Customer Service And Forgiveness

In honor of the last day of Customer Service Week I did an analysis that cuts across two recent reports, Temkin Customer Service Ratings and Temkin Forgiveness Ratings. The question I explored is what portion of consumers are dissatisfied with customer service and are not willing to forgive that company. That represents a group of very unhappy consumers. Here’s the data:

TV service providers, ISPs, and health plans have the most of these very unhappy customers, which shouldn’t surprise too many people. Banks, on the other hand, have fewer of these sulking customers, but they have the highest percentage of customers that aren’t satisfied with customer service who aren’t forgiving.

The bottom line: Don’t count on forgiveness to overcome your customer service miscues

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I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

2 thoughts on “Customer Service And Forgiveness”

  1. Bruce, great stats! Thanks so much for sharing. As you show, with an average of 22 to 25 percent of customers across various industries being dissatisfied with customer service, companies need to act on these numbers and start to make improvements. Hopefully, your research will get their attention. If you add up all of these dissatisfied customers in terms of dollars, I’m sure the potential losses to these companies are in the billions. This type of data can hopefully get senior executives to move from thinking about service to doing something about it.
    Richard Shapiro, The Center For Client Retention

  2. Very interesting stats indeed!
    I think it is quite remarkable how (comparatively) forgiving customers are for the retailers. Of those dissatisfied with the service, more than a third is forgiving. I wonder whether this also extends to the retailer’s private label’s products or only to their general service.
    Tim Smits

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