It’s amazing but true. Some of the companies that spend the most resources and effort on social media are also companies that provide the least satisfying customer service. A company may have the most informative website, a well-written blog, and great Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages, yet just try sometime returning an item or receiving a reimbursement. When customers have a positive view of your business, it’s a big, extra benefit. When you’re viewed negatively, word is going to get around – eventually.

How can you be certain that your customer service stands up to scrutiny? Try these four tips:

Listen. Know what your customers thinking and offer them solutions. When you hear a problem, determine to resolve it. If you can, offer slight variations on a theme, at least offering options to those who may not benefit from your original service or product. You can’t please everyone, but pleasing the majority of your customers is a realistic goal you can achieve.

Interact. Is there a contact form on your website? Does your newsletter include a “suggestions” link? How else can you know what customers are thinking? Interacting with your customers is imperative. Knowing what they want is the only path to success.

Satisfy. Customer satisfaction will result in customer loyalty. If a customer has a problem, how you deal with it defines who you are. Don’t ignore a grievance, even if the customer is wrong. Instead, be professional, offer sympathy, and find a way to resolve the matter. Work to avoid the same trouble in the future.

Share. The suggestions above assume that you’re gathering data. You’re learning things about your customers. Use that knowledge, and see where else it can be applied. Do your sales people need more information? Should your content writer use different terms? Does your legal department need to publish more disclaimers? If you’re paying attention, your customers can tell you the answers, so make it as easy for them as possible.

There will always be times when you can’t please a customer. It’s a simple, unavoidable fact of life. But your other customers are watching, so make sure your responses are always reasonable and professional. Forget your blog, website, and Facebook page; it’s your responses to your customers that define, more than anything else, who you really are.