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  • WRITTEN BY Jorge Rojas POSTED ON July 29,2015

The Internet has given modern businesses the ability to grow like never before. On the flip side of the coin, the Internet can quickly bring down a business if a dissatisfied customer chooses to broadcast their negative experience and opinions. Therefore, it’s essential to take customer service seriously.

With just a single post from their smartphone, an unhappy customer has the means to ruin your business. For confirmation of this, just ask United Airlines about their David Carroll debacle. The airline tossed his guitar, valued at $3,500, on the tarmac during the unloading process and broke the guitar’s neck. United Airlines refused to pay up, so Caroll posted a video about it on YouTube titled, “United Breaks Guitars.”

Within a month, United’s stock fell by 10 percent, worth a value of approximately $180 million. Obviously, it would have been more advantageous for UA to pony up and replace Carroll’s Guitar–being out a few thousand dollars is significantly better than losing what amounts to be the gross domestic product of Kiribati. The lesson here: you have to take the initiative and respect your customers. Otherwise, you might not have a business to care about.

Here are four tips that any business can enact to improve the quality of their customer service.

Make it Abundantly Clear that You’re Available and Willing to Meet their Needs
Fact: people are three times more likely to tell others about a negative experience than a positive one, but that doesn’t mean that happy customers won’t spread the word about their positive experiences. It’s been proven that customers who have had problems resolved to their satisfaction will tell up to six people about their positive experience. The more your customers know that you’re available and willing to fix their problems, the better your overall reputation will be.

Prioritize In Your Customers
This sounds like a no-brainer, yet too many businesses concentrate only on making money and don’t pay enough attention to their customers. Be sure to give the customer the attention they need, and then some. The old adage “the customer is always right” still rings true today.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Nearly 90 percent of all companies say that customer service is their top strategic priority, but only 3 percent can claim that they provide a quality customer experience. The first step to moving beyond talking about the idea of quality customer service to actually providing it, is to just do it. Don’t let the dream of providing great customer service just be a dream.

Interact Online with Your Customers
Customers who spend a lot of time on the Internet feel more connected to brands that engage them online. You can easily engage these customers through your company’s social media pages and website. Make them feel like their opinions count for something and you’ll be handsomely rewarded. The engaged customer will feel like they’re contributing to more than just a transaction, and you’ll get a better understanding of your customer’s expectations. Additionally, you will gain valuable insight about your target market, like the makeup of your customer demographic, and you’ll be in a better position to stay on top of the trends within your industry.

Provide Better Customer Service Than Your Competition
Up to 59 percent of customers would switch brands if better customer service is offered. You can take advantage of this to dominate the competition. This is accomplished by having a reputation for good customer service, which takes an active approach to brand management. Achieving this level of service, where customers choose you over the competition due to all the good things they’ve heard about you, doesn’t happen overnight.

By laying on the customer service extra thick, you will grow your business in new and unprecedented ways. Do you have any stories where you’ve seen customer service make or break a business? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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