Building an Offline Business Using Online Resources: The Story of Senior ZoomBeth Thouin
Every business can benefit from a website, even businesses that mostly operate offline. This is certainly true for Senior Zoom, the concierge service that helps seniors safely use rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft.
I met Lyle Tomasky, the founder and owner of Senior Zoom, when he came to Web.com for help building and launching his company website. Tomasky’s business really demonstrates how someone can see a need in the world, put a plan in action, and then use technology to take their business to the next level (and help make the world a safer place).
I hope you feel as inspired as I did after learning about what he’s doing to serve a vulnerable population in his community. Here’s Lyle Tomasky’s story.
An Idea Is Born: Keeping Seniors Safe
Ridesharing apps have only been around for about a decade, but they are extremely popular. Last year, between 24% and 43% of the population hailed a ride from Uber or Lyft. Lyle Tomasky has been working in the transportation industry for 20 years—long before the launch of Uber—but he has been wisely growing and evolving his business with the times.
In the beginning, Tomasky offered a traditional taxi service, but, over the years, his business transitioned from picking up calls into a private, appointment-only service. Tomasky then started offering town car service for business travelers who needed to get to the airport or people looking for a chauffeur that billed by the hour.
In 2017, he arrived at the Hard Rock Casino in Sarasota, Florida to pick up 74-year-old Hayat Brancheau and drive her home. The doorman jumped in to accompany her on the ride. This caught Tomasky’s attention, and he quickly learned that Brancheau requested an escort because she had been kidnapped and robbed earlier that year by a rideshare app driver.
Tomasky has two decades of experience in the industry, but he found Brancheau’s story shocking. Everyone deserves a safe and comfortable ride. He was compelled to help older customers by offering a service that would make them feel secure using the latest transportation technology.
This is how the idea for Senior Zoom was born.
Getting His New Business Started
Tomasky’s idea was to create concierge service for members of the senior community who want to use ridesharing apps. He wanted to help patrons feel comfortable using the technology by eliminating any worries they might have about getting home safely.
To make his business stand out, Tomasky knew he should make it possible to personalize the service. After all, research has shown that customers desire the control that comes with personalized services. With this in mind, he decided to offer ride monitoring from pick up to drop off.
He then realized he could take it a step further by having his customers create their own profiles, which include emergency contact information as well as addresses for doctors and family members. Senior Zoom makes these details available for the driver, eliminating any stress customers might feel about taking a ride. All they need to do is be ready to go at the time of pickup.
Tomasky also included an option for text message updates with the service. If this option is activated, Senior Zoom will text the customer’s loved ones to let them know when the customer is on the move and when they have safely arrived at their destination.
Taking His Business Online
After Tomasky got Senior Zoom off the ground, he knew he needed a website to spread the word, a place where people could learn more about his service and find his contact information.
“I don’t know anything about websites, but Web.com’s Builder made creating a website easy. Everything about the Website Builder impressed me. I had my website up and running in a day. I can update it as my business evolves and make the changes required to meet the needs of my customers,” Tomasky says.
If you’re interested in creating a website but don’t have a day to spare, check out our DIY guide to building a website in just 15 minutes.
Tomasky has already seen the positive impact that a website can have on business. Since launching the website three months ago, he has acquired over 100 new customers.
Driving Senior Zoom Into the Future
Lyle is now using an integrated marketing approach to acquire customers, including running Google Ads and engaging with his audience in retirement homes by giving presentations on safe travel. This combination of approaches is helping to grow Lyle’s business — both online and offline.
When asked if he would recommend the Web.com Website Builder, Lyle had this to say: “I still don't have much experience in website design, but Web.com’s website builder makes it so easy that I’m sure anyone with basic computer skills could build a very nice site. Having tried some of the other sites’ design programs, Web.com’s is by far the easiest to navigate with limited knowledge.”