December 14, 2023

How to Approach Customer Dissatisfaction and Manage Issues When They Arise

In the world of business, customer satisfaction is key to growing your business.


How to Approach Customer Dissatisfaction and Manage Issues When They Arise

Customer dissatisfaction can hurt your business in many ways. A bad customer experience can lead to negative reviews, damage to the company's reputation, a decrease in customer referrals, and lower profits.

In the world of business, customer satisfaction is key to growing your business. Happy customers become loyal advocates who spread the word about your brand, drive more sales and fuel growth. 

So, is it possible for a company to avoid customer dissatisfaction? Well, it isn’t. Dissatisfied customers are a part of running a business. No matter how hard you try, there will always be customers who aren't completely happy with your product or service. The key lies in how you can reduce that number of dissatisfied customers and manage dissatisfaction issues, should they arise.

In this simple guide, we'll explore what customer dissatisfaction is, why it happens, and most importantly, how to address it effectively.

Let’s jump right in.

What Is Customer Dissatisfaction?

Customer dissatisfaction is when someone feels disappointed, frustrated, or unhappy while having an experience with a brand, its product, or service. As a business, your goal is to meet, better yet, exceed your customer’s expectations:

While no business sets out to intentionally dissatisfy its customers, it's important to understand that customer dissatisfaction is an inevitable part of the customer journey.

Customer dissatisfaction can stem from various factors and can manifest in different ways. By identifying and addressing these factors, though, you can still turn dissatisfied customers into happy ones and even improve your business.

4 Reasons for Customer Dissatisfaction

Let’s investigate the four main reasons for customer dissatisfaction:

1. Issues Related to Quality

One of the primary reasons for customer dissatisfaction is the perception of poor quality. Whether it's a faulty product or a glitchy app, customers expect a certain level of quality that meets their needs and expectations. When that expectation isn't met, dissatisfaction arises. Businesses know this. That’s why the product itself is one of the top priorities for businesses:

The specific solutions to quality issues will depend on what you’re offering as a business in the first place.

Imagine a scenario where a business promotes a paid course on digital marketing, promising comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge. However, upon purchasing the course, customers discover that the content is outdated and is lacking key strategies and insights. 

Moreover, the course lacks interactive elements and doesn’t make use of engaging instructional methods. Of course customers will feel frustrated, and dissatisfied, and may even demand refunds. 

In this case, to mitigate the customer dissatisfaction caused by quality issues, the business can just decide to upgrade the course and leverage reputable course platforms. 

But businesses don’t have to wait for customers to be dissatisfied with the product to take action, of course. In general, by acknowledging early on the impact of quality on customer satisfaction and taking proactive measures, businesses can ensure that their customers receive high-quality products. To avoid frustration due to a product’s quality in the first place, it's crucial to invest in quality control measures, product testing, and continuous improvement. 

2. Pricing-Related Issues

Pricing plays a significant role in customer satisfaction. If your product or service is priced too high in comparison to its perceived value, customers will feel cheated and dissatisfied. On the other hand, pricing it too low may raise concerns about quality. 

But customers don’t just look at whether you offer expensive or cheap products. They also consider whether or not you offer flexibility in your pricing packages. This is particularly the case with SaaS products.

Software-as-a-Service businesses that offer rigid and inflexible pricing plans will more likely fail to cater to the diverse needs of their customer base. Subscribers often value customization options. Not all SaaS product features are relevant to their business, after all. Customers don’t want to end up paying for features they do not need. 

A marketing strategy is crucial in managing customer satisfaction within the pricing context. This strategy involves market research to identify competitive pricing ranges, understanding customer needs and willingness to pay, and positioning the product accordingly. By aligning the pricing strategy with the perceived value of the product and the target market's expectations, the business can minimize pricing-related dissatisfaction and maximize customer satisfaction.

Here’s another way you can minimize customer dissatisfaction related to pricing: bring down the business costs you’d typically pass on to consumers. 

If you’re starting a business in the US, for instance, you’d have to shoulder transportation and legal costs associated with registering your startup. These are costs you’d try to cover by selling your product or service at a higher price. 

To avoid this, you can take advantage of the limited-time free legal and registered agent services offered by some LLC filing companies. Or, you can move closer to the government agencies where you’d need to file your documents and seek the pro bono assistance of a lawyer-friend.

3. Dissatisfaction Due to Usability

UX and UI are crucial factors that directly impact customer satisfaction. If your product is difficult to use, consumers will quickly lose patience and turn to your competitors.

But don’t just focus on the usability of the products you offer. You also want to make sure the digital marketing channels associated with your brand like your website, social media channels, and others are easy to navigate. Around 40% of internet users abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. If you can aim for loading time of less than one second, better:

So, invest in user-centered design, regularly test and optimize your digital platforms, and gather user feedback to make necessary improvements. For this last one, you can send surveys and conduct user interviews. This proactive approach can help you improve overall customer experience.

4. Customer Service-Related Issues

Customer service is the backbone of customer satisfaction. When customers encounter unhelpful representatives, long response times, or poor communication, dissatisfaction ensues. 

It's essential to train your customer service team to be knowledgeable, empathetic, and responsive. 

For the best results, offer a variety of communication channels, like phone, email, and live chat, to cater to different customer platform preferences. You can even implement a chatbot on your digital marketing channels. An intelligent chatbot solution works as an automated assistant that is available to help 24/7. 

Ensure these channels are easily accessible. Implement a system for tracking and managing customer interactions, like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, to ensure no customer concern falls through the cracks.

Impact of Customer Dissatisfaction on Brand Value

One thing is clear: Customer dissatisfaction can have a significant impact on your brand value and crush even a well-performing business. 

Unhappy customers are more likely to leave negative reviews, tarnishing your brand's reputation. With the power of social media and online review platforms, these negative reviews can reach a vast audience, potentially deterring new customers from trying your products or services.

Word-of-mouth referrals are a powerful source of new leads. However, if your existing customers are dissatisfied, they won't recommend your business to others. This can result in a significant reduction in lead generation and slow down your growth.

Customer dissatisfaction can even lead to a loss of customers. When dissatisfied customers find alternatives that better meet their needs, they will switch to your competitors, taking their business away from you. Customer loss not only impacts your revenue but also lowers Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).


The combination of bad reviews, reduced lead generation, and lost customers ultimately leads to a business’ poor sales performance. 

4 Tips to Approach and Manage Customer Dissatisfaction Issues

Now that you understand the reasons and impact of customer dissatisfaction, let's explore how you should approach customer dissatisfaction and manage issues, should they arise:

  • Create Effective Customer Feedback Channels

We’ve already said you can’t really please all your customers. You’re bound to get some negative feedback, whether you like it or not. To help mitigate a customer’s dissatisfaction, what you can do is give them the platform to air that dissatisfaction from the get-go. Besides, by providing a venue for customers to voice their concerns and suggestions, you can gain valuable insights into areas of improvement and enhance your offerings. We’ll talk more about this later.

Apart from your regular private customer service channels like phone, email, or chat, you can also leverage public channels like social media. 

These channels don’t just allow you to interact with customers. They also enable customer-to-customer interactions. That means if a disgruntled customer publishes negative feedback about your brand, you can also easily have one of your loyal customers publicly defending you. Who knows? That might just be the person to make your disgruntled customer rethink their position. If their response is really good, you can even generate Facebook likes, Instagram shares, and Tiktok followers, boosting your overall social engagement.

  • Respond to Negative Feedback 

That’s not to say you’ll just rely on your loyal customers to defend you. When negative feedback arises, you’ll have to respond sincerely as well. Acknowledge the customer's concerns, offer a solution, and apologize for any inconvenience caused, whether verbally or in written form.

Here’s a prime example of how to handle a customer’s concern the right way. Charmin was tagged in a customer’s tweet showing one of its products sold wet:

Here’s the brand’s reply to the tweet:

Demonstrating a willingness to rectify the situation shows that you value your customers and their satisfaction. Don’t know how exactly to respond to the negative feedback? You can seek the services of reputable PR agencies. Just make sure you choose a PR agency that caters specifically to your business. So, if you’re in the restaurant business, a food PR agency is your best bet. If you’re selling an SaaS product, go for a PR company that caters to SaaS. With this approach, you can ensure the best response to the negative feedback. You chose a PR company that knows and understands your specific audience, after all.

  • Answer Customers in a Timely Manner

When you respond is just as important. Timely responses of customer feedback is crucial in maintaining customer satisfaction. In fact, customers expect you to reply to negative feedback within seven days. Beyond that and you’ll be lumped together with the brands that don’t make an effort with their customers. 

Ensure that your customer service team is well-equipped to handle customer issues promptly. Investing in customer support tools can help you streamline the process and ensure your team responds with immediacy.

You can be proactive about this, too. Brand monitoring tools like Awario and Locobuzz, for example, can help you track what people–including angry customers—are saying about your brand outside of your provided customer service channels. You’ll get a prompt notification if your brand is mentioned so you can reply right after.

  • Implement Customer Feedback

Acting on the valid negative feedback you receive is key. You need to show customers that you don’t just listen to what they have to say. You also put it into action. Just make sure you also announce these improvements you made. You want to make it clear to customers your product or service changes were based on their feedback. This way, you’ll make them feel valued.

For this, you can simply respond to the negative comment, like this brand did below:

But what if it will take time for you to implement the customer’s feedback in the first place? You can simply acknowledge your customer’s comment as soon as possible (remember the 7-day rule I mentioned a while ago?). Once the changes based on the customer feedback are done, make sure to go back to the same thread and report just that. 

Key Takeaways

No brand can avoid customer dissatisfaction 100%. But by being proactive about it, and addressing the root causes of dissatisfaction once they arise, you can still turn unhappy customers into loyal advocates. 

Remember that customer dissatisfaction can stem from issues related to product or service quality, pricing, usability, and customer service. It negatively impacts brand value. When you get many bad reviews, you can expect reduced lead generation, a loss of customers, and, ultimately, poor sales.

As a brand, how should you approach customer dissatisfaction? Make sure you put in place effective customer feedback channels so customers can vent out their grievances from the get-go. When customer dissatisfaction issues do arise, respond to negative feedback promptly. Also, implement valid customer feedback.

Embrace customer dissatisfaction as an opportunity to learn, grow, and exceed customer expectations. Start implementing these tips today and see excellent results.

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Aryan Vaksh

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