Today, it’s often called customer service, but the big idea is customer care. In times gone by when local merchants greeted customers by name and doctors made house calls, caring for customers wasn’t just being nice—it was good business. Well, the same holds true in today’s fast-paced world. Caring for customers the way businesses used to will still get you more sales, more customer loyalty, and strengthen your business. Here are four keys to old-fashioned customer care.

Always Put Customers First. When this seems hard to do, remember, your customers put you in business. Businesses can’t exist without customers who choose to spend their money with them. Think of this and it should be easy to meet customers with a sincere smile, a friendly greeting, and genuine interest in their well-being.

Really Want to Do It. It’s easy to care for customers when nothing is pulling your attention away. But when things aren’t going right in your business or personal life, or you’re just in a bad mood, the last thing you want to do is deal with customers, much less care for them. When customers sense this, they’re driven away. Even if you make a sale, it will probably be your last. Instead, decide to put your professional frustrations and personal feelings aside when working with customers. Train yourself to want to care for your customers more than anything else. What you really want to do, you’ll do.

Make It All About Them. Avoid checking emails or computer files when talking on the phone to customers—and never do it in person. When working with a customer, really focus on them. Listen to what they say, understand what they’re looking for, and work hard to get them the product or service they really need. Make their best interests your best interests.

Make Customers Feel Appreciated. It’s easy to forget this today, with businesses always looking for the next best thing. Instead, live in the moment like they did in the good old days. Embrace and appreciate what you’re experiencing now, every day. What you’ll experience is the business you’re getting from your customers. That makes it easy to express your sincere appreciation for the time and money they spend with you. And that goes a long way to having them stay with you and spend even more.

Here’s to your success with good old-fashioned customer care—as you achieve your best year ever…. Enjoy a great month!

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