Editor’s note: A version of this article by Shep Hyken appeared on his Customer Service Blog. Read the original version here.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading about predictions and trends for 2018. It got me thinking about the actions we must take to be competitive. Regardless of your industry, everything has changed about the way we do business. There are some businesses that claim they’ve done things the same way for years, decades, even a century. They claim they do business just as their fathers and grandfathers did. Nothing has changed.

I disagree.

Consider a taxidermist. Things have been the same in this business for over 100 years, stuffing and mounting animals. The owner claims nothing has changed — except for today he has a website, a Facebook page, and a mobile phone. None of these were around when his great-grandfather started the business.

A business must keep up with the times. If they don’t, they will be disrupted and find themselves either playing catch up or worse, shutting down altogether. With that in mind, here are five customer service tips every business must do to stay competitive in 2018:

  1. Embrace customers’ changing expectations. This is one I tout every year. Customers more than ever. They no longer compare you to just your competitors. They compare you to any company they like doing business with.
  2. Personalize the experience. Whether you invest in sophisticated software that tracks and analyzes customer data, or you simply remember them when they walk through your doors, recognize that your customers expect a personalized experience.
  3. Resolve to react quickly. When a customer needs support or a question answered, they don’t want to wait two days to get a response. They don’t want to call and be put on hold for an hour. They want a resolution now. If you don’t already offer good self-service solutions that will get customers their answers immediately, at least be able to respond to them in a reasonable amount of time, not hours or days.
  4. Don’t get left behind by technology. Invest in the right technology to drive a better customer experience. High cost is no longer an excuse. Many software solutions have come so far down in cost that even the smallest businesses can afford them.
  5. Be easy to do business with. If you want to separate yourself from your competition, be more convenient. It could be extended business hours, more locations or an easy-to-use website. The company that makes it easier and more convenient for the customer wins.

There you have it, five ways to deliver a better-than-ever customer service experience. Are there more ways? Sure! I’ve written books on many, many more ideas, tactics and strategies. But these are what I’d call “keep-up-with-the-times” types of tips. So, go out there and take care of the customer like you never have before.

Read the original on Shep Hyken’s Customer Service Blog