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This story appears in the April 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Amy treated each of her vacation rental guests with respect and ensured that they had an enjoyable time. About six months into her venture, a guest cancelled his reservation only a day before his arrival date. To make matters worse, he demanded his nonrefundable security deposit back.

Amy was annoyed with the request because she couldn't rebook the dates at the last minute. After taking a couple of hours to let the emotion pass, she reassessed the situation. She realized that, up to that point, their business relationship had been solely electronic and therefore impersonal. Rather than e-mail her customer, Amy decided to pick up the phone and contact him personally. She still wanted his business and offered to apply 50 percent of his rental deposit to a future booking.

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