If you were asked right now if yourbusiness provides excellent customer service, odds are you'd probably say you do. Right? In fact, your customer service is beyond compare. The best. Of course, it is. Well, it's that head-in-the-sand mentality that causes the disparity -- like the restaurateur who can't figure out why customers don't like his or her "awesome" food or the shop keeper who can't understand why no one appreciates the "quirky" over priced inventory that just won't sell. In reality, statistics tell us customers are generally not as happy with the your customer service as you are. That's what GetFiveStars.com founder Mike Blumenthal discovered when he asked consumers and local merchants the same question: What percentage of local merchants provide excellent customer service? Real Life Customer Service Reviews Fell Below Expectations The numbers say it all. On average, 61.9 percent of local merchants surveyed by Blumenthal believed they offered great customer service. Moreover, most small business owners suggested that 75 percent of customers have excellent customer service. That means the average small business owners believes 3 out of every 4 local businesses are out there offering great customer service. Ah, but what do the customers think? It should come as no surprise by now that customers have a somewhat different view. Blumenthal's survey of customers asked that same question answered that , on average, \u00a0just 55.8 percent of local merchants are offering great customer service. The most common response he received from consumers was 55 percent. So customers believe just less than every other small business out there is offering less-than-excellent customer service. The difference in perceptions is natural, Blumenthal said\u00a0in a recent interview with Small Business Trends. It's called a cognitive bias. After all, what small business owner wouldn't believe he or she is offering great customer service? But if you truly want your company to offer unparalleled service to its customers, of course , you must get beyond this natural instinct. "If you let your biases interfere, that's not a rational business behavior," Blumenthal explains. In fact, Blumenthal adds, you won't ever know what your customers really think about your service -- or anything else about your business for that matter -- unless you ask them. It's not about fishing for complaints but more about providing a forum for your customers to talk about their experiences before they actually lodge a complaint or create a negative online review. You can also work on the operations side of your business to really improve customer service giving your customeers less to complain about. To take care of that mean old cognitive bias, \u00a0Blumenthal suggested telling yourself: "We're pretty good, BUT ..." Make excellent customer service a process. Train every employee within your company to be prepared to handle any complaints. Have a plan for addressing a low customer feedback score or negative feedback. "We need to be prepared in a systematic way. Train every employee to deal with it," Blumenthal added. This article is part of a series highlighting data collected by Blumenthal on small businesses, customer service and specifically, customer complaints and your response to them.