What Unhappy Customers Want

Companies have tried for decades to improve customer complaint resolution — without notable success. A new approach is needed.

Marc Grainer, Charles H. Noble, Mary Jo Bitner and Scott M. Broetzmann

March 18, 2014

In 1976, the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs sponsored what many consider the first national survey of customer satisfaction in the United States, asking consumers what problems they had experienced with products and services during the past year and profiling the resulting complaining behavior of those customers.1 That study found that the expectations of many customers were not being met. Products people wanted were frequently out of stock, quality was often shoddy, and repairs and customer support were ...

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