Were you naughty or nice to your customers this year?

As much of the nation enjoys Christmas and other cherished celebrations this month, many small business owners can’t help but think ahead to 2013.

With the clock winding down on this year, what are your business aspirations for the next 12 months. Simply put, how will you and your customers work together in 2013, making it the best relationship yet?

If you were the small business owner who maybe did not spend as much time as they should have coveting their customers these last 12 months, how will you improve upon that task going forward?

Among the things to review:

* Did you go that extra mile for your customers in 2012?

* Did your employees (where applicable) return customer calls promptly, answer any and all questions, and solve problems when necessary?

* Did you gain referrals from many of your customers because they appreciate the products and/or services you provide them? If not, do you think doing a little more for them may have helped you in gaining the trust of their family, friends and co-workers?

* Did you do the little things like send them a year-end holiday card or email?

These are but four of the items that you should be asking yourself, more importantly, answering without hesitation. Remember, without your customers, there is no small business to run.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions on a yearly basis, but how many truly keep them?

In a day and age when customers have a variety of shopping options, what will you do in 2013 to stand out from the competition?

Among the things to consider:

* Offering online shopping (if you do not already), delivery services (where applicable), mobile payments, and providing follow-up service with each and every customer;

* Utilizing social media to the max. If you are not currently using SM, why is that? You are essentially passing on free advertising when you are not social;

* Surveying customers from time to time on what they like about your business, what they do not like, and how you could improve things.

Lastly, use the coming year as the chance for a fresh start for both you and your small business.

In the event you could have done more for your customers over these last 12 months, make it your gift to them to make 2013 an even better year.

Photo credit: teamaltman.com

About the author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics for a variety of websites.


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