A personal touch in networking and customer service can spell success for businesses large and small, members of the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce learned in a recent workshop.

The workshop was held Friday at the Texas Community Bank Community Room and was hosted by the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Javier Martinez introduced members of the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board of directors and the committee of chamber members who planned and organized the customer service workshop.

Martinez also welcomed County Commissioner Pct. 1 Martin Wardlaw and his wife Elaine Wardlaw and Pauline Anton of Buda, Texas, president and chief executive officer of the Texas Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC).

Sergio Diaz, Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president, introduced the keynote speaker, J.R. Gonzales, of JRG Communications, Austin, who also serves as executive vice chair of TAMACC.

“Tonight we’re going to be talking about the importance of customer service and the secret of effective networking . . .We’re getting away from customer service, and I always say, you can have the best restaurant in the world, and if that place closes, a lot of times that has nothing to do with the food, it’s about customer service. It’s that simple. If the customer doesn’t get treated right, he or she won’t go back,” Diaz said.

He said he and the chamber board began talking about what they could do to help the Del Rio community begin a dialogue about good customer service.

Gonzales began his talk by performing several quick exercises with members of the audience, showing them the importance of wearing their name tags on the upper right sides of their chests. He said most persons shake hands with their right hands, and the tag is then directly in the other person’s line of sight.

Gonzales also gave some quick tips for remembering the names of new persons they meet at business functions.

“Remember that people buy from people. There’s a lot of competition. You aren’t competing against your neighbor. You aren’t competing against the store across the city. You competing in a global market. You’re competing with the internet. You’re competing with Amazon, with all the sites out there,” Gonzales said.

He urged Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce members to work together to improve their businesses and to do business with each other.

“Take the Jewish community, or the Asian community. Money will circulate six or seven times in that community before it goes out. We need to learn to start spending money with each other, whether it be a Chick-Fil-A franchise, an H-E-B, a jewelry store, an optometrist. Do business first with your own community, and try to keep the money here,” Gonzales said.

“One of the functions of the chamber of commerce is to work to keep the money here,” he added.

Gonzales also spoke about the importance of having “an elevator speech” ready. He said everyone should have a 30- to 45-second speech ready to convey the high points of their business.

He then asked those attending the workshop to take a few minutes to develop their own “elevator speech” to introduce themselves and their business. After participants were done, Gonzales asked them to find someone in the room they didn’t know, approach that person and give them their speech.

Gonzales also reviewed principles of customer service with the group, urging them to make personal connections with members of their community.

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