Can You Guess the Happy Customer/Angry Customer Equation?


Time flies. It’s a couple of decades ago now that while I was consulting with Apple Computer I absorbed that culture’s belief that an angry customer tells 20 people while a happy customer tells three.

I’m certain those numbers are no longer valid. Technology changed them.

Today, it’s like this: happy customers tell a few people, and angry customers tell the whole world.

It gets worse. Happy customers tell a few people, and one in a thousand posts up some praise, which nobody believes because it reads like selling. But 6 of 10 angry customers post up complaints, and everybody believes complaints.

So you tell me: what’s the business lesson here?



  • John says:

    Great Post Tim – Never before has it been more important to consistantly provide excellent customer service for this exact reason.
    For me, it is all about managing the customer experience in the first place and having systems in place to reduce the problems.

  • Robert Johnson says:

    Good post Tim!

    The lesson is clearly that exceptional customer support is key. I learned this lesson early on with my last company, and we grew it to be one of the largest providers in our vertical market based, in large part, on having the best customer support in the business.

    I took those lessons (and a lot of my team as well!) and started to change how B2B companies provide customer support. We’ve focused on letting teams work together to resolve customer issues, and our results have shown time after time that this is a great approach.


  • Clint Wilson says:

    Very key points Tim and what we have experienced is that the speed of support resolution is critical or at least to have an answer to a question or the 6/10 customers turn out some pretty negative feedback for sure.


  • Tom Schopp says:

    How true…..How true.

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