What’s even more important than acquiring new customers? Taking care of the customers you have! A loyal, happy customer is gold for any business: they’ll provide recurring business as well as free word-of-mouth marketing. Use these nine customer service tips to keep them coming back.

1. Greet customers with a friendly tone and a smile

Whether you’re dealing with them in person or over the phone, customers can sense when a customer service rep is friendly and caring. They should never be made to feel like an inconvenience.

2. Be proactive about anticipating and meeting customer needs

Try to figure out what they’ll want next before they even have to ask for it. Seek to constantly improve your product or service; it will be noticed and appreciated.

3. Make customers feel valued and important

This could be as simple as stopping for a conversation and addressing them by name. Some businesses that work personally with customers even go the extra mile to send a card or small gift around the holidays.

4. Exceed expectations

It’s the classic “under-promise and over-deliver” idea. Whenever you can, surprise customers by going above and beyond.

5. If you make a mistake, apologize sincerely and do everything in your power to make it right

It could be a mistake with an order or a missed appointment–but usually people will be understanding if you simply apologize without trying to accuse someone else.

6. Create a good work environment for your employees

The happier they are, the better customer service they’ll provide.

7. Market honestly

You never want to mislead customers into thinking a product does something that it actually doesn’t. You won’t get return business if they feel lied to.

8. Be flexible

Sometimes customers will ask for a modification or service you don’t generally provide. Consider whether you can fulfill these special requests instead of outright rejecting them.

9. Ask customers if there’s anything you could be doing better

This can be done personally or with some kind of survey. Sometimes an outside perspective is necessary to identify weak points or figure out areas where you could grow.

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