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KPI of the Day – Customer Service Performance (CS): % Customer complaints due to poor service or product quality

customer complaints


Measures the percentage of customer complaints registered by the organiza­tion, as a result of poor quality services or products, out of the total num­ber of complaints received.


To assess the level of customer dissatisfaction due to poor quality of services and/or products.


The customer complaints received should be regarded by the organization as an improvement opportunity. Once a complaint has been communicated, the company can gain back the client if it can successfully manage the in­quiry. Complaints can also highlight some of the product or service’s shortcomings, which can be addressed in the future and eliminated.

This indicator allows the organization to compare the improvement of services offered to clients, from one period to another. Having quality assurance standards supports the prevention of dissatisfied clients due to poor quality of services and/or products.

In order for this indicator to be as relevant as possible, it is important to encourage feedback from customers and this information should be gathered in an organized manner. After the feedback is processed, future action steps should be taken in order to solve the complaints, but also to prevent future similar situations with the same customers or with others.

The targets to measure for this KPI depend on what procedures and strategies are in place, not only for delivering the expected quality to the customers but also towards the interaction, communication, and account management towards clients. If the level is higher than 50%, this indicator shows that most customer complaints are due to poor quality of services. When this happens, causes must be analyzed and eliminated through specific strategies.

For a continuous improvement of service and product quality, many organizations use the Plan-Do-Check-Act model, also known as the Deming Cycle. This model involves the following steps:

  • Plan – in this stage the company should identify an opportunity and work out a plan for change;
  • Do – implement the plan for change made in the Planning phase, in small steps;
  • Check – use data analysis to see whether the plan contributes to actual change;
  • Act – if the change is a success, it is implemented on a wider scale.

If you are interested in more Customer Service-related KPIs, subscriptions provide access to +500 KPI examples.

Our dedicated Library contains relevant resources to improve your KPI practices, and if you want to further improve your knowledge, feel free to explore our latest publications – The Sales and Customer Service KPI Dictionary and The Top 25 Customer Service KPIs – 2016 Extended Edition, or enroll in our Certified Customer Service Performance Professional course.

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