All businesses work hard to gain customers, but for entrepreneurs and small business owners, the journey from a business idea in your head to an actual paying customer tends to be a deeply personal one. With all the work that goes into launching a business and securing customers, it would be a terrible shame not to take care of them in the best way possible.

Actually, it goes beyond just caring for customers--smart businesses consistently wow them. They do this by delivering more than what they promised. This may seem simple and obvious, but in the hustle and bustle of daily work, it's often overlooked.

Think about the last time you were completely impressed by a company. You probably did business with them more than once, and maybe even told a few of your friends about it. Wowing your customers involves going the extra mile to create a memorable, delightful experience that will create customers for life. Satisfy customers by providing the service or product your customers pay for in a timely fashion. Then wow them by going above and beyond their expectations and provide additional value. Here's how to do it.

1. Do what you said you were going to do

The first step to wowing your customers is not upsetting them in the first place. That starts with doing exactly what you said you were going to do, without exception. This can be extremely difficult, but it's a must if you're truly dedicated to impressing customers.

The key to this is internal communication within the company. Make sure everyone knows what was promised to the customer, and ensure all deadlines and deliverables are met. CRM software can be a huge help here in automating the process.

2. Follow up when they least expect it

If you get the element of surprise on your side, it's easy to wow a customer. Particularly if you're an entrepreneur or small business owner. Your personal touch can go a long way to building a longstanding business relationship.

Pick up the phone and ask your customers how your product or service is treating them just for the sake of doing it--no strings attached. This has two distinct benefits. First, it lets you know early on if they are having any problems you need to remedy. Second, if everything is great the customer still has the satisfaction of knowing you're thinking about them and that you care. Good will goes a long way.

3. Give them more than they expected

This can come in the form of a free gift, such as access to the next generation of a product or simply applying a new rebate that wasn't offered when they purchased.

Everyone loves to feel like they are getting a good value, and any little things beyond the norm that a business can offer to existing customers are a plus. This also comes in the form of customer service. Giving a customer more help and support than they are expecting helps create brand advocates that eventually bring in more customers.

4. Offer them something they didn't know they needed

Here's your opportunity to consider the upsell, but you can approach it in a delicate way. It's important to make sure your customer knows about everything you offer, in case they have a need they didn't realize your company could fill. This happens all the time when a customer comes to a business for one specific thing and never considers other products or services. It's up to the business to remedy that.

To go for the softer upsell, this is an opportunity to give your customers free trials of other products or services related to what they already have. If you can address another one of their pain points, they will be grateful for it.

5. Express your gratitude

There are plenty of creative ways to thank people for their business, and it doesn't have to be a complicated thing to make a big impact. The key is to put in the effort and do it.

The simplest way is to send a little birthday gift--whether it's a box of brownies or a coupon code for your own services. Beyond that, think about ways to support your customer's business. It could be as easy as attending an event they are hosting.

The key to all of these tactics is to be supportive in the truest sense of the word. If you have your customers' backs and you continually wow them, you can look forward to more business and more referrals. All that effort you put into landing customers will be paid back in spades.

Published on: May 5, 2016