Dissatisfied Customers: 10 Useful Tips On How To Handle Them

10 Useful Tips On How To Handle A Dissatisfied Customer

Dissatisfied Customers may seem like unpleasant challenges, but can actually be an opportunity to learn and understand your buyers better. 


You haven’t experienced entrepreneurship without having faced a dissatisfied customer or two. Unhappy customers are an unavoidable gift most businesses receive while scaling. 

The unhappiness can come from an ingenuous fault in product or service. However, at other times, the vision of a growing business can start differing from its customers’ expectations.

10 Tips To Handle Dissatisfied Customers

There are certain standard practices and decorum that needs to be maintained to make the ordeal of handling unhappy customers more amicable.

The pointers below are a good place to start. 

1. Listen To Dissatisfied Customers, But Only Within Reason

A popular business book adage from Duncan Howe reads, ‘Rule number 1: The customer is always right. Rule number 2: If the customer is wrong, refer to rule number 1’.

Putting the customer on a pedestal does help in a lot of cases. A malfunctioning product, a late delivery, or simply a bad attitude from an employee can lead to an unpleasant encounter with a customer.

In these cases, simply hearing the customer out and alleviating their concerns can help quickly resolve the problem.

However, a business isn’t responsible for an unreasonable customer’s discontentment.

If there’s a case where it’s not your fault and it could be a problem from the customer’s end, politely explain to them the situation and propose a possible solution.

2. Act Promptly

7 out of 10 American consumers choose companies with good customer service than those without.

Dissatisfied customers can be an opportunity for you to show off how exceptional your customer service is. Quickly replacing a product, or reimbursing the customer can flip the dissatisfaction on its head and lead to a happy customer. 

Common knowledge dictates that happy customers are repeat customers! However, on the converse, the longer you make a customer wait, the more their trust in the company fades.

In a world where everything is digital and fast, taking it slow doesn’t help in the customer satisfaction department.

3. Share Updates If The Problem Is Taking Time To Solve

Some solutions don’t come promptly. That’s part and parcel of dealing with dissatisfied customers. Maybe a product was imported or is out of stock temporarily.

Maybe, there’s a technical or logistical glitch that’ll take some time to fix. Hiccups arise a lot of the times, but they do not equate you to ghost the customer until the solution arrives.

Be proactive in informing the customer with updates on their solution and let them know that you’re working on it.

Half the return to customer satisfaction is knowing that the company cares about their needs.

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4. Make It Personal

Yes, addressing your customer by name is important. It makes the conversation seem less corporate and more friendly. By that rule, also, dissatisfied customers should not be assigned to multiple representatives. 

There’s merit in astute time and resource allocation, but dealing with a frustrated customer is not akin to working on an assembly line.

Changing an unhappy person’s point of contact, especially on a long term fix, can lead to further dissatisfaction. 

Long story short, if your unhappy customer first interacted with Ryan then make sure that Ryan is easily available and gives them all the updates about their complaint.

5. Fix The Core Issue (And Let Them Know)

Customers like validation and giving them that validation can help your business massively. If the dissatisfied customer just pointed out a prominent flaw in your product: fix it.

Better yet, fix it and openly acknowledge your customer’s insight.

Not only are you avoiding further product or service dissatisfaction you’re also letting the customer know that they are valued and their voice is heard.

6. Breed A Culture Of Customer Prioritization From The Bottom Down

“I’d like to talk to the manager”– a dialogue commonly associated with dissatisfied customers who haven’t received a solution. 

Sure, there is merit is involving the higher-ups for bigger, more escalated problems.

However, repeat managerial (or even higher) addresses from dissatisfied customers means that your executives have not been taught to deal with problems efficiently.

It saves long term resources, time and money if you provide your executives with the autonomy and training to make decisions that can help solve customer problems efficiently and quickly.

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7. Follow Up Post Resolution

Most businesses know of the post-sales follow up, but a post problem resolution follow up is also vital to ensuring that customers are happy and satisfied.

A prompt, amicable solution may give dissatisfied customers a peace of mind for the moment, but it does not ensure a foothold on the future.

Most customers may not want to relive a nagging experience that needed problem-solving from the company.

To avoid that from happening, it is never a bad idea to call the customer after the problem resolution and to remind them that they’re valued and that problems are scarce if anything.

8. Find Opportunities To Expand

Failure is just a red carpet walk to success. There’s always an opportunity in hearing out dissatisfied customers. 

Ask yourself this: If a customer’s needs are not being met because you don’t have a product or service in your catalog, do you have the resources to make that happen?

Is a large enough group of customers dissatisfied with the same issues or are asking for the creation of a new or derivative product or service?

If it is financially feasible and already within the reach of your available resources, why not turn this dissatisfaction into a new business opportunity?

9. Sever Ties With The Customer

Drastic, yes. But this has been done in the past. The good thing is, in most cases, your customer probably does not pose a threat to a superpower nation

However, if a customer is dissatisfied over a prolonged period of time, you should ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Is this customer’s expectations of my products aligned with what we actually purvey to the market? 
  • Does this customer have unreasonable expectations for my service/products? 
  • Is this customer dissatisfied repeatedly? 
  • Is the dissatisfaction primarily coming from one customer and not other sources? 

If the answer to all these questions is a yes, it’s time to hit the proverbial chopping block.

Always remember, your company’s market perception and internal happiness can change for the better when a problem customer isn’t around. 

10. Sever Ties With Your Product Or Service

The toughest one of them all. Are your dissatisfied customers growing by the day?

Have you objectively looked at all their concerns and there isn’t a fix to your product or service? In these cases going back to the drawing board is the best option.

Product recalls and discontinuations are two very tough decisions that a business has to make.

An objective look will tell you that your customers are more important to a brand you can start again on creating a market for your product.


There isn’t a right way to deal with dissatisfied customers. Given the diversity of people, sometimes no solution is enough. 

In most cases, the best answer is to stick to your company’s core values and ethics, follow some good advice and keep learning, customer by customer, sale by sale.

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