6 Reasons Why Your Customers Do Not Complain

Customer loyalty is critical to the survival of any business. If your customers suddenly find good reasons to start visiting your competitors, maybe it was because they weren’t satisfied with your product, or the type of service they received while with you. None of them ever told you about any problems they were having, they just stopped coming.
If that sounds strange, then consider the following statistics –

96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back
 – 1Financial Training services.

A dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
 – White House Office of Consumer Affairs.

For every customer complaint, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent
 –Lee Resource.

Now that doesn’t seem fair, does it? Why won’t those customers just complain? It would seem logical that a dissatisfied customer should just tell the business what the problem is, rather than just keep quiet, or worse – spread negative word of mouth about their experience. How can a business possibly know what they did wrong if the customer won’t tell them…right? There should be good reasons why your customers do not complain.

I have found out that sometimes the customers really want to complain, but factors which I would be explaining in this post can become hindrances that prevent them from sharing their complaints and getting their voice heard.

Here are 6 reasons why your customers do not complain –

#1. It Requires Too Much Effort

Do you make your customers run a marathon before they can make a simple complaint to you? One of the major reasons why customers don’t complain is a cumbersome complaint process which discourages complaints.

It is easier for the customer to just walk away than fill a 3-page complaint form or download an app in order to make a complaint or share feedback.  To find out if the processes in your business is discouraging complaints, ask these questions;

  • Is there a dedicated complaint channel available? (Telephone, Email etc)
  • Are these channels easy to find? (Are they visible and boldly displayed)
  • Is the complaint process simple? (How many steps does it take to complain)

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to share feedback and complaints with your business. Eliminate any unnecessary processes or actions that would discourage customers from making the effort to complain or share feedback with you. (Read: Is It Easy For Your Customers To Complain?)

#2. Customers Believe There’s No Point

Image: magicclassroom.ca

The customer’s don’t see the point in complaining, why should they bother? It’s not like anything is going to be done about it. The customers can develop this sort of apathy towards your business if they have made the effort to complain or share feedback in the past, and nothing was done about it.

For instance, a customer might complain to a manager about the dull lighting at your front desk, 2 weeks later he visits again, and the dull lighting is still there. Why should he bother telling you about the illegible font on your forms? Or the employee with a bad attitude?

The biggest reward or compliment you can give a customer who complains is to address the necessary issues highlighted. This proves to the customer that taking the time to make the complaint was worthwhile.

#3. Unknown Outcomes

Some customers won’t complain especially when it might indict an employee or get them fired, they are bothered their complaint would make employees perceive them as being troublesome and negative people, or worse get someone fired. In order to avoid this guilt, keeping mute about the issue becomes a much easier option.

A good way to eliminate this hindrance is to make the customer’s identity as discreet as possible, and communicating early on that the feedback or complaint would be used to train employees and improve services.

Get rid of suggestion boxes they simply do not work, make use of review sites like ServiceGuru and Yelp instead. ServiceGuru makes it possible for the customer to rate your business and also your employees, that way you know which employee is contributing positively to the customers’ experience, and those who need further training.  Using this medium helps protect the customer’s identity and makes them feel more comfortable to share unbiased feedback.

#4. Personality

There are a small group of customers who will complain only if they have been pushed to the limits. It’s just their personality, some are timid and do not see any need to express themselves when a business disappoints them. These sort of customers will normally exercise a good deal of self-control, they will often favor avoidance over confrontation.

Reasons Why Your Customers Do Not Complain
Image: get-a-wingman.com

Rather than speak up, these customers would often choose to stay silent because it is a natural inclination.  Sadly, such customers will end up with a competitor sooner or later if the problem isn’t addressed. To reach this sort of customers, you need to get proactive about soliciting their feedback.

#5. You Never Asked

Reasons Why Your Customers Do Not Complain - feedbackYour more reserved customers will be more likely to open up and share feedback with you, only if you ask. Else, they won’t think it’s worth their while to give unsolicited advice. Ask your customers for feedback and encourage them to voice any complaints. This is the best way to get them to share valuable feedback that can help you improve your products, services, and processes.

Encourage employees to solicit feedback from customers & escalate their findings, survey customers or do follow-up calls after they’ve completed a transaction with you. Just make sure you ask them.
Avoid making survey mistakes if you decide to survey your customers, keep your surveys short, and to the point. Customer service expert Jeff Toister recommends asking just 3 questions whenever possible:

  1. How would you rate (product/service/experience)?
  2. Why did you give that rating? (open text response)
  3. May we follow-up with you if we have additional questions?

#6. They Have Made Up Their Minds

Reasons Why Your Customers Do Not ComplainThere are those customers who will not complain, you will never hear from them because they have already made up their minds not to do business with you anymore. They will endure whatever discomfort or pain they have encountered because they know deep down that, ‘it is the last time’ they will have to experience it. All they have to do is ride out the experience, and you’ll never see them again.

They will endure whatever discomfort or pain they have encountered because they know deep down that, ‘it is the last time’ they will have to experience it. All they have to do is ride out the experience, and you’ll never see them again. Luckily you can still make things right with customers who have made such a decision about your business, by following up. Following up with customers after a business transaction sends a strong message that you actually value their opinion, this makes it easy for them to share candid feedback about what they like or what needs improvement.

Following up with customers after a business transaction sends a strong message that you actually value their opinion, this makes it easy for them to share candid feedback about what they like or what needs improvement.


The era where complaints were seen as a distraction that should be minimized is over, most businesses today understand the value of customer feedback and its impact on a brand’s ability to improve its product & service offering.

If you notice that you are not getting complaints, don’t get too comfortable, it might not be a sign that your customers are satisfied, it might be a wake-up call for you to find out if there are any reasons why your customers do not complain.

Published by

Kelechi Okeke

Kelechi Okeke is a Customer Experience Analyst in a leading financial institution in sub-Saharan African. He helps businesses develop strategies that improve customer loyalty and enhance profitability. He is also a customer service trainer, content developer and graphic designer