No business can thrive without a dedicated customer base, and successful businesses aim to turn every new customer into a repeat client who wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. As a small business owner, one of the best ways to differentiate yourself can be excellent customer service. There’s no real magic to building a successful client base. In fact, it’s as easy as remembering the things one learned in school.

Listen to your customers

Listening is a key part of providing a good customer experience. Let your clients see that you’re paying attention to what they have to say. Take the time to talk with them, listen to their feedback (both good & bad) and ask good questions. If you can’t respond right away, be sure to set a timeline and then stick to it. Following up to make sure issues have been resolved to your customers satisfaction is key.

Treat them as you would treat yourself

It’s a simple thing, but the “Golden Rule” of treating others as you want to be treated never goes out of style. Talk to your staff about strategies for providing a positive experience. Greet them kindly, ask them how you can help them, then help them get what they need, whether it is a specific product or information. You also want to demonstrate that they are valued and important. Additionally, never challenge an unhappy customer. Listen to them, reassure them that you are there to help, then follow through until resolution.

Carry Good Customer Service Across all Touch Points

Among the best ways to keep customers happy is to set up robust customer service across all aspects of client interaction. Whether it’s providing excellent service when they come into your physical location or listening to their needs when they call in with a complaint, anywhere your business touches a client is an opportunity to provide a good experience. This translates online as well. Be sure you are actively listening, engaging, monitoring, and responding to your customers online, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or some other online community.

By taking the time to embed good customer service skills in your day to day operations, you’ll continue to see increased customer satisfaction.