Every now and then bad customer experiences happen. I’d like to believe no (sane) organisation goes out of its way to deliver these. I’m lucky that this doesn’t happen to me often but when it does it feels like I’m being back paid. One of these not so nice experiences got me to write down some of thoughts on what a great customer experience should or can be. Its follow up, “How To Complain About A Bad Customer Experience In A Helpful Way” might be worth your attention. For now, let’s look at reasons for bad customer experience.

This, of course, is a general list and in no way conclusive or comprehensive. In fact, it would be great to get your input on this. Here we go:

Lack Of Training

I thought this one would be obvious and wondered if I should even bother mentioning it. As obvious as it may seem, it is important to mention.

It is the leaders’ and mangers’ responsibility to make sure that all team members deliver services consistent with the organisation’s values.

This starts with training at induction level. Training also means constantly assessing performance against set standards. Training leaks. This is why it’s important to constantly assess and train. Refreshers aren’t bad things. Training in any organisation must be a living. It must never end.


  • Do you have regular training scheduled for your team?
  • Do you have measures to asses and correct performance of your team based on customers’ experiences?

Lack Of Definition

By this I mean that team members don’t have a clear understanding of what it means for a customer to have a great experience. It is possible to train teams on what they need or should do without a clear definition of what a great customer experience is.

bad customer experiences usually come from what companies won’t do not what they can’t do. there are a lot of things organisations can do for a great customer experience. customer care extends beyond the buying experience to after purchases are made. This includes when things are bad for the customer. 


  • Is there a shared concise and consistent understanding of what a great customer experience is in your organisation?
  • Have you made sure that you’ve defined a great customer experience based on the customer and not what you think it should be?

The Lack Of

I never thought this is something I’d have to write, but some horrid experiences have slapped my naivety out of me. Customers know and can tell when you don’t care. As a customer you can pick up when the person serving you clearly doesn’t want to. It is difficult if not impossible to make a customer feel cared for if you don’t truly care.

Often, clients suffer not because organisations can’t do something but because they won’t do something. The issue is rarely capacity, it is usually willingness to act.

Great customer experiences are seated in empathy and sometimes, even compassion. Empathy is important.

Bad Systems

Customers suffer bad experience where systems aren’t well designed. Bad customer experiences are often the result of companies or services providers serving their systems at the expense of clients. Organisations can be so focused on squeezing money out of their clients that systems are built around their convenience not those they say they serve. No slogans, no matter how many times you repeat them, can resolve customers’ challenges if the systems aren’t in place to do it well.

Unclear Processes / Procedures

This can be connected to training and bad systems, I’ve covered above, but thought of giving it it its own brief mention. Unclear processes and procedures for resolving customer issues cripples not only the person dealing with clients with challenges but your organisation. Sometimes salespeople or customer care consultants are trained to do certain things but get stuck where there is no clarity.

I’m sure you know this every second a frustrated client’s problems aren’t solved is an eternity for them. And, it should feel the same for the service provider. The important thing here is reviewing interactions with customer in resolving problems. Ask your team if there is something new they to deal with, or something they didn’t know that got in the way.

While you can’t do a lot about what has happened, you also have the opportunity to correct forward.

Assumptions And The Silent Protest

Never make the assumption that having few complaints miss you’re doing well. Sometimes customers aren’t happy and frustrated with your horrid service that they protest with their feet. I’ve seen and done thins many times, where I just never return to a business. Not only that, I also tell all my friends, family and colleagues not to go to a particular business or service provider. I call this the Silent Protest–everybody else hears about it besides the service provider. And, before you know it, less people are using their products and services and over time income declines.

Leader, never assume that people are happy with your service and that you’re doing great because they’re silent. Or haven’t complained. Sometimes it is that they have problems but aren’t complaining. And, at other times it is that they are complaining but to someone in your store or all centre who cares very little to bring some things your attention.

Your business is only going to thrive if you take feedback and act on it. Act in the favour of the customer that is.


In the end I’m convinced that you can’t give great customer experience consistently without empathy. Customer care should just be that. If, as a business, are marking your own test, then you’re deceiving yourself. And, it is possible that you might not be as great at service and customer care than you think you are.

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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