Building Customer Loyalty- A Few Basics




If your company isn’t showing your customers you care, it’s time to get back to the basics. Your company’s survival depends on it.


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.
Building customer loyalty is a matter of focusing on the basics. Does your company need to refocus on any of them?
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 people. 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 a more specific question like, “Did our salesperson answer all your questions about XYZ product?” 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.


If your child is planning to work this summer, make sure you know the tax basics.



If your child is planning to work this summer, make sure you know the tax basics.

Tax returns. Assuming no other sources of income, your child will be able to earn up to $6,300 in 2016 before a federal income tax return has to be filed. However, if income tax is withheld from paychecks, your child will have to file a return to claim a refund.

Federal income tax withholding. When hired, your child will have to fill out Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. This form tells the employer how much federal income tax to withhold. If the job involves tips, remember that tips are taxable income. Have your child maintain records of amounts received.

Financial aid. Summer earnings can affect eligibility for college financial aid. If you’re counting on financial aid, check out the earnings limit ahead of time.

Retirement saving. Consider encouraging your child to open a Roth IRA. Amounts invested in a Roth can grow tremendously due to tax-free compounding over many years. As an incentive, you might match any amounts your child is willing to save.

For assistance with the tax issues relating to summer employment, contact us.

3 Tax-Savings Tips To Consider As Summer Approaches


Looking for suggestions to reduce your 2016 business tax liability? Here are three tips to consider as summer gets underway.
1. Business trips. When you travel on business this summer, you can write off your expenses – including airfare, lodging, and 50% of the cost of meals – if the primary motive of the trip is business-related. Costs attributable to personal side trips are nondeductible. If you travel by car, deduct actual business-related auto costs or a flat rate of 54 cents per mile (plus tolls and parking fees).
2. Hire your child. Does your teenaged child need a summer job? If you hire your child, the wages paid for actual services rendered are deductible, the same as wages of other employees. The wages will be taxable to your child at your child’s tax rate, which may be lower than your rate or that of your business.
3. Job credits. When your business hires workers from certain “target groups,” such as veterans and food stamp recipients, you may be able to claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The maximum credit is generally $2,400 per qualified worker. A special summertime credit is available for hiring youths residing in empowerment zones or enterprise communities who work for you between May 1 and September 15.
We have more summertime tax planning suggestions for your business. Contact us today.

How many employees does your business have for ACA purposes?


It seems like a simple question: How many full-time workers does your business employ? But, when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the answer can be complicated.
The number of workers you employ determines whether your organization is an applicable large employer (ALE). Just because your business isn’t an ALE one year doesn’t mean it won’t be the next year.

50 is the magic number
Your business is an ALE if you had an average of 50 or more full time employees — including full-time equivalent employees — during the prior calendar year. Therefore, you’ll count the number of full time employees you have during 2016 to determine if you’re an ALE for 2017.
Under the law, an ALE:
• Is subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions with their potential penalties, and
• Must comply with certain information reporting requirements.

Calculating full-timers
A full-timer is generally an employee who works on average at least 30 hours per week, or at least 130 hours in a calendar month.
A full-time equivalent involves more than one employee, each of whom individually isn’t a full-timer, but who, in combination, are equivalent to a full-time employee.

Seasonal workers
If you’re hiring employees for summer positions, you may wonder how to count them. There’s an exception for workers who perform labor or services on a seasonal basis. An employer isn’t considered an ALE if its workforce exceeds 50 or more full-time employees in a calendar year because it employed seasonal workers for 120 days or less.
However, while the IRS states that retail workers employed exclusively for the holiday season are considered seasonal workers, the situation isn’t so clear cut when it comes to summer help. It depends on a number of factors.

We can help
Contact us for help calculating your full-time employees, including how to handle summer hires. We can help ensure your business complies with the ACA.



Are you wanting to avoid ACA penalties?

Count employees to avoid ACA penalties!count
The IRS recently updated a web page explaining how to figure out if you’re an “applicable large employer,” or ALE. If you are, you may have to pay a penalty for not providing health insurance to your employees. For 2016, your business will generally meet the definition of an ALE if you employed an average of at least 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) during 2015. A full-time employee for any calendar month is one who averages at least 30 hours of service per week or at least 130 hours of service during the month.

4 Tips for recruiting new talent


Your people are your business’s key asset. As such, when it’s time to get new people, either to replace someone, or because your business is expanding, you need to make sure that you’re getting the best. Below are some helpful hints and strategies to make sure that when you’re seeking out new talent, you find the people who have the most to offer!

1.Start at home: Not literally, of course, but you should start your recruiting in-house. Look at the people you already have. Are you making the most of their talents? If you start your search among your current employees, you’ll be more likely to discover hidden talent, plus they are already familiar with your business, culture, and clients. Also, by recruiting from within, you show all of your employees that you appreciate their individual talents, strengths, and accomplishments, boosting morale dramatically.

2. Involve your staff: Your staff knows the ins and outs of your business like no one else. Their ideas, input, and suggestions often come from a place of experience and knowledge. Take advantage of that when you’re recruiting. They can recommend candidates, help review resumes and qualifications, and even participate in the interview process. By involving them, you also help ensure that your new hire will get the support they need to be successful. If your employees help in the hiring process, they are just as invested in that new hire’s success as you are.

3.  Use the right tools: You might look for new employees by putting an ad in the paper or posting on Craigslist, and you might get some replies, but if you’re not using sites like LinkedIn, you will be missing out. Professional networking sites are places where professionals gather to meet one another, talk about issues, and seek out opportunities. If you want to cast a wide net, with quality in mind, listing your opening on a site like this is key. Plus, you can very quickly look a potential candidate’s profile to get a sense of their experience, strengths, and interests.

4.  Let go of “perfect”: The perfect candidate just doesn’t exist. That being said, if you want to find the best candidate for the job, you need to start by defining what exactly is important and why. For instance, if you require that a candidate must have a certain degree, ask yourself why exactly that is. Perhaps you are concerned about a specific skill set, or character trait like persistence. Recognizing what you really need in a candidate can open you up to people you may have never considered, ultimately helping you to find the candidate that can best mesh with the rest of your staff, and of course, do the job well.


If you keep these tips in mind the next time you find yourself in need of new talent, you’ll be surprised at not only the caliber of candidates you attract, but also the reception they receive from the rest of your staff.

Wishing you the best,

McFadyen & Sumner, CPAs PA