I’ve talked before about how picking up the phone is a key component to customer service. But that’s really only the starting point for building customer loyalty.

If you’re lucky, your best customers are evangelists for your brand. Here are four ways to earn that loyalty:

1. Be the solution. OneWorldHosting gets that most small business owners don’t just want a place to park their Web sites. We want (and need) tech support. So when a recent service upgrade messed up access first to my WordPress dashboard and then later to my ability to upload blog photos, I could make a call and get the problems solved.

RNJ Sports is another example. While lots of stores sell running shoes, RNJ sells peace of mind. I know that after watching me walk and run that they’ll recommend a shoe that will decrease the likelihood of injuries ranging from shin splints to hip pain.

2. Make it easy. Is it easy for customers to connect with you? I’m not talking about social media per se, just whether you’re socially accessible. If I have to jump through hoops to find someone who can talk with me, I’m going somewhere else. Companies that that have made it easy for me include Eddie BauerDell, and (usually) Verizon.

3. Value me. I’m very loyal to my local GNC store because the owner knows me, remembers what I purchase, and chats with me when I stop by. Ditto for my local Robeks franchise, where the owner and employees know my name.

4. Be remarkable. You don’t have to be Zappos to wow your customers. When I mentioned to Lee Watts that I’d backed off slightly on my workouts because of ligament pain in my left tricep, he cleared time on his schedule that morning to bring me into his studio to tweak my routine. This is a guy who primarily trains elite athletes, but he  made time for me. Not only does this go to #3, but he also created a wow moment.

What is your business doing to get talked about today?

Photo by PD Breen (Flickr).