Few things are truly more important to entrepreneurs and small business owners than getting and keeping customers. After all, you’re not even in business unless you have products or services to sell and customers to buy them. So here are valuable customer service tips for entrepreneurs:

1. Use active listening. One of the best experiences customers can have is to know they are understood. Listen to your customers. Let them know you have heard them by rephrasing and communicating what they have told you.

2. Use a pleasant tone. Sound like you love it! You should sound like you enjoy what you do and like you are ready to do business.

3. Please and Thank you. Good manners will take you far in small business. There’s nothing wrong with being effective and a pleasure. Be a little ball of sunshine to your customers and let them know by the way you handle them that you value them. Thank them for calling. Be grateful for the opportunity to interact with your customers.

4. Put your best foot forward. Customer service is not a job to be relegated to whomever you can get in to fill the post. Customer service is key in building your business. So you should have your BEST people manning the phones. Satisfied customers are repeat customers. Dissatisfied customers tweet.

5. Go the extra mile. Always under promise and over deliver. It’s much better to exceed customer expectations than to disappoint a customer.

6. Train & Empower your team. Any member of your team who performs any customer-facing activity should be trained in how to listen to, talk to and relate to your customer. Once your team has the knowledge, give them the authority to act on it. Let them make some decisions and not have to always seek approval from a superior.

7. Be mindful of your attitude. Is the glass half empty or half full? Is customer service an opportunity to serve or a necessary evil? Whatever your perspective your customer will sense your attitude. Service is an opportunity to engage your customer and create positive experiences.

8. Make your customer feel important. The fastest way to anyone’s heart is to make them feel important. Your customer’s no different. Make them feel important and you will put yourself leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors. Make each experience with your customer a memorable one. That keeps them coming back for more.

9. Empathy. Try to understand your customers. Know what they know. Feel what they feel. Empathy is the way to truly engage and satisfy your customer.

10. Do RESEARCH – Get feedback often. Customer feedback is invaluable in determining what you can do to make their experience more meaningful and enjoyable.