Most companies believe they provide a unique offering to
their customers. In many industries, a company achieves this
uniqueness by delivering customer service that is superior to
This leads us to the question, “What does superior customer
While the details are industry and even firm specific, the
basic principles can be generalized. T
he following list provides a good starting point for thinking
about customer service research and how it can help your company
deliver superior service..
1. Always try to exceed customer expectations. Whether customer
expectations are set by the firm or by a competitor, exceeding
these will reflect on your company’s reputation and leave a
To achieve this, you must have a strong understanding of
customer needs as these dictate expectations. Conducting a
customer service survey will provide you with a true
understanding of these needs. Managing expectations up front
sets the stage for you to exceed customer expectations later in
2. Track changes in customer expectations over time. Any
successful company must learn to identify and adjust to changing
trends, many of which will be reflected in customer
expectations. Measure customer satisfaction with tracking
research in order to monitor trends over time.
3. Make a strong first impression. The first contact with a
customer (the “moment of truth”) often sets the tone for their
lasting impression of the company. Customer Satisfaction
Research shows that how a customer feels about a transaction
tends to be more important than the product or service
4. Be accessible, approachable, and responsive. If your customer
finds it difficult to get in touch with someone at your company,
they are less likely to do so, and the prospect of developing a
strong, long-term relationship built on customer service
satisfaction is greatly diminished. Make a habit of regularly
reaching out to your customers to enhance customer service
satisfaction and build lasting relationships.
5. Determine how your well company delivers. Initial customer
satisfaction research will provide a baseline against which to
measure future improvement initiatives. Regularly conduct a
service satisfaction survey to help identify specifically what
attributes of the product/service are of greatest importance to
customers, how the company performs against those attributes and
how both change over time.
6. Solicit input from your service personnel. Most
public-contact employees are self-motivated to achieve customer
service satisfaction. They are the best source for identifying
roadblocks to superior service delivery (too much paperwork,
difficult return policies, lack of information,
interdepartmental miscommunication, inability to schedule
service call times, etc.) and what upsets customers most.
Spotlighting and addressing these issues not only improves
customer service satisfaction but front-line employee attitudes
7. Improve employee satisfaction. Regularly conduct an employee
attitude survey to measure and improve employee satisfaction.
This will, in turn, have an impact on customer service
satisfaction. More satisfied employees will produce higher
quality products and provide better service to your customers.
These seven strategies provide a generalized approach for
exceeding customer expectations and achieving superior service.
An ongoing customer satisfaction research program will help to
identify the issues facing your particular business, as well as
their relative importance to customers.
Through such a program, a full-service marketing research
firm could help identify the specific improvements that will
have the greatest impact on improving overall customer service
About the Author
Brian Backer is a project manager with
Marketing Research, specializing in
customer service satisfaction research. Backer can be
reached at the Atlanta marketing research firm by phone at
404-816-0353 during normal business hours.