Institutions of higher learning currently face a dynamic and competitive environment both locally and globally. Coping adequately with the turbulent changes require universities to reform current management models and mindsets. This paper proposes a qualitative approach to continuous service quality advancement based upon the principle of customer focus derived from quality management models. As real quality is defined by the customer, it is important to incorporate the voices of students into the service quality advancement process in higher education. This paper features a case study of a Malaysian public university where student suggestions are gathered through the collection of stories describing 615 extremely satisfying and dissatisfying service encounters. These were content analysed and classified to generate ideas for service quality improvement. The main suggestions were that there should be adequate staff, equipment and facilities; staff should be polite, considerate and understanding; service quality should be improved and equipment/facilities should be functioning and regularly maintained. The highest number of suggestions came from encounters occurring in the academic affairs department followed by the hostel, library and lecture hall. Practical implications of the findings are also discussed where it is noted that implementing the suggestions require continuous learning, longitudinal tracking of customer-defined quality perceptions, dissemination of customer feedback and organisation-wide responsiveness to such information, leadership and commitment by top management in terms of people, process and technology and ongoing upgrading of staff skills and knowledge.