Retail and Customer Experience : News & Best Practices

Five types of dissatisfied customers and the best way to deal with them

No company is immune to customer dissatisfaction, but by managing it well, you can win back up to 70% of unhappy customers.

However, not all customers behave the same way when dissatisfied and do not expect the same responses from a company. According to a study by researchers at the University of Florida, dissatisfied customers can be grouped into five main categories:

1. The "docile" customer

The docile customer is discreet and tries by all means to avoid conflict. So expect them to give you something other than spontaneous feedback!

The main danger here is that there needs to be more positive feedback regarding customer satisfaction: 91% of dissatisfied customers who do not complain will not return to your company... (source Lee Ressources). If you don't solicit them, this relatively silent customer will unlikely remain loyal to you without ever allowing you to win them back.

Behaviour to adopt: Regularly sending out satisfaction questionnaires is still the best way of getting feedback from these "docile" customers, who will often take the time to answer them. Once the feedback has been received, send them a thank-you email with proof that their opinions have been taken into account (by a human!) and assure them that everything necessary will be done to resolve any problems encountered.

2. The aggressive customer

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the docile customer is the aggressive customer, who has no hesitation in voicing his opinion to anyone who will listen, whatever the circumstances.
If no satisfactory solution is found to their problem, they risk spreading their wrong opinion of your company on social networks, forums and other online discussion platforms.

How to behave: Don't give them excuses and explanations they will find hard to hear. Above all, aggressive customers want a straightforward and rapid response to their problems. Be careful not to be bold, as the situation could quickly get out of hand!

3. Very demanding customers

The very demanding customer is a customer who insists on receiving impeccable service in all circumstances, even if it means paying a little more. While this type of customer often requires a significant investment of time on a day-to-day basis, they can also be a primary source of inspiration for improving your services and overtaking your competitors in the race for the best customer experience.

The right thing to do: Don't hesitate to ask all the questions you need to understand their expectations, even if they seem like they need to be achievable. Assure them that their feedback has been listened to and understood and that it will be considered as far as possible in the future.

4. The opportunist

The objective of the opportunistic customer is not to know that their opinion has been taken into account, nor to receive an apology, but rather to obtain compensation that lives up to their expectations and to which, in most cases, they should not be entitled.

The opportunistic customer can become highly annoyed by a small detail or shortcoming and, rarely satisfied with your responses, will only give up once they have obtained the compensation they had in mind.

How to behave: The danger here is to give in to the demands of these customers, which may go beyond what company policy allows. So stay objective in what you say and back up all your answers with concrete data. To avoid the exchange dragging on for too long, ask the customer directly what they expect from you and then respond to their expectations as far as is reasonable.

5. The eternal dissatisfied customer

We can all think of a customer who is never satisfied.

Although the situation may seem highly frustrating, the demands of the eternally dissatisfied cannot be systematically rejected. These customers are often very loyal and can bring a great deal to your company, whether in terms of repeat purchases or suggestions for improving your services.

How to behave: Unlike the opportunistic customer, the eternally dissatisfied customer is not necessarily looking for compensation, but a sympathetic ear and a sincere apology that shows them respect. So be patient, and show them how much you appreciate having them as a customer! They'll appreciate your efforts.