How do customers find out about your business? According to a recent survey, 85 percent of small businesses stated that it's by word of mouth (WOM).

"Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing," says Scott Cook, founder of Intuit.

Since small businesses are more about the personalized approach, they are able to connect with customers instilling trust and loyalty, which ultimately passes onto friends. WOM isn't something you can purchase, but it's also not difficult to get. It's truly based on giving your customers an incredible experience that makes them want to come back for more.

That said, this doesn't mean getting the most likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter.

Forbes contributor Kimberly A. Whitler stated that in recent years, "marketers have been focused on 'collecting' instead of 'connecting.' In other words, brands are too caught up in collecting social media fans and they are forgetting to actually connect with them."

According to a survey by Search Engine Land, about 45 percent of customers were more likely to refer a business if they felt the business was friendly and welcoming.

"Only really delighted customers are going to go out and tell their friends," Cook says. "Customers who are 'merely satisfied' probably won't bother."

We should be striving for love, instead of likes, right? So let's take back the connection by ensuring your customers are truly happy.

To do this, make sure to have empathy. In other words, you must step into the customer's shoes. Learn more about your customers — send them a personal message on a holiday or their birthday. Showing you care about your customers will entice them to keep coming back.

Getting to know your customers can also be a form of engaging in the conversation. Give them reasons to talk whether it's about something happening in the community or a contest you’re hosting. If you understand what your customers truly like, then you're already ahead of the game. And with that, make sure you truly listen.

In today's society, social media plays a large role in word of mouth.So whether it's through Facebook or Yelp, every person has a megaphone and is ready to connect with others about places and purchases. You need to be there to respond, no matter how positive or negative.

And by keeping the conversation going, you'll ultimately be striving for perfection within your business. We're human, so we're going to make mistakes. But because you're engaged with your customers, you'll prove to them that you want to ensure quality of service or products. Another way to improve your business is to ask your customers to fill out surveys in order to learn what they think.

WOM begins when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected, so slightly exceeding their expectations won't cut it. You've got to go above and beyond if you want your customers to talk about you. Because if people are not talking about you, they are forgetting about you.