What used to be simply a support function of a company, customer is now one of the most crucial areas of your business. In order to grow your customer base, increase user engagement, and increase customer retention, businesses today know they have to do everything in their power to keep their customers happy.

We have all had experiences with companies that provide bad customer service. Some companies fall short of their sales promise. Others are hard to reach or unresponsive to your emails, phone calls, or support tickets. Think about your business from the consumer perspective. Negative experience leads to loss of business. If you want to grow your business, make your customers your top priority and focus on their needs.

1. Be available and responsive

It is so important to be sure to get back to any customer questions, issues, or problems, as quickly as you can. Even if the answer will take a little time to research and respond appropriately, make sure you get back to them to let them know you have received their correspondence and when you will give them the answer they are looking for. Untimely responses reflect badly on your company’s reputation.

Don’t forget that media is now a critical component of the customer service experience and be sure to respond to messages on these platforms as well. Customers who receive immediate feedback will know that your company cares about them and wants to provide them with the best service possible. Strive to especially be better than your competitors.

Because how a company responds to their customers is time-sensitive, many businesses are finding better ways to provide the best customer service possible. Technology has advanced to the point where it is literally changing how companies interact with their customers. By 2020, experts project that more than 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without the need for a human agent. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used by many state-of-the-art companies and is starting to play a key role in customer service interactions. A virtual support agent with artificial intelligence can significantly your customer support functions with support agents that are available 4/7.

2. Be proactive

Companies shouldn’t wait until their customers have a problem or are unhappy to interact with them. Engage with your customers and develop positive relationships to let them know you care about them and that they are important to your business.

Use social media to interact and connect to build a positive brand awareness and encourage customer loyalty. Try holding online contests or asking questions to engage your online audience. Don’t forget the viral nature of social media. When your customers share their positive experiences with your company’s products or services in images and text, their social media followers will see their posts and are a great source of future business.

3. Monitor interactions

It is important to make customer service a top-down priority and commitment throughout your company. Set up and establish clear guidelines and standards and make sure to communicate them to all levels and departments within your organization. As part of your relationship building process you should be posting relevant industry news, helpful information, and asking questions to engage your audience. However, it is just as important that you set up a system that monitors any mentions of your company on social media so that you can respond.

Keep in mind that not all social media mentions tag your company. The ones that are tagged are more easily managed because you will get notifications when someone sends a message or makes a comment. To take your customer service to a new level, you should go beyond just the ones that include your social handle. Set up a system that will search for your business name inside search bars on social media platforms.

By being proactive and responding to questions and even negative feedback, you will show current and future customers that your business is committed to them. When responding to negative feedback, be sure to be professional, caring, non-defensive, and helpful. Remember that your responses will be seen by others and have a direct effect on your reputation. Look at the comment from the eyes of your customer and respond in a manner that you would find appropriate and helpful if you were the customer.

Make a concerted effort to create a culture within your business that is consumer-centric. Understanding your customers’ needs and expectations will go a long way in developing and maintaining great customer service. Be proactive, anticipate potential problems, and exceed your customers’ expectations to provide customer service.

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