5 Reasons To Watch-out When Customers Say “All Is Well”


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Businesses function to ensure “Customer Satisfaction”, but, my question is how good are “satisfied customers” to your business? If the answer is “they are satisfied and that’s a good news!” think again.

I have been meeting business owners who believe satisfied customers are an asset for them. When I ask them what is their definition of a satisfied customer? They promptly reply, “Customers who have no complaints.” Sounds fair. Who would want a business where there are no complaining customers? Everyone right? As I mentioned earlier – think again.

When customers are not complaining, it most probably means they have either lowered their expectations from you, or they are already looking at another option. Non-complaining customers would never highlight your lapses or ask you to correct them. They will just slow down and move on for want of better quality or service. When they finally move, as a business owner, you have no idea why your customers have dumped you. As a matter of fact, non-complaining customers are toxic for your business in the long run.

Your customers would be vocal of their grievances only when they know their feedback is heard and implemented.  Customers stop complaining if their past complaints were either handled recklessly or was not resolved properly. Eventually, they do not bother and lose interest in your company and its goods or services. Poorly managed monopolistic markets need not worry about this phenomenon, however if you are in an extremely competitive market, it may lead to huge long-term losses.

If you have “satisfied customers” it means either you have stopped evolving, or you do not understand the customer’s pulse. It is important to introspect and understand the reasons.

Remember, when everything is going fine, something is not right.

5 Reasons Why Non-Complaining Customers Are Not Good For The Organization

According to my research, here are 5 reasons why non-complaining customers are not good for the organization:

  • You are unaware of the areas for improvement: If customers do not complain, there is no way of understanding what you are lacking. This could either be because you are not listening to the customers’ complaints, or they are not voicing it to you. This eventually degrades to self-righteousness.
  • You are out of the competitive race: As customers stop complaining, and you stop improving, competition takes your share of the market by improving their goods or services. You start losing your customers to the competition.
  • You lack customer insights: Over time you are not in sync with the customers’ needs and don’t understand their expectations from the company. Since you do not understand customer needs, you do not have their loyalty.
  • You do not know what the competitor is doing: Customer complaints often give you an insight into your competitor’s activity and what they are offering. When customers complain, they are (in a way) comparing your goods or services to your competitor. Such complains tell you what others are offering in the market. Since you do not know what your competitors are doing, you also do not know how they are doing it.
  • You do not have business ideas: When the e-commerce business started flourishing, consumers often complained of longer delivery schedules. This pushed the e-commerce player to either get delivery services in-house or have a reliable partner onboard. This helped them reach and serve more customers and even earn more by charging more for customized delivery timelines. This proves that when your customers are not complaining you do not have the insight to explore new options or have new business ideas that could make you more profitable.

Changes You Make When The Customers Say, “All is Well.”

Even before you gather feedback from your current and prospective customers, you need to be clear about:

  • your goal for seeking that feedback
  • the process of collecting, managing the data you collect
  • the different channels that works best for your goals
  • the desired outcomes
  • how you will communicate to the customers that you are working or have worked on their feedback

  There is no point in blindly asking for feedback if you do not intend to act on it or have no clue what to do with the feedback.

This will only confuse your customer and your employees and other stakeholders.

An insight of how your customers view your company, support, product, support, is invaluable. So, you need to relook constantly at the different customer feedback channels you have at your disposal, to build a brand that keeps its promise.

Lets talk!

The article was first posted on Linkedin

Vidya Priya Rao
Vidya Priya Rao (PhD), is the Founder and Director of Innovatus Marketers Touchpoint LLP, a customer experience, design thinking and marketing consulting firm based in Mumbai, India. She is a design thinking/service design thinking decoder and promotes a proven approach to build a design-led innovation culture. She is also a visiting faculty at leading B-Schools in India. She is an Executive, Marketing & Sales Coach, Trainer, and Keynote Speaker.


  1. Fully agree with above. Another element sometimes adding to whole picture is a readiness of company to listen and accept the mistakes or problems raised by customers, working with them, reporting them up and down for the sake of the better company with innovation included. It is about open channel both inside the organization as well as this in connection with external world. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Vidya, Good article, especially as a reminder. If we are not hearing from customers, I always believe it is “out of sight, out of mind”. Thanks for reminding us of why we may not be hearing and what we need to be doing. It is easy to lapse in this area.

  3. The cold reality about complaints is that, whether b2c or b2b, for multiple reasons customers with complaints will not express them. Often, complaint management systems are completely reactive; and this is not enough, in part because the complaints received may be less consequential than the ones not expressed.

    Companies will be well-advised to inquire, in their customer experience research and through other means, if any extant problems or complaints haven’t been expressed. Once identified, the customer behavior impact of these uncovered complaints needs to be understood. Then, these complaints need to be proactively resolved as a method of reducing customer attrition risk.

  4. I know that the encouragement of customer complaints is the centerpiece of your post. However, customer satisfaction is not a very good goal for another important reason. When it comes to their experience, customer satisfaction is the grade of “C.” That is why research shows about 75% of customers who leave an organization for a competitor report they were “satisfied or completely satisfied” with the organization they abandoned. And, we want to pursue satisfaction??

    Customer sat as an evaluation expression started when market research largely focused on products. Satisfaction meant a product did exactly what it was suppose to do. Look up the definition the word. It means sufficient or enough or adequate. Customer experiences that are “sufficient” or “adequate” are not likely remembered (unless you are the only game in town) and are certainly not the basis for advocacy. No one uses the word “satisfaction” when evaluating other positively memorable experiences in their lives. When junior nails a corner kick or a field goal, no coach or parent would pronounce it satisfactory. When we are asked about our honeymoon or vacation or a special anniversary dinner we find better superlatives to grade our experiences.

    Satisfaction is not assurance of loyalty or even retention. I am completely satisfied with my weed eater. It does the job I purchased it for. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the brand name. But, I can assure you “satisfaction” was not the language I used the first time I drove my neighbor’s Tesla sports car around the block! Sign me up for awesome, amazing, extraordinary, excellent, terrific, super…but, never plain vanilla “satisfaction.”

  5. Thanks.Waldek, Dennis, Michael and Gautam for sharing your feedback and taking time to read the post.

  6. Chip, I fully agree with you. We pursue the wrong goals and winder why customers leave. Measure Customer Value Added
    Vidya, yesterday I had a serious problem with SpiceJet, but decide to keep quiet, because they do not care. These are our rules (right or wrong) and we are bigger than you. I say why complain.

  7. I agree that having ‘satisfied customers’ – or the perception of having them – can cause executives to be mistakenly content. But I don’t believe that when it comes to complaining, customer reticence probably means they have either lowered their expectations, or they are seeking other vendor options. There are many reasons customers don’t voice complaints. Possibly they don’t have time, or they’re insufficiently aggravated to expend the effort. Or, the vendor has made the complaint process so cumbersome that customers are less inclined to share information.

    Seeking other vendor options assumes that there is permanency of customer need. But customers can abandon buying a product for reasons over which the vendor has little control. An obvious example: we stopped buying diapers when our kids no longer needed them. There are thousands of products and services where similarly influential forces are in play.

    For vendors, finding out about opportunities for improving products or services does not just come from vocal, complaining customers. It comes from other places, too. My consulting practice helps businesses become more risk-aware, and a large element of that is situational awareness. Understanding what I call “boundary opportunities” – revenue that can be captured at the periphery of core markets – is crucial. Companies that are innovating in this way will not wait for complaints. Substantial improvements can be discovered by learning what customers who are not yet buying might want.

  8. The post mainly is to emphasize to brands not to become complacent.

    As Gautam rightly said often customers prefer not to make a complaint as they have not seen any action being taken by the brand. Like Andrew mentions it could be a very cumbersome process that customers don’t want to take time out for complaining – it’s a red signal for the brand as the moment of truth is being compromised. But, the minute they get a better alternative they are bound to vanish overnight.

    Though the brand may not a formal mechanism to capture feedback, there are ways they can gauge the relationship based on the engagement signals to monitor on track and off track customers. For example, for a SaaS solution provider, at the Onboarding stage the engagement signals are:

    ALL GOOD: Healthy usage: New, just started onboarding
    NOTICE: Little usage. Still onboarding after 30d
    RISK: No usage: Still onboarding after 60d

    It’s also important the brands know their customers and how to segment and understand the buying tenure for the product and relook at the revenue sources.

    It’s important that companies realize that in the VUCA world, brands have to ask themselves this question – How to go beyond the business-as-usual mindset, to meet the needs of the interconnected customers?


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