Without customers, businesses wouldn’t exist. Although forward-thinking companies know the importance of treating their customers right, more can usually be done to serve and retain customer databases. From customer relationship management (CRM) software to subscription management services, or continuing education for sales reps, is your company doing everything it can to keep your customers happy?

Solidly into the third quarter of 2017, it’s time to re-evaluate how to best serve your customers. Not sure where to begin? Ask them! When anonymity is offered, and perhaps a thank you for their participation, existing customers are usually quick to offer up suggestions and comments. Here’s how to ensure you’re giving your bread and butter what they want:

1. Get regular feedback from current and potential customers.

If you want to know what your customers are happy with, what they wish you would do for them, and what they don’t like, it all starts with an ask. Host an e-poll or one on social media, or consider a focus group survey managed by an unbiased third party. It’s the best way to make sure you’re going down the right path.

2. Add CRM software as a solution.

Customer relationship management software can help you streamline communication with customers, keep flawless records of purchase histories to better market to them, and reduces manual work.This means your sales team can use the CRM data to do what they were hired to do: Service your customers.

3. Manage your social media right.

Not every business is suited for every popular social media platform. However, if you are using social media to serve your customers, it can be a tricky strategy to handle. Ensure you’re on top of analytics and hire a social media guru who can show you in both quantitative and qualitative data what they’re doing, how, and why it’s working, as well as the avenues in which social media is improving relationships with customers. Too often, businesses have a poorly managed social media presence—which can be worse than none at all.

4. Bring back a personal touch.

Personal touches, such as handwritten cards for birthdays and big holidays, or remembering a customer’s name and order, can go a long way. Everyone wants to feel appreciated rather than like “just another number.” However, this old-fashioned strategy requires training, especially of younger employees who might not revere such touches as much as other generations.

5. It sounds simple, but it’s paramount to customer service success.

Initial and ongoing training of sales professionals should include the basics of friendliness. When McDonald’s first opened in Russia, special training was required to teach cashiers to smile because it’s simply not considered professional in Russia. A warm, inviting presence can be more important to customers than many other factors.

6. Consider customer service automation.

It’s not for everyone, and you’ll certainly need to customize any automation software to guarantee that it’s actually better and helpful to the customers rather than an annoyance. Nobody wants to get caught up in the “press eight for …” game. However, for larger businesses, it can be a fantastic tool to connect customers to the right person and department at a faster clip.

7. Add on CPQ software.

Cash per quote software is an option that gives sales professionals (and their customers) fast, accurate quotes in an instant. It increases transparency and serves as the foundation for negotiation. Taking the “mystery” out of some shopping experiences can make customers feel valued. It’s not for every sales environment or business, but if your team is regularly having to manually whip up quotes for customers, it’s definitely a great option.

Customer service is a constantly evolving practice. Nobody can ever master it, especially since the best practices of customer service are always changing. However, making it a priority and hiring the right people will give you and your customers the best relationship possible for sustained company growth.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

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