Cherish Your Customers October 2008

Last month, I suggested that looking at the customer's experience from his or her point of view would increase your business. Have you tried it yet? Do you find it easy or difficult to get into your customer's shoes?
I don't think I've ever seen a more important election than the one we are facing this year. No matter what your issues, take the time to vote.

The deadline for Voter Registration in Texas is October 6. If you live in Bexar County, you can confirm that you are registered at this site. No matter where you live, please check with your voter registrar's office to make sure you are registered, even if you are sure you are.

In Texas, early voting starts October 20 and ends October 31. Election Day is November 4. If you live in Bexar County, you can check these sites.
Early voting sites
Sample ballot
Early voting locations, hours, and dates

There is so much spin in this Presidential campaign. If you have not yet decided who you support (or even if you have), please visit these sites:

Read the positions of each candidate and then make an informed decision when you vote. Vote your issues; vote your pocketbook. Just vote. Please.

Adjust your Attitude
"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude." --William James

With the news from the last week or two, I realize how incredibly lucky I am. I live in San Antonio, where the economic downturn (or meltdown or crisis or whatever we are calling it this hour) has not taken as big a toll as it has in other parts of the country. I own my own business, so I have no concerns about being laid off. I am not wealthy, so although I'm losing money on the few investments I have, I'm not losing a lot (I owe some of that luck to Kevin Moore, my very talented financial adviser) and should be able to weather this storm since I'm convinced that the market will recover before I need the money. I'm not living on a fixed income. I can hustle a bit more and earn a bit more to cover any increase in expenses.

That said, I could focus on the negative aspects, but I'd rather not. I've had my own business for over nine years (stay tuned for a big 10th anniversary celebration in April 2009) and I've discovered that no one wants to do business with someone who is negative, including me. Delivering good customer service means providing your customers with positive experiences that make them want to come back to you.

So what can you do to turn that attitude around when you are surrounded by bad news? Here are my suggestions

1. Make a list of the things that are going right in your life.
While you are making this list, banish those "well, yes, but it could be better" thoughts. Spend five minutes and actually write down everything that is good about your life, your relationships, your business, the place you live, the weather, your health, anything you can think of to fill out that list. If you truly cannot think of anything that is positive, please contact me. I know a number of counselors who may be able to help.

2. If the news is all negative, avoid it.
You don't have to tune out completely, but try to go a few days without watching cable news or listening to talk radio. You will be surprised at how much calmer you will feel. Trust me, if the world is about to come to an end, you will be notified.

3. Find some time to spend with the people you love.
I just got back from a few days with my grandson. At almost two years old, he has a very different take on life. He loves cell phones and Sponge Bob and apples (one of the words he can say clearly). What is important to him is getting a good nap and having food when he is hungry. When those needs are met, the rest is icing on the cake, isn't it?

4. Think of people who have bigger problems than you do.
Remember New Orleans. Remember Galveston. As a teenager, if I complained about my life, my father would say, "I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." This doesn't mean that your problems are not serious. But sometimes, focusing on others can give us a perspective that helps us see our own situation in a different light.

5. Find something you can do for someone else.
What restores my soul is seeing how people help each other out during disasters and other crisis situations. Consider donating what's left of your disposable income to the American Red Cross or go global with your help and "Fill the Cup" at the World Food Programme.

Hang in there, ya'll. We'll get through this. Adopt that positive attitude and your customers will keep showing up, even in tough economic times.

puzzle light
Last month, I asked who the oldest and youngest nominees for President were (major parties and first-time run)? The first correct response (Oldest - Bob Dole at 73, Youngest - William Jennings Bryan at 36) came from Carol Weldon. Carol wins a $25 gift certificate.

This month, I can't help but give you one more election related question. How were Vice-Presidents originally chosen? When did this system change? The first person to send in the correct answer will win $25 of mouth-watering food at Nicavid's.

Crystallizations Training
Do you need help feeling at ease in networking situations? Are you using the "Trilogy of Trust" to develop your business? Learn how to use your networking time effectively and avoid situations that waste time and money.

My next open to the public session, Making Connections s on Thursday, October 16, from 10:00 AM to 11:30. Learn how to develop business relationships that last.

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. I hope to see you next week!

SMWBVO conference
Volunteer at the Biggest Small Business Event
The 8th Annual Small, Minority,Women and Veteran Business Owners Conference will be held Wednesday, December 10. As always, I need volunteers.

The exciting news is that this year, we have a new location - the Freeman Coliseum, 3201 E. Houston St. - which means that parking is free for volunteers and attendees. No more shuttle buses, no more downtown double digit parking prices! The Coliseum floor will be covered with government agencies and corporations who want to buy your product or service.

If you want to help with registration, crowd control, or directions, please contact me. I'll provide more details as we get closer to the event. This is a great opportunity to bring your whole team to join this amazing small business event.

Upcoming Events
Greater Chamber Roundtable - I'm MC Thu, 10/2, 7 AM More info...
Coffee with Richard Perez Fri, 10/3, 7 AM More info...
Health Care Summit Tue, 10/14, 7 AM More info...
Making Connections Thu, 10/16, 10 AM More info...
Women's Economic Summit Thu 10/30, 8 AM More info...
Chamber Roundtable - I'm MC Thu, 11/6, 7 AM More info...
Unlocking Your Creativity Thu, 11/13, 10 AM More info...
8th Annual Small Business Conference Wed, 12/10, 7 AM More info...
Adjust your Attitude!
Thanks for reading. Feedback is always appreciated!
How to Reach Me
Crystal Communications
Crystal Darby
Email Marketing by