Cherish Your Customers May 2008

Last month, I asked you to consider what other products or services you could offer to your existing customers that might meet their needs. Did you venture into unexplored territory?
Spring in San Antonio
Don't you just love this time of year in San Antonio? We're past the frenetic energy of Fiesta, but the weather is still nice enough to enjoy outdoor activities. What are you doing this month?

"Civility costs nothing, and buys everything."
--Mary Wortley Montagu

I love the above quotation, because it is a reminder that even in tough economic times there is one thing you can do as a business to ensure that you do not lose customers. Civility seems like an old-fashioned word, but companies that adopt a policy of civility find that their customers return to them, even if their needs cannot always be met. Showing civility is making sure that you are courteous and polite. The act of civility, at its simplest, means that you show regard for other people's feelings.

That's our policy
What do you do when you have to deliver bad news to a customer? Do you fall back on the "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do for you. That's the policy" response?

There are times when you have no choice but to deliver news that the customer doesn't want to hear. It may be because of something you have done or it may be regulations that you have no control over. Adopting a policy of civility is a good idea no matter what the situation, but it can be especially helpful during difficult situations.

Show regard for the customer
Civility means that you think about what this situation means to the customer. What position does it put the customer in? Are you able to offer any assistance? Is there something else you can do that will reduce the inconvenience that the customer will experience?

If you find that you have to fall back on "It's our policy" frequently, reconsider the policy or how you advertise the policy. Publicize up front the conditions that create the most customer complaints. Make sure that your customers are reminded of the return policy, or be up front about your credit terms. Think about how you would feel if you were in that situation. How can you improve service even if you can't change the rules?

You don't have to change the rules
Changing the rules to accommodate all situations can be costly, but civility and honest communication with your customers will save you time and money, and in most cases, save you customers as well.

puzzle light
You guys are speedy! I had a ton of correct answers to last month's puzzle, but the first two came in at exactly the same time and were both right. Both Jackie Gorman from Ivy Consulting and Tami Rivera from Bexar County.knew that the "second line" is featured at the Taste of New Orleans Fiesta event.. Both will receive $25 gift certificates.

This month's puzzle is about yesterday. What does Cinco de Mayo commemorate? The first person to answer correctly will win a $25 gift certificate from Nicavid's.

Email Etiquette
Sign Up Now
Announcing a new service! I'm offering short training sessions at the Greater Chamber's Small Business Resource Center. The first will feature a fun-filled, energy-packed hour and a half on the dos and don'ts of email.

Learn how big your attachments should be and what happens to them if you aren't careful, how to make sure your message is read, how to spot a phony message, how to reduce spam and viruses, and how to brand yourself as a professional.

The first session will be on May 15 from 10:00 AM to 11:30. Just $30 gets you a seat and handouts. (Group discounts are available.) You can send the check to Crystal Communications at the address below or call to arrange credit card payment through PayPal.

Space is limited so RSVP now . Please forward to all the people you know who need to attend. You know who they are. They are the ones who refuse to use BC when sending jokes. (smile)

Are you a music collector?
Visit my friend Denise Gregoire's collection at Craftiques Mall, 6751 Bandera Road, 210-523-0232.

Denise specializes in music from the 1930s-1960s a specialty. Country, pop, rock and roll, Spanish/Tex Mex, jazz, big band and classical are available in both vinyl and CD format.

If you are looking for specific items as gifts or to complete your collection, you can email Denise at Please tell her I sent you.

Upcoming Events
SBA Small Business Loans Seminar Wed, 5/7, 11:30 AM More info...
City Council District 7 Tour Fri, 5/9, 7 AM More info...
Email Etiquette Thu, 5/15, 10 AM More info...
City Council District 10 Tour Fri, 5/23, 7 AM More info...
City Council District 1 Tour Fri, 5/30, 7 AM More info
Small Business Training May Events More info
Practice Civility!
Thanks for reading. Feedback is always appreciated!
How to Reach Me
Crystal Communications
Crystal Darby
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