Our story isn’t one of providing a specific customer experience or helping a particular person in need. It is more about embracing our community and business organizations to provide experiences for the residents.
Our first year with Liberty Tax, 2014, had us completing 386 returns during tax season which we thought was a terrible result. Turns out, other local zees congratulated us for doing so well in year one for our area. There were so many things we did not understand about the business and not coming from a tax background was a big challenge. However, we worked the system and really took to heart the concept of visiting 50 businesses a day, every day. As business professionals, we knew that connecting with local businesses and their employees would lead to recognition and referrals. We know visibility is key and we needed the community to understand we were not a “pop-up”. You see, virtually no one had ever heard of Liberty Tax in the southernmost city of Orange County, CA.
We joined the local Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association and fully immersed ourselves. The City of San Clemente has a lot of events between these two groups and we have tried to participate in every one. When posters need to be distributed around town, we volunteer. When help with any event is needed, we are there. When more participants are needed in Salsa Competitions and Chowder Cook-offs, we head to our kitchen. We attend the monthly breakfast and luncheon meetings, we wrote an endorsement letter for the Chamber, we attend every Ribbon Cutting ceremony we can. Liberty Tax is everywhere!
Our second season, 2015, had us completing 608 returns in our Downtown San Clemente location only. Sadly, our retention rate from 2014 was only around 50%. We struggled with understanding how to create raving fans our first year. Our office is also near Camp Pendleton Marine Base and we lose many clients when they are discharged and move back to their home states. The good news though is that means we attracted over 400 new clients 2015. We studied our lessons from that first year and know we provided a great customer experience in our second year. Our goal for 2016 is 1,000 returns with at least 80% retention.
We realize that may be a lofty goal for a third year store but here’s what has happened over the summer:
The City Council has banned our waver. It was splashed all over the local papers and residents noticed. So many people tell us they will miss this bright spot in their day. We have the sympathy of the public, they feel a loss.
Our participation in the Fiesta Salsa Competition that first year turned into the opportunity to staff a beverage booth this summer at Fiesta. Huge exposure! We raised over $570 in tips for a local charity. This booth is now ours every year as long as we want it. The event draws around 30,000 people.
Our participation in the Chowder Cook-off that first year turned into the opportunity to erect a Hospitality Booth next to our chowder booth this year (no charge!). Festival goers loved it!
Poster distribution has allowed us to engage with downtown businesses on a consistent basis all year. We have done this task about 5 times in the off-season and are recognized everywhere we go.
We volunteered as greeters at the ‘Taste of San Clemente’ event. In exchange, the chamber allowed us to place logoed mints and napkins at all the tables. We were the only logoed item at an event that had nothing to do with us.
The Chamber asks us to accompany them when they market for new members, opening doors for us that might otherwise be difficult to get through. We are teaching their staff how to engage!
Vicky has been asked to accept a position on the Executive Board of Directors for the Downtown Business Association and to be a judge in the citywide Christmas Decoration Contest by the Chamber of Commerce.
And lastly, a local bill pay and money transfer business with over 17 years in the community has asked us to take over their business as they retire at the end of this year. They don’t want anything in exchange other than for us to give the same care and customer service they see us give our customers. They told us they saw how we are out in the community and how friendly we are and that’s why they chose us. The transfer of their business to us is in process and we now have the opportunity for 1,500 people to walk through our doors every month beginning January 1, 2016!
I realize this all may sound like bragging but I assure you that is not the feeling behind it. Being fanatical about our Liberty Tax business and participating in and with our community has brought us incredible opportunity to meet the people where they are. It has put Liberty Tax “top of mind” and opened wonderful new relationships and business services growth. Every event has us distributing crowns, backpacks, pens, notepads, mints and more. This past weekend a mother shared a photo of her young son who wanted to dress up like the Statue of Liberty for Halloween and he was holding a sign reading, “Income Tax”. He wanted to wave with us this upcoming season. Sadly, we didn’t receive a copy of the photo but we realized the impact our presence is having.
We are fanatical about Liberty Tax and work hard to promote the spirit of providing fanatical customer service, setting the standard, improving each day and having fun doing it.
Thank you for your consideration of choosing our story for your Fanatical at Liberty award.
San Clemente, CA