Resolving Customer Satisfaction Issues – Is it worth the bother?


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Which of these two options makes better business sense:

1. Let the dis-satisfied customers leave, and invest the energy of your sales team in capturing new customers, or

2. work to resolve their issues and retain the customers you already have?

That’s the question I was asked recently and the answer is, it depends.

It depends on whether the unmet needs, issues and problems experienced by customers fall within the scope of what your business is both willing and able to deliver. If the issues are outside this scope, the best solution may be to help the customer find an alternate supplier. And, in doing so, make a graceful exit from the relationship so that the former customer is an advocate of your organization. If you simply push them out without providing some guidance, you may find the former customer becomes a terrorist, bad mouthing your organization at every opportunity.

The gracefully released customer may lead you to new business to replace what you have lost, or they may not. Either way, better to have them as an ally than someone who works actively against you!

Are there times when, even though your business is both willing and able to deliver what the dis-satisfied individual needs, wants and expects, it makes better business sense to disengage?

Definitely! If the customer does not share your company’s values, is dishonest with you, or mistreats your employees, the relationship may be costing your company more than it could ever be worth. When faced with such a situation, a graceful disengagement may be both more challenging and more rewarding than continuing to do business with the customer:

  1. More challenging in terms of how best to express the reasons for disengagement gracefully (e.g., without creating a terrorist), and
  2. more rewarding as it will preserve your integrity and it will demonstrate to your employees that you value them and honor their right to be treated with respect.

If the issues fall within the scope of what your business is both willing and able to deliver, and you value the relationship with the individual, then it is usually better to work to resolve the issues to the customer’s complete satisfaction and retain their hard won business. Notice that I have said “to the customer’s complete satisfaction” – this is the key to success.

In a recent study, The Dunvegan Group found that when the individual is completely satisfied with the resolution, they are very nearly as positive about the relationship as customers who have experienced no problems/issues; people who are anything less than completely satisfied with the resolution are very nearly as negative about the relationship as customers who said their problem was not addressed at all.

So, is resolving customer satisfaction issues worth the bother? Absolutely! And, while we would all prefer to deliver problem free products and services, when you can execute a graceful recovery, to the customer’s complete satisfaction, you can expect a higher level of customer satisfaction, customer advocacy and customer retention.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Anne Miner
Anne Miner, the founding partner of The Dunvegan Group, first entered the field of marketing and survey research in 1974. Since then, she has been the lead consultant on assignments across virtually all product and service categories, from diapers to transportation. Anne is respected for her ability to work closely with her clients' teams to identify the issues to be investigated, focus on what is actionable and develop creative solutions.


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