What are your customers most unhappy with?

One word of warning though, don’t wait for your customers to tell you they are unhappy. Most customers never do, they just leave you!

This month’s article really came as a fluke. Here I was looking up famous quotes on the Internet when I stumbled upon this quote from Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” * It took me less than a second to realize Bill was right!

When was the last time you stopped to think about what your customers might be unhappy with? What part of your service would they like to see changed? Its sad, but often times most of their problems can be resolved so easily. What do you think would happen if once a month you met with your team and found one service shortcoming and you corrected it?

Many times we find that the reason our customer is unhappy is because there is a simple misunderstanding between the way we think they want to do business and the way they really want to do business. We think they want to work with us between 9am and 5pm and they need us available 24 hours a day. We think ordering off the Internet is a good solution and they don’t have access to outside websites. Whatever the problem is, if more than one customer has it, you need to be concerned!

So, do you really know what makes your customer unhappy? Who in your organization is listening and looking to find out? Are you searching for trends to understand if others are unhappy too? Finally, who is taking action to make sure these customers become happy? One word of warning though, don’t wait for your customers to tell you they are unhappy. Most customers never do, they just leave you!

At Microsoft, in order to ensure we were able to anticipate our customer’s needs, we had an expressions that stated, “We are a company that eats their own dog food”. This means that long before customers ever used our products, we were our own customers. If we didn’t like the way it worked, if we found it too difficult, if it broke too often we would let the Product Management group know and they would start finding resolutions. The idea was, if we didn’t like doing business with us, we knew our customers wouldn’t either.

One last thought. An unhappy customer can easily be your happiest customer, it just depends on how you go about to solve their problem. Customer research has shown that companies that take customers complaints to heart and take action to correct the situation, build strong business relationships that endure very tough times.

This month, ask yourself, “What are my customers unhappy with?” Make a plan to correct some of their concerns. It won’t take long and it will make a world of difference. Its a sad reality, but somehow with all the hustle and bustle we are all attending to, we seemed to have forgotten we need happy customers to stay alive!

Brainstorming Ideas

What are my customers most unhappy with?

  • Which of these things are easy are easy to fix?
  • Which of these things are strategic to our business to fix?
  • How can I anticipate my customer’s needs better in the future?


Curt Skene