In today’s highly competitive 24/7 world where with just a few keystrokes a customer can find anything, it makes good business sense to make it easy for your customers to do business with you.

I must admit that I find it confusing when a company doesn’t quickly respond to calls and emails, where the policies aren’t customer friendly and instead seem to be punitive in nature and where customer complaints are frequently ignored. It almost seems as if they are saying “like it or leave it; we don’t really care if you want to be our customer.”

How about your company? Are your policies and procedures “customer-friendly” and do you actively strive to make it easy for your customers to do business with you?

Customer loyalty is a beautiful thing. What are you doing to earn it?

Are you responsive?

Responsiveness is one of those things that you might frequently see referenced on Facebook and Twitter when customers post their dissatisfaction and oftentimes outrage prompted by the lack of responsiveness demonstrated by certain big brands. Unfortunately smaller companies can also demonstrate this same lack of responsiveness. We now live in “Internet time” where instantaneous responses are an expectation and anything less falls short. Customers are impatient and if they don’t receive a timely reply to a question or problem they are apt to move on. It’s a good idea to review your customer communication norms and standards and tweak them if they fall short on response time.

Do you take ownership of problems and aim to solve them?

Mistakes and problems can happen in every company and it is how the company handles these business “hiccups” take can make a company stand apart. Do you remember the Tylenol poisoning murders that occurred in Chicago in 1982? Hopefully your company will never experience as tragic an incident but the manner in which Johnson & Johnson handled the situation is still spoken of in a positive manner. They didn’t waste time looking to cast blame but instead took swift action to halt the tragedy that was unfolding.

Johnson & Johnson distributed warnings to hospitals and distributors and halted Tylenol production and advertising. On October 5, 1982, it issued a nationwide recall of Tylenol products; an estimated 31 million bottles were in circulation, with a retail value of over US $100 million.[5] The company also advertised in the national media for individuals not to consume any of its products that contained acetaminophen after it was determined that only these capsules had been tampered with. Johnson & Johnson offered to exchange all Tylenol capsules already purchased by the public for solid tablets.

How do you react when a customer has a problem? Do you take ownership of the situation and attempt to solve the problem as swiftly as possible, making certain that the outcome is mutually satisfactory, or do you spend time and energy looking for ways to shift the “blame” and hence put your customer in an uncomfortable situation in the meantime.

Do you show appreciation?

Ah, here’s my favorite and maybe that’s because of the business that I am in! Showing appreciation for your clients is one of the most important things that any businessperson can do. Appreciation fosters loyalty and creates raving fans that continue to do business with you but also become your cheering squad. And it’s an easy thing to do regardless of what business you are in. Utilize promotional products as a way to say “thank you,” send hand written thank you cards to clients and customers, create special offers, make appreciation calls to a random selection of customers…you see what I mean. The list goes on and on.

When customers feel that it is difficult to do business with your company and when they are more frequently disgruntled rather than thrilled you are in a precipitous position. Customer attrition can undermine the profitability of your company. Make it easy for your customers to do business with you and they’ll keep coming back.