Cherish Your Customers April 2008

Last month, I wrote to you about how important it is to thank your customers. Have you shown your gratitude lately? Thanks to all of you who decided to thank me. Those messages keep me going!
It's April! In San Antonio, that means only one thing - Fiesta! I hope you enjoy the season and all it has to offer. Click on the link below for the full event schedule.

Unexplored Territory
"Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory. Be brave enough to live life creatively."
--Alan Alda

Have you noticed how many companies have started adding services that are not part of their regular offerings? McDonald's is now renting videos in the drive-thru lane. Wineries have started providing tourism opportunities. Air-conditioning companies are offering alternative and green energy products (visit my friends at Air-Stream) Starbuck's started selling music and Borders is selling coffee.

Amazon's model
Amazon started this trend by going from selling books and music to selling everything. In the last year, I've bought audio speakers, toys for my grandson, an electric razor, and a pedometer as well as an assortment of books.

What about your company? Is there territory you can explore? Are there additional products or services that you can offer to your customers? Understanding your customers and their needs can be beneficial to you as well as the customer. Walk through a typical day in your customer's life. What can you offer that will add value to your customer's experience? Is there an additional product or service that might fit nicely with what you already offer? Or is there a product or service that doesn't really fit, but is something additional you can provide? After all, McDonald's is not a video store, but a large number of McDonald's customers get ready for an evening by picking up a meal and a video. McDonald's saves their customers the extra stop.

Finding your unexplored territory
How do you find these additional services? Ask. Ask each customer what else he or she needs. If you can't add the service, become a connector. Put your customers together with businesses that can provide the additional products and services that they need.

I had an opportunity recently to add a service to my offerings. I have done training for businesses and government agencies for years, including train-the-trainer and presentation skills training. I have also provided writing services to all sorts of clients. One of my clients asked me to attend their new employee orientation and evaluate it. I've done a large amount of research to uncover the best practices to bring new hires onboard quickly and efficiently, while helping to reduce the ever-pervasive disorientation and uncertainty that comes from starting a new job. It was a natural addition to my offerings, but one I wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't had a conversation with my customer.

From your customer's viewpoint
Think about your business from your customer's viewpoint. What else does your customer need? Is it something you can offer? If so, add it to your services. If not, find someone who offers that product or service and team up. You may find some additional income to balance out this economy. Unexplored territory can reap volumes!

puzzle light
Last month, I asked you what is it about Texas' system for choosing Presidential political party candidates that makes it different from every other state? May of you knew that we had a primary and a caucus. Some of you mentioned that we have an open primary. No one sent in the correct answer, that the one thing that sets us apart is that we have a semi-open primary and a closed caucus. You have to have voted in the primary and chosen a party in order to participate in the caucus. This is what is known as the Texas-Two-Step in political circles.

Here's an easy one for Fiesta fans. At what Fiesta event are you the most likely to get a chance to be part of a "second line.? The first person to answer correctly will win a $25 gift certificate from Nicavid's.

Crystallizations Training Sessions
Announcing another new service! I will be offering short training sessions on a variety of topics including business writing, business etiquette, email etiquette, unlocking your creativity, networking, motivating yourself and your team, and other subjects. These will be 1.5 hour sessions at the Greater Chamber's Small Business Resource Center at Blanco and 410. Each session will be $30.

The first session will be on May 15 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 and will cover email etiquette. Save the date and start thinking about all the people you know who need to attend. More details will be in the May issue of Crystallizations.

Upcoming Events
BRAC Opportunity Luncheon Thu, 4/8, 11 AM More info...
Chamber Pre-Fiesta Mixer Wed, 4/15, 5 PM More info...
City Council District 1 Tour Thu, 4/16, 7 AM More info...
Small Business Training April Events More info...
Explore new territory!
Thanks for reading. Feedback is always appreciated!
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Crystal Communications
Crystal Darby
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