Although keeping customers should be the first order of business for any business owner, that sometimes gets shunted aside amid the demands of logistics, management, sustainable growth, and new product development.

So, the question you should ask yourself every day is: “What am I doing to optimize my organization’s commitment to customer service?”

It’s not a question to be asked lightly. Service is a leading factor in customer behavior, and many think it gets the short shrift.

Do You Welcome Your Customers?

There are some direct and immediate ways to cultivate a customer-centric atmosphere throughout your enterprise.

Retail locations that depend on getting customers in the door store must adopt a top-down attitude of service first, then the sale. Consumers’ sentiment—good, bad, or indifferent—begins with their first point of contact.

As an owner, you are responsible for developing policies that tone, quality, and outcomes of customer interactions with staff. Training is a must if your employees are going to live up to your vision of excellence in customer service. Owners also are responsible for implementing guidelines that help the customers meet compliance obligations for contractual agreements. For this, you can hire companies who assist with internal controls so that you can provide your customers with the best experience.

Online customer service expectations are no different from those who buy at brick-and-mortar outlets. Instead of sales staff, customers interact with a website or portal to gain access to your services. A balky or difficult-to-navigate user interface will confuse customers. Poor payment solutions will sour the experience. The next step customer’s take after abandoning a cart is to an online competitor. Smart online owners ensure their sites make it easy for customers to shop and reach a human after attempts to resolve questions via a chatbot fail.

How Do You Optimize the Customer Experience?

Optimization is a process. Moving your customer service performance toward excellence is an iterative process. As different changes are realized at different times by different teams within your company, the process can be improved by being informed by the customers themselves.

Customer feedback is essential to understanding the effectiveness of your customer service, and any changes you may have made to improve it. One way to quickly and efficiently collect customer feedback is by asking them to rate their sales and service experience.

Do You Reward Customer Loyalty?

Repeat customers are telling you that they are satisfied with their buying and service experience. Smart business owners seize this opportunity to cultivate that positive mindset by rewarding their loyalty. A loyalty program shows you are committed to your customers’ values and provides an incentive for them to keep buying. You could take inspiration from Panera, which takes the principle a step further and allow customers to choose their rewards for repeat customers.

What Else Can go Wrong?

Last but not least, customer service is not always a smooth experience. Things go wrong and mistakes are made, sometimes unavoidably. What defines a positive customer interaction here is the speed, efficacy, and grace with which you handle the situation. By taking additional time to reassure your customers and make things right, you show them that your business is a dependable one—even when things go awry.