5 Steps to Turn Customer Dissatisfaction into a Growth Opportunity

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Your least happy customers might be your most valuable customers—if you get the right data. Hear us out.

If you’re in the customer experience industry, you know customer satisfaction (CSAT) data is one of the most popular KPIs. But you might overlook customer dissatisfaction (DSAT) data.

Digging into unsatisfactory experiences isn’t the most fun exercise, but it pays dividends in the long run. In this article, you’ll learn five steps to turn negative customer experiences into a goldmine of data you can use to elevate your brand and maximize your support agents’ potential.

Let’s get started.

1. Identify and Tag DSAT Tickets in Your CRM

Customer dissatisfaction (DSAT) is derived from CSAT survey responses. Here’s a quick refresher, in case you need it:

Brands send CSAT surveys after customer service interactions. They include one simple question: “On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the support you received today?” 1 means “extremely dissatisfied,” while 5 means “extremely satisfied.”

Any response labeled as 1 or 2 falls into the DSAT category.

If you don’t already, include a free-form text box below your CSAT survey where customers can explain why they gave the score they did. This is crucial for a DSAT analysis (more on this soon).

Once the DSAT tickets are compiled, they can be tagged based on why the customer was dissatisfied. There are three main DSAT categories that often come up: 

Dissatisfaction with Customer Support

This refers to complaints about agent inefficiency, lack of product knowledge, escalation procedures, etc. It also includes frustration with long hold times or having to reach out multiple times to resolve an issue.

Dissatisfaction with the Product or Service

If a customer’s issue stems from a defect, bug, missing/broken part, etc., it falls into this category.

Customers might reflect a bad experience with a product or service in their CSAT response—no matter how friendly or efficient the agent is. These types of issues are rarely under the agent’s control, but they still yield valuable feedback to pass along to other departments, such as the product team.

Dissatisfaction with Company Policies

It’s common for customers to get frustrated with company-wide rules and regulations. This includes return, exchange, and refund policies, hours of operation, or other policies that fall outside the CX department’s control.

2. Conduct Quality Assurance Audits for DSAT Tickets

A round of Quality Assurance (QA) audits adds additional context to DSAT tickets, namely the ones that involve customer support processes.

A QA audit involves reviewing a customer-agent interaction to determine how well the agent performed and adhered to the brand’s standards. Depending on your volume of DSAT tickets, a QA analyst or CX leader can audit every ticket or a sample. The more data you collect, the more accurate your insights will be.

Every QA audit starts with a QA scorecard. This is a rubric based on a company’s values and standards for agent-customer interactions. QA scorecards are a roadmap for agents to sharpen their skills; they provide measurable metrics that impact customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

Here’s an example of what a QA scorecard looks like:

QA scorecard for DSAT analysis

Put simply, DSAT data alone tells you if customers are unhappy. But QA audits tell you why.

3. Perform a Root Cause Analysis

QA audits aren’t the only way to identify the underlying cause(s) of dissatisfied customers. Let’s look at two root cause analysis (RCA) methods that are beneficial for CX teams.

Fishbone Diagram

A fishbone diagram (also called a fishbone analysis) is a visual representation of cause and effect. The problem is listed at the “head of the fish,” and the potential causes are listed on the “bones” of the fish in varying categories or areas.

Fishbone Diagram - CSAT/DSAT Root Cause Analysis

Here’s a brief example in the context of CX:

  • Problem: Multiple customers are complaining about long hold times with agents.
  • Area: Staffing > Cause: Not enough agents to handle call volume during the holiday season.
  • Area: Coaching > Cause: Coaches don’t place enough emphasis on Average Handle Time (AHT) in 1:1 coaching sessions.

The main benefit of the fishbone diagram is that it keeps the focus on the causes of problems rather than symptoms.

5 Whys Technique

As the name implies, the 5 Whys Technique involves asking “Why?” five times when you encounter a problem to discover the root cause. This might sound simplistic, but it can uncover unexpected insights.

Let’s say a customer indicated they were “very unsatisfied” in their CSAT survey. Here’s a 5 Whys sequence that might follow:

  • Why? The customer had to reach out multiple times to resolve an issue
  • Why? The agent didn’t have adequate knowledge about the product/service
  • Why? That specific detail wasn’t covered in the onboarding process
  • Why? The onboarding process hasn’t been audited in 6 months
  • Why? Leadership is stretched too thin

Just like the fishbone diagram, this technique keeps you focused on the essence of the problem instead of surface-level observations.

4. Apply DSAT Insights to Improve Future Experiences

Once you get a firm grasp of the support- and non-support-related issues leading to DSAT, put those key learnings to use. Here are four types of changes CX teams can implement with DSAT data:

Improve Your Agent Onboarding Experience

Get ahead of customer complaints by training new agents on red flags to look out for. Some teams have to learn lessons the hard way first, but documenting those experiences prevents newer agents from running into the same issues down the road.

This can range from product knowledge to specific language that resonates well with your audience.

Inform Customer Service Coaching Sessions

Let’s say through QA audits you discover agents are asking customers for information that’s already available in your CRM, leading to unnecessary customer effort. In this case, you’d tailor coaching sessions to teach agents how to track down past customer conversations in your CRM so they can get that information on their own moving forward.  

The more your coaching sessions are informed by fresh data, the more impactful they are.

Expand Your Internal Knowledge Base (IKB)

DSAT insights don’t do any good sitting around collecting digital dust. This is an opportunity to create or expand a living, breathing resource for agents.

Consider the ride-sharing app Lyft, which struggled to formalize knowledge for its CX teams. For example, agents were unsure what types of vouchers they should offer to customers, which backed up their queue.

MaestroQA helped them implement a knowledge base in tandem with a QA program. The result? Lyft’s senior agents were freed up to focus on the tickets in their queue, reducing their Average Handle Time and improving agent productivity.

Suggest Company-Wide Changes

If DSAT stems from an issue outside the CX team’s control, don’t ignore it. It’s important to share your insights with other departments, especially since CX teams are on the front lines interacting with customers every day.

This includes suggestions for user experience (UX), product design, billing policies, shipping, and more.

5. Track the Impact of Adjustments

Ideally, the data-informed changes you make are reflected in the form of improved CSAT and QA scores—but there’s only one way to find out. Prioritize monthly reports to measure the impact of those adjustments.

Dedicated customer service coaching platforms offer 360-degree insights and even correlated CSAT scores with QA scores, so you get the full story on agent performance.

QA dashboard - MaestroQA

Detractors Provide Valuable Data

Customer dissatisfaction is disheartening for CX leaders to study. As a result, companies often ignore DSAT data. Or they collect it but don’t act on it. But as you can see, digging into DSAT data is an effective way to identify and improve your company’s weakest links. By following the steps above, your DSAT analysis will pave the path for elevated agent performance and happier customers.

Want to start uncovering more actionable CX insights? Request a demo of MaestroQA today.

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