Warning Signs of an Unhappy Customer

We all agree that customer experience is key! And when we get a complaint from a customer, we rally around them trying to rectify their experience and make them happy. But have you ever considered how many customers are unhappy but don't complain?


Surprisingly, 96% of unhappy customers don't complain, and 91% of them will simply leave and never come back to the brand - 1Financial Training services.


So while you may be doing everything you can to address your customers' complaints and minimize your churn rates, are you considering the experiences of ALL of your customers? Are you looking out for those "unhappy non complainers"? Or are you addressing only the issues that are brought to your attention?


Here’s why it's important for your business to learn to spot those unhappy non-complainers:

  • The cost of a acquiring a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer - Bain & Company

  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20% – Marketing Metrics

  • On average, customers tell about 9 to 15 other people about how dissatisfied they were with your company.

With those statistics in mind, your ability to keep customer happy and engaged can clearly save (and make) you a significant amount of money in the long run. This is particularly relevant in industries that have regular or repeat customers, like SaaS, marketing or accounting businesses.


To save on expenses and increase your revenue, it’s important to learn how to read your customers, especially the silent ones. Being able to spot the warning signs that a customer is unhappy gives you a heads-up that they may be thinking about leaving your business.


To improve your retention rate, keep an eye out for the following behaviors that may mean a customer is on their way out the door. In these cases, you’ll need to act fast to retain their business before they leave for good.


Signs of unhappy customers:

  1. The customer stops engaging with you - Sudden silence from a regular customer is a huge red flag! Whether the customer stops responding to your emails, or is a no-show to your meeting, most likely they are looking else where. You should reach out quickly to attempt to address the customer's concerns and restore your working relationship. Simply opening up the lines of communication may be enough to restore dedication to your company.

  2. Decreased usage of your platform - Customers who are on the fence may start to slowly test out offerings from your competitors before leaving your business altogether. One way to detect this behavior is to keep an eye out for spending or platform usage decreases among your regular accounts. Implement a tracking routine for common customer activities such as email opens, system logins, website visits, etc. that can provide you with "alarms" when a customer's routine frequency is way off base. If this happens, focus on promoting the ways in which your specific services can benefit these customers specifically. How can your experience with their brand and your knowledge of their business help you stand out from your competitors?

  3. The customer regularly compares you to competitors - The repeated mention of your competitors, means that your service standards are either not up to the mark, or your relationship with the customer has become weak. Figure out what drives your customer and if there are any changes or improvements you can make to fit the standards they are looking for. Many times, the customer is just not aware of your offerings, functionalities or services and no changes are actually needed to improve their experience.

  4. Discussions about contract terms - If your customer is suddenly asking a lot of questions about the terms and conditions of your contracts, it’s a sign that all may not be well in your relationship. If you feel your customer is using this as a reminder of what you committed to, it probably means (in their view) that you are failing to deliver on your commitments. Whether your customer has concerns about project scope, service value, or deliverables, make sure to dedicate time to truly understanding and addressing whatever is causing their dismay.

  5. Payment issues - Beginning to question the value of your services can result in financial actions such as missed payments. Whether they’re intentional or not, these action (or non-actions) suggest that your business is no longer top of mind. Although there may be a simple explanation like a vacation or an expired credit card, check in with your customer to see if there are any underlying issues. If so, allow the customer to voice their concerns and strive to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Remember: A customer's need for your service rarely disappears with no notice. So if you are sensing any type of "distance" or change in activity, most likely your customer is unhappy.


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