The key to success for many of the small service businesses identified in this book lies in their ability to maintain a base of loyal customers. As the Waymark Holidays cross-country skiing literature points out (Case Study 8), ‘much of our success over the past two decades has been due to the loyalty of our regular customers, many of whom travel with us every year — in some cases, twice or even three times per season’. The hairdresser (Case Study 1), for example, also estimates that about 90 per cent of all customers have been to the salon at least 5 times. These organisations have been able not only to attract customers to their service in the first instance, but also to develop and maintain a series of long-term relationships with many clients that have helped to secure the survival of their business. Many of their loyal customers act as an important referral source for new business, recommending their service to new clients.
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