When it comes down to it, it’s all about the customers. The best small business owners know how to tap into their potential customer base and how to keep them happy. This week’s Trending on Thursday has some advice for maximizing the customer service experience and using great digital tools to make it all easier for you. We also provide a guide help you determine the best time to micromanage and outline how to make any project as enjoyable and successful as possible.

Catch up with this week’s #smallbiz news below and tweet us at @MarlinBusiness with your customer service tips.

  1. TrendingAugust8(1)There’s good news and bad news about customer loyalty programs. First, the good news: customers who belong to retail loyalty programs generate significantly more money for retailers than other customers do. Now, the bad news: many retailers are focusing on the wrong things when it comes to their customer loyalty programs. Rieva Lesonsky at Small Business Trends details three common mistakes retailers make when it comes to loyalty programs, and what you can do instead to make them right.
  1. Marketing a business online can be a bit tricky with cost being a concern to most business owners, especially entrepreneurs. Some have to work with a low budget leading most opting to find a free way to market their trade online. The good news is there are tons of free tools businesses can turn to when it comes to marketing online. With that in mind, it may all boil down to where to start and which tool is best used first.
  1. TrendingAugust8(2)Micromanaging has become a dirty word in the corporate world, used to describe overzealous managers who don’t trust them to perform the simplest of tasks without constant intervention. However, some tasks are so vitally important that you, as a small business owner, need to ensure they are done correctly. In such circumstances, it’s better to think of micromanaging as opposed to delegation, according to Entrepreneur’s Fan Bi. He has a helpful guide to help you determine when delegating is best and when you need to get the job done yourself.
  1. For modern businesses, automation of business processes is more a requirement than an option. However, while larger businesses usually don’t consider software costs unreasonable, small businesses make such decisions very cautiously as the benefits from such investments are not always visible at the first sight. But Jawad Khan at Business 2 Community says small business owners should remember that continuous interaction with a customer is one of the key requirements of today’s businesses and a customer-oriented approach is vital for every company that works directly with customers.
  1. For many people, starting a new project means excitement and fun. Others dread having to tackle a new process regardless of the opportunistic outcome. Either way, the success of a new project depends heavily on several factors including motivation, planning and resources. Inc.’s Kevin Daum has six ways to make any project a success, no matter how you feel about it at the beginning, middle or end.