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Growing Customer Counts through Existing Methods

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators. The author, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, brings to NATSO a wealth of knowledge about our industry.

Join Darren here every other Thursday for his biweekly retail column.

{Great Ideas} Growing Customer Counts through Existing Methods

Interested in growing your daily customer counts without spending a lot of hard-earned capital? There is a simple way, and it is called NATSO Check-Link™.

Oddly, many NATSO members already have the service however that is where it stops. Having the service does not mean that you are increasing your daily customer counts for your operation or that you are improving your value proposition to over-the-read (OTR) drivers. During visits to NATSO members, I am hard pressed to find collateral and support for Check Link.

Over 4,000 drivers writing checks at any given time of the day, 100 gallon fill average at your location’s diesel retail… that is a significant revenue and customer count potential. What amount does an owner operator spend on non-fuel purchases while visiting your store? Historically owner operators have the highest average ticket purchase among all those types of customers who frequent our establishments.

Here at the NATSO office, we get calls daily asking for locations that accept Check-Link. The calls are from drivers who are at locations that do not accept Check-Link or are at locations that do but are saying they do not, or not sure if they do.

You always have the appropriate marketing collateral posted for the host of other payment methods that are accepted and you would never think not to post the marketing message of these payment methods. Thus, the same concern and interest should be shown with Check-Link.

When is the last time you did a Check Link audit at your store? If it has been a while, it is time to do it again. Here are six simple steps to ensure that Check-Link is adding to your operations value proposition as well as increasing customer counts.

  1. Is your staff trained in the feature and benefits of Check-Link? Are they speaking about them to customers during the transaction process who are using other methods of payment?
  2. Are Check-Link applications easily visible and accessible?
  3. Is the marketing for Check-Link in place, marketing such as “Check-Link, A Pot of Gold…”
  4. Do you have updated, clean, visible and accurate window decals?
  5. Do you have updated, clean, visible and accurate entry door decals?
  6. Do you have updated, clean, visible and accurate fuel dispenser decals?

Check-Link, a simple existing way to increase your customer counts and revenues. Contact Kimberly Roberts at to request any of the marketing collatoral above.

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.