The Insane Cost of Unhappy Customers [INFOGRAPHIC]


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Unhappy customers cost businesses $537 trillion each year. The customer is NOT always right, but even wrong customers can significantly impact your business for the better.

Instead of focusing on who’s right and who’s wrong, your time is always better spent doing what’s right and not what’s wrong to continue to keep existing customers and win new customers.

We’ve all heard the adage “the customer is always right”…way too many times. If you’re like me and someone who has actually dealt with customers on a regular basis, you know that’s just not true. But even wrong customers spend money, a lot of it. If you want to succeed you’re going to need all types of customers. Right customers, wrong customers…the whole lot.

Recently, the team at New Brand shared an infographic highlighting the cost of unhappy customers.

If you’re doing the math the annual cost of unhappy customers is $537 trillion. That’s revenue you stand to earn! Check out how the infographic breakdown of the math:

The Cost of Unhappy Customers

The Customer Service Cost of Unhappy Customers

How Must Does Your Poor Experience Cost You?

If you apply the law of averages, nearly 50% of your customers who switched to using a competitor’s service in the last year, a full 81% could have been saved if you had done just a little bit more to keep the customer happy.

Do you have the system in place to catch possibly unhappy customers, before they make the switch?

Too often we think innovation needs to be something that has fancy buttons that you plug in. The best innovators see possibilities to improve every touch point—from point-of-sale to product to help line to billing experience.

-Mike Maddock, Forbes

Catching unhappy customers and doing something about it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and it doesn’t require fancy integrated technology systems to be integrated into your customer service processes. Simply apply the six rules for showing customers that you really care and prove that customer experience matters.

  1. Every customer action creates a personal reaction
  2. Customers are instinctively self-centered
  3. Customer familiarity creates relationship alignment
  4. Disconnected employees don’t create engaged customers
  5. Employees default to doing what’s measured, incentivized, and celebrated
  6. You can’t fake customer-centricity

Customer Experience Matters

Customer experience and customer focus is a strategic advantage that can withstand the threat of technological innovation. While you may be limited in resources and availability of the latest technological advances, customer experience can give you the break you need to survive and thrive.

The next generation of customer experience will need to continue to focus ever more on creating the frameworks and processes where customers engage personally with agents, creating an extra incentive to continuing buying and reducing the likelihood of switching to competitors.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


  1. Awful. Will this be a wake up call or all these losses happening to others and not to my company. Why wake up?

  2. When asked what stage of the customer life cycle is most important, my response is invariably ‘risk’. Simply stated, risk is that state where the customer has become displeased with the value received. If negative emotional experiences become a memory, the customer is likely to defect; but, the customer can be stabilized and the relationship improved by refreshing the perception of value. Risk identification can, as well, be systematized and institutionalized:

  3. Flavio, this is profound…especially your six rules for keeping customers. This should land on the desk of every CEO and member of the C suite. Too many organization focus on bringing in more customers (which is important) and forget the power, promise and payoff of keeping customers. Thanks for the wakeup call.

  4. Your article sums up many key points especially around right and wrong customers. We’d all like to only sell to the ‘right’ customers. But sometimes what seems like the wrong customer today is actually tomorrow’s right customer and vica versa.

    Instead of profiling customers and treating them differently based on perceived LCV, focus on defining the company’s values in serving customers. For those customers where there is a mismatch in values, they will self-select out. This article, and many others, raise the point that customer-centricity is holistic and strategic yet companies approach it as a project, initiative, campaign, a tactic.

    At the root is a reluctance to change because the ‘proof’ isn’t perceived to be there or big enough. Everyone is waiting on someone else to take the first step in the organization. CEOs and Csuites need to embrace this change and lead the way. Delegating it to a department or a team is not going to work – something we’re all seeing a lot of these days. i do wonder when organizations will wake up.

  5. You can try putting it on CEO’s desks (if they are interested). Wonder why they do not react. Esp. with such strong points Flavio makes?
    We have to change mind sets at B schools etc. Where are the courses that teach what Flavio says?

  6. The best way to avoid or prevent these costs is to do things right the first time. And that goes well beyond the customer support organization to the rest of the company that caused a significant percentage of what causes customers to call the company or to defect.

    It does cost a fortune to correct mis-alignments between what the company did and what the customer expected.

    It starts with setting customer expectations. The customer is always right in their own perceptions. And it’s a big burden for the support organization to correct perceptions that aren’t well-founded.

    This is why a broad-brush, holistic, end-to-end approach to customer experience management is essential. It’s necessary if companies are to reap sustainable returns on their customer experience management investments.

    A related article that may be of interest: Customer Experience Management Prevents Customer Hassles


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