Unless you're very lucky, whatever business you're in, you're going to have some competition. And just as you should always be looking to win new business from them, you can be sure that at the same time, they will be working night and day to lure your customers away from you. That in turn means that you can never relax or take your customers' loyalty for granted. Because if they can get better prices or better service elsewhere, that's exactly what they're going to do!

When all else is equal – and by that I mean the price - going that bit further to impress existing and potential customers can make all the difference. So what steps should you be taking to provide the kind of service that will ensure you're the first they'll want to turn to when they need the goods or services you're offering?

Do your research
Don't just assume that you know best – talk to your customers, find out whether what you're providing is what they actually want. Are there any improvements you can make that will make you more attractive to them? It's also vital that you take a regular look at what the competition's up to – are they offering any extras or incentives that you're not?

Use social media
Letting your customers engage with your business via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and a blog can give your profile a real boost. Keep these sites up to date with engaging content that encourages visitors to keep coming back – the occasional special offer won't hurt! If people leave comments or questions, even negative ones, make sure you reply quickly, positively and courteously.

If you're running an online shop, the deal isn't concluded when your customer confirms their payment. In fact, you can't rest easy until they get their purchases in their hands! That means you need to ensure that your goods reach them in the condition they're expecting and the timescale you're promising. Find a good packaging supplies company who can provide quality postal boxes and mailing bags - the kind of protective packaging that will look after your product and keep your costs down. You'll also need a reputable courier you can rely on to deliver your goods quickly and safely.

The personal touch
Even when your order's been safely delivered, there are still a few things you can do that can leave a positive impression of your business. If you've been talking to the customer over the course of the transaction, especially if you know the order was particularly important to them, a quick call to check everything reached them safely and on time can reap long-term rewards. And that goes double if there have been any problems – a well-handled complaint or problem can be just as impressive to a customer as a trouble-free experience!

Don't let up!
The important lesson from all this is never to get complacent; don't think that just because things are going well now, they always will. Staying ahead of the competition, and doing everything you can to ensure yours is the name that comes to people's mind first when they need your product or service, is an ongoing activity that requires your daily attention.

Author Bio
Rachel loves to write about practically anything, especially business related topics. For article idea inspiration, she often refers to http://www.businesswinners.net.

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