Have you ever noticed that the small entrepreneur will go that extra mile, while the big businesses don't bother? I guess the easiest explanation for this is that these smaller business people are actually closer to their customers and are able realize the importance and value of customer service in driving back repeat business. A good read I found that demonstrates this is here.
The question is though ... why don't the big boys?
The easy answer is that they are too far removed, but that is not really getting to the heart of the issue ... more and more often you see businesses and senior staff that think they are where they are forever and that nothing is going to change. However the one good thing that came out of this recent recession is the realization that this is just not the case. If you don't care for your customers and have a good business model to boot ... you won't be in business for long! I know that's a bit harsh and a lot of innocent people suffered but maybe the realization that growth is not the final objective is a lesson worth learning.
It is essential that all businesses provide an appropriate level of after-sales SERVICE to their customers. This should be more than just a phrase, but something that should actually deliver VALUE. The easiest way to measure this is to ask your customers! Don't be afraid to send out survey's and questionnaire's ... but make sure that you pay attention to the responses and that you do something about the issues your customers are telling you they don't like.