Customer can afford to lose you but you cannot afford to lose the customer.\r\nThe linchpin of any business is the customer. Customers lay the foundation of businesses today. In this consumer-driven age, what sets apart great companies is the service they provide their customers. Great companies invest in customers because that is where the business lies.\r\n\r\nThe business decisions of the leading brands across the globe are driven to satisfy and meet the expectations of the customers.\u00a0Several studies have shown that it costs nearly six times more to win a new customer than to keep an existing one.\r\n\r\nCustomers are powerful marketing agents; a satisfied customer can win you more deals than your best marketing personnel. They become more important in the digital age, where people can give feedback and influence the buyers at the click of a mouse.\r\n\r\nThe customer today is bombarded with options, sometimes more than what he can handle. So, what differentiates your business is the service you provide to your customers.\u00a0The best agents for marketing your products and services are your customers. A reputation is built on what people say about you. How you are perceived in the market determines your brand image.\r\n\r\nThe best brands are built by their customers. The consumer is very potent and can make or break businesses. Fascinatingly a great number of companies like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are prime examples of companies that have skyrocketed due to their customers.\r\n\u201cIf you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.\u201d Jeff Bezos\r\nExcellent service is the best marketing strategy for your business. \u00a0The world is a place where the speed of communication keeps increasing. Things propagate and travel faster than ever before. Whether it is good or bad reviews, it affects your brand.\r\n\r\nAmazon, founded in 1994 is the world's largest online retailer today. The story of Amazon is a story of excellence in service that propelled it to great heights. Amazon has transformed the industry in its own ways. It has done it through remarkable customer service. Google, Apple, GE, and Toyota motors, etc are other companies to have emerged as global leaders due to their excellent Services. These companies have focused on customer delight and enhanced customer experience making them truly world class. When the customer feels good about your products and services, it promotes your brand and organisation.\r\n\r\nCustomer service is imperative for the success of a company. Here are 15 elements you must look at to know how the most successful companies focus on customer delight by excellence in service:\r\n\r\n \tKnow your customers. Build a customer profile. Each and every customer is special and they must feel it.\r\n \tLook at your business from the customer\u2019s perspective and then communicate.\r\n \tMake a great first impression. Whether it is the logo, salesman or the business cards of company, all this speaks about your company.\r\n \tBuild trust by giving the best quality. Be reliable and do what you say.\r\n \tEach genuine complaint is a great chance to improve upon the products\/services that you are offering. Develop a system where customer complaints can be gathered easily.\r\n \tHave an excellent complaint handling system that is transparent to the customers. Intimate the customers about the action plan for the complaints and communicate regularly.\r\n \tBe proactive and responsible in solving the pain points of the customers.\r\n \tDo something pleasantly surprising that leaves a wow effect on your customer.\r\n \tThe key to customer satisfaction is to exceed expectations of your customers.\r\n \tBe honest with your customers; never lie, over promise or under deliver.\r\n \tMake it easy for the customers to give their feedback and register complaints. Be accessible via internet, phone calls and customer service centers.\r\n \tCreate a compelling customer experience, one that urges them to recommend your products or services to others.\r\n \tCreate a customer interaction plan. \u00a0The idea is to communicate effectively with your customers. Too much or too little communication can hinder your business, it is important to get the balance right. When creating a customer plan, address the following questions:\r\n\r\n\r\n \tHow do you communicate with your customers?\r\n \tHow often do you communicate with them?\r\n \tWhat do you need to tell your customers?\r\n \tWhen you need to talk to them?\r\n\r\n\r\n \tWhen you cannot fix the customer\u2019s problem, apologize sincerely. \u00a0If possible offer them some discounts, refunds or credit accounts for future.\r\n \tInnovate, experiment and execute with customer at the heart of your organisation.\r\n\r\nNothing promotes a business more than a satisfied customer. The best advertisement media in the digital age is the word of mouth. Great service invariably builds and boosts your brand. Be exceptional and be talked about. The most successful companies are not only known by their results but also the confidence and satisfaction they produce for their customers.\r\n\r\nThere is a strong correlation between the customer satisfaction level and the brand equity of a company. Studies from American Customer Satisfaction Index and other agencies seem to corroborate the same. The American Customer Satisfaction Index has shown that the stock prices of companies ranking higher for customer service tend to do better than those with lower value.\r\n\r\nCustomer service is the best advertisement for your business. Great services produce the best returns on investment. Service excellence builds the foundation on which great organizations are operated. Your stakes are dependent on your services, never compromise, be the best.\r\n\r\nThus, know your customers; invest in them and get more of them.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAbout The Author:\r\n\r\nApoorve Dubey is the founder and C.E.O of Kreyon Systems Pvt. Ltd, a fast growing Software company that serves clients in more than 10 countries. He is the author of the best-selling book, \u201cThe Flight of Ambition\u201d published by Macmillan and a co-author of \u201cSuccessful organisations in action\u201d. The driving passion in his life remains to be able to contribute to the success of others.