To maintain on going relationships with clients/customers requires a consistent program that delivers value and meaningful actions. If you are not working at strengthening those relationships you are making it easier for your competitors to insert themselves into your market place. So what values (that require specific behaviors for them to be visible) and actions are you taking to facilitate a memorable customer service process?

We frequent the same restaurants and fast food establishments because we get what we want consistently. When they don’t deliver, we move on elsewhere. A few years ago my favorite coffee chain introduced a new flavored coffee, it hooked me. After the “season” was over I could not get a consistent replica of the same drink. Some of the people even asked me what went in it. When I wrote to the company about the lack of a consistent product, I got a form letter that said nothing. They are no longer my “favorite” coffee stop.

Customer service has become a joke. I think you will see the businesses closing in this economy are those who failed to create a good customer experience. So again I ask, what values and actions are you taking to insure that you retain the customers/clients you already have and want to have?

Can you be a resource to your customers/clients? As small business owners we all do a lot of networking. Letting people know about other products and services that can help customers address some of their other needs or challenges can create loyalty, which goes a long way in keeping your business stable.

Can you set yourself apart from the competition? The E-Myth defines customer service as “all things you provide over and above the basic value offered in your product or service. In other words it’s your chance to give your customers added value for their money, which will open up almost limitless opportunities to set you apart…”

Many retail businesses hire “shoppers” to get an objective view of what customers experience. Have you surveyed your customers/clients? When you know what the customer experience actually is, you can make the appropriate needed changes.

If you have employees, let them help you identify any problems or opportunities. Make sure everyone operates from the same set of procedures.

Remember, it costs less to keep a customer then it is to market for new ones, make sure your “customer service” warrants them coming back for more.