Cherish Your Customers June 2008

Last month, I asked you to be civil to your customers. Considering a situation from the customer's viewpoint, even when you have to deliver bad news, can ensure that your customer returns. Did you practice civility?
It's June!
Has this year gone by as quickly for you as it has for me? Have you made plans for the summer? Are you staying close to home because of gas prices?

Losing Customers Before You Get Them
"Never underestimate the power of the irate customer.."
--Joel E. Ross

Normally, I prefer to focus on the positive, finding examples of excellent customer service that can stand as shining illustrations for all of us in our own dealings with the people we depend on for our livelihood. However, something happened to my son that eclipsed my positive energy.

My son, his wife, and my grandson are getting ready to move to Illinois (yes, I will miss them terribly!) and he received a check that he needed to cash. Since time is short, rather than depositing the check at his bank, he went to the bank that the check was drawn on.

How to Lose a Potential Customer
Because my son did not have an account at that bank, he was informed that there would be a $5.00 fee for cashing the check. He was shocked. When he asked the teller what the fee was for, he was informed that it was because he was not a customer of the bank. The teller suggested, in an unpleasant tone, that he could deposit the check at his own bank if he didn't want to pay the charge. He agreed to the $5.00 charge and was about to get his money when the bank manager came up and asked him if he wanted to open an account, because it would save him $5.00. My son explained to the manager that he didn't want to do business with a bank that would not honor the amount written on a check drawn on that bank.

To be honest, I don't know if my own bank charges a fee to non-customers. I plan to find out. Charging someone a fee to honor a check seems like overreaching and just plain greed to me.

It wasn't just the fee that bothered me, though. What put me over the edge was the not-so-skillful attempt to sign a new customer after having treated that potential customer badly.

I treat my customers very well because I don't want to lose them. I don't believe they are always right, but I do understand that without their good will, I can't be successful in my business. I also know that anyone I meet can be a potential customer and it doesn't take much to make that "not-yet-customer" into "never-a-customer." Worse yet, it takes little more to get that "never-a-customer" to share negative information.

The Real Power
The good news is that as customers, we have the ability to reward businesses that do the right thing. We can do business with companies that treat everyone, both existing and potential customers, with respect.

For those of you who were wondering, the bank was Chase. I will be calling my bank today to find out what its policy is. Depending on the answer, I may be looking for a new bank. (If you know of a bank that honors the full amount on checks written on its accounts, let me know.)

puzzle light
I sure have a knowledgeable audience of readers. Dozens of you sent in the correct answer to last month's puzzle which asked what Cinco de Mayo commemorates. Noemi Candanoza-Gomez from San Antonio College was the fastest on the send button. She knew that May 5 is the date that the Mexican Army defeated the French at Puebla. Noemi will receive a $25 gift certificate from Nicavid's.

This month's puzzle is a little different. We're all feeling the effects of high gasoline prices. Send in your best idea for a vacation that uses little gasoline or vehicle fuel of any kind. Extra points awarded to those ideas that keep the overall cost down as well. The best answer (and I'll be the judge which is best) will win a $25 gift certificate from Nicavid's. I'll share all the ideas in next month's newsletter.

Nicavid's has rightfully been nominated for the AOL City's Best Dining in San Antonio for the DESSERT category, You may vote once each day. Help people find out what we already know. Click here to vote.

Crystallizations Training Sessions
Mark the second Thursday of each month for great learning opportunities. My primary business is offering soft skills training to corporations and government agencies. Individuals and small businesses have not had a chance to attend these sessions. As a result, I'm now offering short training sessions at the Greater Chamber's Small Business Resource Center. Last month was Email Etiquette. The next one is Working In Your Pajamas - things you need to know if you are thinking about starting a business, especially one from your home.

Working In Your Pajamas will be Thursday, June 12 , 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 share with anyone you know who may be interested in starting a business. I hope to see you next week!

grunting pig
Visit the Grunting Pug Music Shoppe
My friend, Denise Gregoire, has been collecting records for ages. Now she's sharing those vinyl albums (remember those?) and CDs at Craftiques Mall, 6751 Bandera Road, 210-523-0232.

Denise specializes in music from the 1930s-1960s a specialty and includes country, pop, rock and roll, Spanish/Tex Mex, jazz, big band and classical Denise also has some beautiful one-of-a-kind gift items, including jewelry.

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
History and Mystery Mixer Wed, 6/4, 5 PM More info...
Working In Your Pajamas Thu, 6/12, 10 AM More info...
Bexar County Meet the Buyers Thu, 6/26, 11 AM More info...
Small Business Training June classes More info...
Professional POLISH Thu, Jul 10, 10 AM More info...
Email Etiquette Thu, Aug 14, 10 AM More info...
Presenting without Panicking Thu, Sep 11, 10 AM More info...
Chamber Sail Away Cruise Thu, Nov 20 More info...
Don't Lose Them!
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