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21532194_SWhat is a business without customers? Nothing, right? The reality is that relationships are the lifeblood of any business, but companies will often miss the mark on developing them. This is largely because their primary focus is more on the bottom line. Instead they should focus their efforts on building trust, fostering open communication and keeping commitments. Here are a few ways to create and keep happy customers around:

1. Get to know your clients’ industries. What key issues do they face on a regular basis. You want them to know that you value their work and want them to succeed. In doing so you might learn more about their obstacles and how you might be able to help.

2. Be responsive and communicate regularly. When questions arise, make sure you acknowledge them. You may not be able to answer the question at that moment but a quick response is better than putting them off.

3.  Stay in touch. Recapping your conversation with a quick email is always a good idea. Always follow-through with what you said you were going to do. That’s how trust is built. If you are unable to make a deadline, then it’s important you communicate that to your client as soon as possible. Failing to keep your commitments could negatively impact your relationship and future sales.

4. Exceed expectations. A client with an extraordinarily great experience will not only return in the future, but they are also more likely to recommend you to their friends. What does going the extra mile look like? For example, you could show gratitude by sending them a personal thank you note for their business. Check in every now and then with no agenda. Host a customer appreciation event.

In short, in order to take the customer experience to the next level, you must raise the expectations that you have of yourself and of others in your company.