Skip to main content

The Hidden Cost of Unhappy Customers


No one likes to admit to unhappy customers. And yet, it happens. A mistake is made. A promise goes unfulfilled. A follow-up is forgotten.

If you’re lucky, they’ll let you know about it–giving you a chance to fix the problem. But research shows a typical business hears from just 4% of its dissatisfied customers—and of those 96% who never voice complaints, 91% will never come back.*

Here, we take a closer look at what unhappy customers may be costing your business, and, more important, three tips for heading off problems before they begin.

The cost of unhappy customers.

Let’s face it. Today’s social media is akin to a megaphone in the hands of your customers. They can sing your praises and–just as easily–shout out your shortcomings to the world.

According to Help Scout, a provider of help desk software, “Americans tell an average of nine people about good experiences, and tell 16 (nearly two times more) people about poor experiences.” And, it will take roughly 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

Moreover, if customers aren’t getting the service they expect, they simply leave. A survey by American Express found that 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.

Make satisfaction a priority.

Happy customers are the result of great customer service. The experts at Help Scout recommend that you follow these three tips:

  • Embrace your complainers–they point out areas you can improve.
  • Create an internal process to track complaints and fix them.
  • Make it easy for customers to give you feedback.

It’s far easier–and cheaper–to keep customers happy than it is to find new ones. So when your next complaint comes in, start by saying thank you.

Enjoy this article? Share it!