You may think you’re providing the best customer service around because your return rate is low or you get a lot of five-star internal reviews, but you really can’t know without getting inside your customers’ heads.

They may silently accept that your service is subpar because your product is pretty awesome or remain silent simply because they weren’t moved enough during your transaction to have strong feelings either way.

But how can you tell, really, that you’re doing a good job with your customer service?

Service with a Smile

Customer service is a funny thing, you’re either spot on or really far off, and what makes one customer delighted may send another into a spiraling rage. The fake smiles and empty promises some companies dish out won’t work in today’s world, it’s gotta be real or your customer will know.

You may never be certain that you’re providing the best customer service possible, but you can generally get an idea of what your customers think of you.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do your customers refer their friends and family? If they do, it’s a pretty good sign that they like what you’re doing. Although people are now about as likely to praise a company as complain about it online, there is still an unbalanced expectation there.

It doesn’t take much to have a really messed up transaction, but you have to go well above and beyond before that same transaction becomes more than what’s generally expected to come from customer service. That moving goal post can be frustrating, but when your customers are referring people to you, you’re at least in the game.

Are you customers keep coming back for more? It’s well documented that returning customers are more profitable than finding new leads constantly. Are yours coming back again and again? It’s pretty good for your ROI, but should also be really great for your ego because you’re clearly doing something right. These are the customers to ask for testimonials and referrals. It’s a good bet they’ll help you out.

How does your online reputation look? There’s no more popular winter sport than lodging anonymous complaints about companies online. Check your online reputation, but do so carefully.

If it’s ugly, you don’t want to make things worse with a hastily-planned rebuttal. Take your time to respond with a cool head. But, hey, it could be pretty incredible, so do check and see what the people of the Internet have to say about your customer service levels now and again.

It can be tough to guess what your customers will want tomorrow, but it’s always a good bet that they’re going to be seeking out knowledgeable customer service representatives and business owners who can quickly solve their problems.

It never hurts to hire a little help, either, if you’re starting to feel like you’re stretched thin. An answering service can act as an extension of your business, giving even more people a chance to see what stellar customer service looks like.