Future of CX

Customer dissatisfaction: What causes it & how to deal with it?

Jeremy DSouza
Sep 14
6-7 mins

Table of contents

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Customer Dissatisfaction: What causes it & how to deal with it ?

You’re always hearing about how important it is for you to satisfy and even amaze your customers. But, how clear are you on customer dissatisfaction? Do you know what causes it? What about the ways to detect it early on and nip it in the bud? Got a good plan in place to deal with it if you didn’t find out on time?

This article’s got you covered.

What are the consequences of customer dissatisfaction?

Consequence of customer dissatisfaction

If you thought it would just lose you a single customer, think again. Failing to satisfy your customers could have quite a few additional consequences.


Negative word of mouth

Dissatisfied customers are far more likely to talk about your business than satisfied customers. But obviously, not in the way you want them to. And you aren’t just going to have them telling the people in their circles about how their experience with you was, they’re also going to be posting reviews online for the world to see. If you want to be winning customers over with strong social proof, you can’t let that happen.


Reduction in loyalty and customer lifetime value

This one’s pretty straightforward - dissatisfied customers aren’t going to be too keen on sticking around with you. They’re going to be looking for new vendors to do business with. Leave enough customers dissatisfied and you’ll start seeing a rather significant drop in your average customer lifetime value.


Lead generation becomes harder

What’s the cheapest (and possibly the most effective) way of generating high-quality leads? The answer - referrals.

Treat your customers right, don’t just satisfy them, but go beyond their expectations to amaze them and they’ll be telling everyone in their circles about you, getting you a lot of referrals as well. 

But treat them badly and there’s no way that’s happening. It takes the free leads off the plate and forces you to put in more work to generate leads. And these leads that you do manage to generate don’t come in with a pre-existing level of trust in you because they didn’t get a recommendation from someone whom they already know and trust. You’re going to have to put in more work to earn their trust.


Lower sales

If you have a prospect asking people about your company and two of your customers speak good things about your brand and there’s another customer who comes up talking trash about your business, it’s quite likely that your prospect is going to be more cautious doing business with you, or might just avoid it altogether. You can’t afford to have prospects worry about how well you’re going to treat them, they need to know that they are in good hands, otherwise you’re going to be seeing some rather low sales figures.


Employee churn

It isn’t just customers that you lose when you aren’t treating them right. Employees aren’t too keen on staying with a brand that doesn’t a strong level of customer loyalty. Besides, if your customers are angry, it’s going to make your employees’ jobs harder and more stressful. This makes it far more likely that your employees will start jumping ship.

What are the causes of customer dissatisfaction?

Honestly, there’s an extremely wide range of causes of customer dissatisfaction. But we’re making down the most common and significant ones here.



If the quality of your offerings does not meet your customers’ expectations, they aren’t going to be satisfied doing business with you. It’s that simple. You’ve got to make sure that the quality of your products and services meets and even exceeds your customers’ expectations at all times.



If your customers feel like your product or service is overpriced, they aren’t going to be too happy about it. This doesn’t mean that they’re going to always be dissatisfied if your offerings are expensive. What it means is that the price needs to be justified. 

If you want your customers to pay you more, you need to give them more value and better quality.


Features and specifications

If you give your customers a list of features and specifications that your product or service will have, you better make sure it has those features and specs. If your customers go in expecting certain features and find out that they aren’t getting what they paid for, they’re going to be rather frustrated.



Your customers want products that are intuitive and easy to use. If it's hard for them to use your product or there’s too much of a learning curve involved, they might not be too satisfied with it. You want to reduce customer effort as far as possible.


Hidden costs

You want to keep things transparent with your customers. If they see a price mentioned and go ahead to make the purchase, ambushing them with surprise costs is not the best idea. Hidden information and costs can be rather annoying for your customers and may cause them to back out of the purchase, even if they could afford it.


Substandard customer service

If you don’t respond quickly to your customers when they face issues, they aren’t going to be satisfied doing business with you. But that’s not the only thing. If you don’t provide support in the language they are most comfortable with, that’s another red flag. 

Forcing them to hop around across multiple agents till they’re finally transferred to one that can handle their issue? You’re in the danger zone. 

Now, you don’t want to make it worse by asking them to repeat their queries when they’re transferred across agents. You don’t even want to ask them to repeat things that they mentioned in past conversations.

Fortunately, there’s a way around it - Engati’s AI-powered chatbots help you answer customer queries instantly in 50+ languages. But it gets better, our live chat capabilities intelligently auto-route complex customer issues to the agent best equipped to handle them, instead of sending your customers on a tour of your customer service department. Our OneView inbox even offers your agents context by stitching together past conversations with customers across 14+ channels.


Other causes of customer dissatisfaction

Causes of customer dissatisfaction
Some additional causes of customer dissatisfaction (Source: shankmanhonig.com)

How do you identify customer dissatisfaction?

There are a whole ton of ways through which you could identify customer dissatisfaction, but here are three signs that you should definitely keep an eye out for:


Frequent complaints

This one’s pretty obvious. It’s a sign that either you aren’t addressing the issues that they are facing, or they keep facing these issues on a repetitive basis. However, there is a silver lining to complaints - customers who complain are usually willing to give your brand another chance to redeem itself. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make things right.


Avoidance to interactions

If you have customers who simply refuse to interact with your brand, that could be an issue. You might think that a lack of complaints means that everything is going well. But if you don’t hear your customers telling you what’s wrong, it’ll be harder for you to fix it. There’s also the chance that a customer might just not see any point in highlighting an issue because they don’t think you’re going to do anything about it. 


Keeps making comparisons

Most of your customers know what your competitors’ offerings look like in comparison to yours. But not all of them are going to constantly talk about this. If you do have customers who are continuously cribbing about how you aren’t giving them as much as your competitors would, this is a particularly clear sign of customer dissatisfaction and could very well be an early indicator of churn.

Very few dissatisfied customers actually complain
You need to actively look for dissatisfied customers as most won’t complain 

How do you handle customer dissatisfaction?

Every customer issue is unique, but here’s a 5-step plan that you could follow to handle customer dissatisfaction.


Talk to your customers

Ask your customers for feedback, As it is the most reliable way for you to learn about your customers' experiences.e manner, you aren’t going to find out about the dissatisfaction and the reason behind it until it's too late. 

Follow up with your customers after making the sale to see how they feel about your offerings.


Analyze the feedback

Dig deep, find the root cause behind the problems that your customers are facing. You don’t want to just be fixing the symptoms when there is a bigger issue lying below the surface.


Act on it

Take action to fix the issues that your customers are facing. Don’t just fix it this time, try to make changes so that other customers don’t have to deal with the same problem in the future. You might want to make some long-term changes to your product or even change some of your policies.


Record the issues

Keep a record of the issues that your customers face, and make a note of how you solved the issue. This could come in handy the next time your team faces a similar customer issue.


Go beyond

It takes multiple good experiences to compensate for and balance out a single negative experience. Don’t just fix the issue that your customers were facing, go above and beyond by doing something more or giving them something extra to make up for the inconvenience. You want to sure your customers that you value them and you have their backs.

Jeremy DSouza

Jeremy is a marketer at Engati with an interest in marketing psychology and consumer neuroscience. Over the last year he has interviewed many of the world's brightest CX, AI, Marketing, and Tech thought leaders for Engati CX.

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