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 lasting impression.

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 the relationship.

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 purchased.

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 as well.

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.