It could be argued that customer appreciation has never been more important for small businesses. Regardless of what types of products and/or services your enterprise specializes in, countless competitors can be found with the aid of any given search engine. As such, businesses that want to keep customers coming back will need to go the extra mile with regard to showing appreciation. Everyone enjoys feeling appreciated – and consumers are no exception. So, if you’re looking to turn first-time customers into repeat patrons, consider the following pointers.

Promptly Respond to Questions and Concerns

The timeliness with which you respond to questions and concerns from patrons is likely to say a lot about your overall approach to customer service. For example, if you make a point of responding to communiques from customers in an expedient manner, it’s safe to say that you value your patrons and regard their input with importance. On the flipside, if you habitually place customer communiques on the backburner, your patrons may well assume that they aren’t valued.

If your approach to providing responses to customers is reflected in the latter example, it’s in your best interest to get a handle on this. For instance, any emails, phone calls or social media messages you receive from customers should receive responses before the end of the business day – provided, of course, they’re sent on a business day and during normal hours of operation.

Should answering questions and responding to feedback in a timely manner prove too much of a strain on your time, consider hiring a dedicated customer service representative. This individual will take charge of all matters pertaining to customer service, from emails to phone calls to social media, and keep you abreast of important developments on any of those fronts.

Promptly Respond to Feedback from Social Media Followers

Over the last decade, social media has become one of the most prominent consumer feedback tools. As such, any feedback received via social media should be treated with the same level of importance as feedback received through more traditional channels. This means that any questions or concerns posited by your social media followers should be addressed in a courteous and expedient manner.

Taking this approach to social media feedback will show your followers how dedicated you are to customer satisfaction, thereby increasing your likelihood of receiving their continued patronage. Additionally, if the sizable majority of your customer feedback is received via social media, hiring a dedicated social media manager may prove worth your while.

Provide Customers with a Text Messaging Option

When it comes to settling customer service disputes, a growing number of consumers prefer text messaging to phone calls or email. In order to accommodate these individuals, make a point of providing a texting option to patrons who wish to have questions and/or concerns addressed. For instance, a convenient 2 way SMS will enable you to converse with patrons and sort out customer service issues in a simple, low-stress manner.

Be Willing to Admit Your Mistakes

Some people refuse to admit mistakes under any circumstances. While dealing with individuals like this is never pleasant, a refusal to own up to mistakes can be particularly bothersome on the part of a business owner. Furthermore, if this trait factors into one’s approach to customer service, the results can be downright ruinous for a business.

Although some customer grievances are 100% the fault of patrons, a fair number of complaints about your business are liable to result from actions on your part. Needless to say, refusing to acknowledge any mistakes made by your or your employees is not a sign of strength, but one of stubbornness. Alternatively, owning up to your mistakes, apologizing to the affected parties and taking active measures to take things right is far more likely to facilitate forgiveness and prevent your customer base from shrinking.

It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that loyal customers are the backbone of any business. In the absence of customer loyalty and repeat business, most enterprises would be unable to keep their doors open. As such, it behooves every business, regardless of size, to go above and beyond when it comes to showing customers how much they’re appreciated. The more appreciated your patrons feel, the more personally invested they’re likely to become in your business’s success. Any business looking to step up its customer appreciation game should heed the pointers discussed above.