How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back and Spending

When the going gets tough, the tough get creative. They’re not exactly offering bailouts, but everyone from travel companies to car manufacturers are doing their part to help those who have been laid off in an effort to keep customers spending and earn their loyalty, when things eventually turn around.

Ongoing Privé Salon is doing their best to help jobless hopefuls by offering clientele their Interview Prep Package, which includes a haircut, blowout, and manicure or eyebrow shaping for $95. After every mini-makeover Privé will forward résumés to a job-placement specialist.

Victims fleeced by Bernard Madoff’s investment scheme may be forgiven for being wary of a something-for-nothing offer,  but recently, New York City restaurant Nino’s 208 offered them a real deal: a free three-course meal. Nothing on the menu is off limits, from Poached halibut, and braised pork, to osso buco and filet mignon. All a person has to do is show proof of victimization.

JetBlue, eCruises.com, and others are offering refunds and other assurances to those who’ve lost their jobs, as they try to get people to travel. For example, eCruises.com, which sells cruises online, will let a customer who has been laid off cancel any cruise and get a refund. All that’s required is that the customer accept eCruises’ complimentary travel insurance when making the reservation. Everyone booked under a single reservation will be released from the trip if one of them is laid off. The newly unemployed can also escape from JetBlue Airways Corp. flights. The company said it will give a full refund to a passenger who involuntarily loses a full-time job – and to as many as eight traveling companions booked under the same reservation – as long as the axed passenger is the one who purchased the flight.

Geoff Freeman, senior vice president of the Travel Industry Association, a trade group, said the policies will help people who are worried about losing their jobs feel more comfortable about traveling. It’s a move other travel companies should follow.  “It’s beneficial to the entire country because when people travel, they generate jobs elsewhere,” he added.


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