Customer Dissatisfaction – Reasons and Ways to Deal with it.

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Customer satisfaction is an essential aspect of any business. It is vital to keep customers happy and satisfied with your product or service. If you fail to do so, you risk losing them as customers.

KEY Takeaways

  • When you deliver products/services which are different from what the customers expect, it leads to customer dissatisfaction.
  • The main reasons behind customer dissatisfaction include not knowing the expectations, not meeting the expectations, over expectations and the changing needs and expectations of the customers.
  • To prevent customer dissatisfaction, ask questions to clarify the situation, ask if we meet the customer expectations and if not, seek to find the root causes and correct them.

There are several reasons why customer dissatisfaction occurs. In this article, I will discuss these reasons and ways to deal with them.

Reasons for customer dissatisfaction

1) Not knowing the expectations.

  • Customer remains dissatisfied unless the company knows what the customer expects out of their product.

2) Not meeting the expectations.

  • A customer may become dissatisfied because the product or service does not live up to expectations.
  • Over expectations and the changing needs of the customers could lead to customer dissatisfaction.
  • Because of the rapid improvement in the technology, the customer may compare the services provided by a company with those of the competitors, leading to dissatisfaction.


If the value delivered to the customer is less than what the customer expects, it will lead to customer dissatisfaction. In mathematical terms you can say:

  • (value delivered < value expected ) = Dissatisfied Customer

Things to do when you have a dissatisfied customer

If you are dealing with an unhappy customer, here are some things you should do to improve the customer experience.

  1. Discover what the customer is unhappy about and why? Listen carefully to the complaint. This helps you understand the problem better. Their wants and needs first must be uncovered and defined to see if the features and benefits of your company's product or services can satisfy those wants and needs. 
  2. Ask questions to clarify the situation. Ask whether we perform to the customer expectations or not?
  3. Analysis, find the root cause and then improve it.

In addition to the above steps to address a customer complaint, here are some of the steps you can take to avoid them in the first place or from recurring them.

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the importance of keeping good relations with the customers.
  2. Be prepared to make changes in policies and procedures whenever necessary.
  3. Keep records on every complaint received and the corrective actions to avoid such complaints in the future.
  4. Establish a system to measure and analyze the level of customer satisfaction.

The best approach to solve the issue of customer dissatisfaction is setting proper expectations.

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  • Tips to avoid customer dissatisfaction

    • Be pro-active. Don't wait until the customer complains. Surveys and meetings are a great way to understand the customer's needs.
    • Be responsive. When there's an issue, resolve it immediately. By waiting to resolve an issue can turn minor problems into bigger ones.
    • Be honest. Telling customers the truth usually goes over better than lying to them. It will eventually help gain the customer's respect.
    • Be realistic. Not every sale is worth the cost involved in obtaining it. Some customers have expectations that aren't attainable. In that case, it may be necessary to try to reset the customer's expectations, or, if that isn't possible, to suggest that they may be happier by taking their business elsewhere.

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  • Measuring Customer Satisfaction

    • Taking direct feedback from the customer: This is typically done in the service industry viz. telecom service provider, white goods after-sales service, etc.
    • Customer buying pattern: Measure the numbers of repeat orders, the pattern of repeat orders, the reason and the consumption pattern. Repeat orders indicate the customer is happy. If there are no repeat orders, brainstorming needs to be done to understand what will make the customer happy.
    • Track customer complaints: Keep track of customer complaints. There should be a defined procedure to track the customer complaints, how these complaints were resolved.


    In summary, Customer satisfaction can be improved by:

    1. Understanding your customers' expectations;
    2. Improving products or services that meet those expectations;
    3. Providing superior communication skills in all interactions with customers;
    4. Treating every interaction with customers like an opportunity to provide exceptional value;
    5. Making sure you have systems in place to ensure quality control throughout the entire process;
    6. Using data analysis tools to identify trends and patterns so you can improve processes and deliver better results.

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