Are You Wasting Your Time on Dissatisfiers?

IT departments commonly invest time and resources in improving functionality, speed and performance in order to improve satisfaction. However, these features, called dissatisfiers, can only lead to dissatisfaction when unmet, but they will never help in improving satisfaction.

Dissatisfiers are the features that create important dissatisfaction in a user. They are critical to the proper use of the service. A critical example of this is software functionalities. A software that lacks the basic functionalities will create massive dissatisfaction with the users not having the tools they require to do their job properly.

But when met, these features will not cause satisfaction. Having more features than necessary is not a source of satisfaction; we can only think of MS Word and its thousands of features that most people never use.


My Internet provider just sent me a letter announcing with great fanfare that they've just upgraded my Internet connection, thus doubling my bandwidth, and all this at no extra cost. They’ve doubled my service level and didn’t even charge me for this. Surely I will be very satisfied, right?

The problem is that Internet speed is not a big deal for me. Correction: speed is critical when I’m trying to watch a movie and it keeps stopping because it hasn’t fully downloaded. In this case, it is a cause of dissatisfaction. But once it has reached a certain threshold, I just don’t care anymore.

My service provider can only dissatisfy me with bandwidth. Bandwidth will never be a way to create satisfaction.


IT departments typically like to focus on features, speed and functionality to provide value to their users. But the problem is that these features tend to be dissatisfiers, which when met, does nothing to improve satisfaction. And they can end up costing a lot.

Astute IT departments will recognize when “good enough” has been achieved for their dissatisfiers and focus on the features that actually improve satisfaction.


  • Recognize which features are satisfiers and dissatisfiers in your services.

  • For dissatisfiers, focus on delivering only the appropriate amount to reduce costs.

Posted on October 18, 2013 .