Speaker gets high grades for "Generating Customer Loyalty" ©

The Courier News
By Matt Baron

SOUTH ELGIN – Tossing out Tootsie Pops and bits of business advice, professional speaker Rita Emmett urged a group of area business leaders last week not to forget one of the most potent assets a company can have: its own customer base.

Emmett delivered the talk "Generating Customer Loyalty Means Good Business" during the annual meeting last week of the South Elgin Business Association. Weaving stories from her past as an educator and mother along with business insights, Emmett employed metaphors and candy to connect with the audience.

Taking care of the business you’ve already developed pays off. According to Emmett, creating new customers requires five times more effort as providing service to existing customers.

The Des Plaines woman told the 110 people in attendance that perfection is unattainable, but excellence is achievable.

Along those lines, earlier in the meeting, SEBA elected new officers and presented the group’s first Community Image Award to the Centennial Committee of the village for its role in the past summer’s event.

"To me, a satisfied customer is a ‘C’ on a report card," she said. "We’re looking for A’s and B’s."

Rob Ferrigan, a commercial banker at Old Kent Bank in Elgin, called Emmett "very motivational and captivating."

"The fact she is Irish didn’t hurt, either," Ferrigan chuckled.

On a serious note, Ferrigan said that when he encountered a friend who was frustrated with a situation the next day, he passed on Emmett’s message of not trying for perfection, but reaching for excellence.

Emotion sparks loyalty, she added. Emmett related an incident one snowy night when her car ended up in a ditch many miles from home. Bedraggled and doubtful there would be space at a nearby hotel, Emmett encountered a clerk who quickly assured her that the hotel would do everything in its power to arrange for a tow truck and to make other accommodations.

Emmett hasn’t forgotten the episode, and now frequents the hotel chain every chance she gets.

In short, she said, business ought to adopt the same can-do spirit.

"The answer is yes! Now what’s the question?" said Emmett.

Perhaps as important as knowing what to do is sensing whom you are dealing with, such as "crazy makers," or disgruntled folks. Companies need to be aware of the importance of having a skillful receptionist, who is often the first and only contact someone will have with a business.

Sometimes, those who are most upset can become a company’s biggest boosters, she said.

Noting that consumer expectations are not necessarily very high, Emmett said placing cartoons or quotations on a waiting room wall can make a difference.

"It doesn’t take a lot to make customers happy," she said.

Emmett was a crowed-pleaser in her own right, as a number of audience members said they wished Emmett had more time to speak, according to Joyce Lueth, a member of SEBA’s board of directors.

"Everybody seemed to enjoy what she had to say," Lueth said. "She was full of information."

Rita Emmett presents talks and seminars on a variety of subjects to associations, organizations, and conferences.


Want to write a book? Go to Rita’s web site www.RitaEmmett.com and click on The Writer’s Room. Take a look at Rita's The Procrastinator's Guide To Authorship: Stop Putting Off Your Success. Find a free article about writing proposals in The Writer’s Room

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Rita Emmett, author of The Procrastinator’s Handbook and The Clutter-Busting Handbook, is a professional speaker who presents Keynotes and Seminars nationwide. She can be reached at 847-699-9950 and email is Rita@RitaEmmett.com

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