them prominently.

Cross selling your services

Many centres accept a drop off rate from their riding school customers as inevitable. Many centres assume livery customers will come and go as a matter of course.
If a customer is getting an exemplary service in excellent friendly and welcoming facilities, why would they not return again and again?
There is nothing inevitable about customers not coming back time and again for the long term. The only exceptions in a riding centre will be those that only ‘want to have a go’ and those that move away from the area. Have you measured your drop off rate, or you net customer growth rate?

So rather than accepting the ‘inevitable’ you must recruit more customers than you lose AND do something to retain customers for longer.

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