What are Your Key Dissatisfiers?

We’ve compiled a list of key dissatisfiers that have a negative impact on user satisfaction. Most IT departments have been guilty of one or many of these dissatisfiers at one time or another. I encourage you to go through the list and see if you are guilty of any of them.

Dissatisfiers are features of the service process that if not met will cause dissatisfaction, but if exceeded will most likely not have any positive impact on satisfaction. They are basic elements that must be in place in order for other features (the satisfiers) to have a positive impact.


  • Standards: A user can’t open a file sent by a client because IT has selected a different standard for this type of program.

  • Restrictions: A user needs to send a large file to an outside organization, but his email only allows 25 Mb attachments.

  • Security: A user cannot connect to a videoconference service due to security measures.


  • Dropping the ball: A user submits a request and never hears back from the help desk again.

  • Assuming the problem is fixed: A technician closes a ticket without asking the user if the solution fixed the problem.

  • Service windows: A user working over the weekend to meet a deadline needs to call the help desk for support, but the hours of operations are from 9 to 5 Eastern time.

  • Arrogant agent: A user calling the help desk gets attitude from the agent when he realizes that it is a user error.

  • Wait time: A user waits on the phone for 10 minutes before talking to an agent.

  • Agent transfer: A user needs to re-explain the situation to a second agent after the call was escalated.


  • Lack of clarity: The process to approve projects is not understood or followed consistently.

  • Paperwork: In order to submit a project, a user needs to fill out 5 pages of information that he doesn’t understand before he can talk to someone.

  • Last minute user involvement: A project manager asks the business units for 5 users to test the system in the following week.  

  • Poor clean-up: A project closes while there are still many outstanding issues.

  • Missing deadlines: A new report was promised for early May, but it wasn’t ready until June.


  • Missing functionalities: A CRM is missing the functionalities to set reminders, forcing users to review their entire task list every day.

  • Slow or unstable performance: A report in an ERP system takes anywhere from 5 second to 3 minutes to run.


  • Intermittent availability: An application is constantly up and down without warnings for server reboots and patches.

  • Poorly timed planned downtime: A software is unavailable during quarter end to make an upgrade.


  • Lack of warnings: IT deploys a new multi-function printer in the department without training.

As you can see, there are countless ways to cause dissatisfaction. Each of these situations will turn a very satisfied user into a very dissatisfied user overnight.

Many IT departments are working hard to improve user satisfaction, but they neglect to fix the irritants that have a negative impact. Although it is sexier to work on governance and strategy, neglecting the basics will make any of these initiatives useless.


  • Each service interaction has a potential to create dissatisfaction.

  • Preventing dissatisfaction is critical to improve user satisfaction.
Posted on October 18, 2013 .