Customer “Bug List”

The Customer “Bug” List is a simple list of things that “bug” your Customers about your service and your business. It gives you a sense of where your problems and opportunities are. By prioritizing the items on the Bug List according to Customer impact and contribution to Customer value, you can determine which improvements to work on first.


  1. Identify a list of “reasonable Customer expectations” for the transaction, process, or Customer engagement with you. Include three columns: “Customer Expectations” – what would normally be expected (or better, what would be expected in an excellent experience), “As Is Now” – what is the actual state of reality at the current time,  and “Should Be” – what do we want this to look like in an ideal state? Download a Word file you can work in here.
  2. Either in a Team or individually, brainstorm a list of complaints, unfavorable Customer comments you have heard, and personal observations where Customers appear to be less than fully satisfied with your service. If you have any Customer research, include these findings.
  3. Prioritize the list according to (a) Customer impact, and (b) Customer value

Hints and Cautions

  • Don’t ignore or overlook Customer complaints! They are a most valuable gift to you. Accept this unfavorable feedback and learn from it — this is your path to meaningful improvement.
  • Be careful not to substitute your personal judgment for your Customers’ feelings, they could be quite different. Just because you think something is OK does not mean your Customers agree with your assessment.
  • It’s OK to include internal Customers as well as External (Final) Customers in your master list.
  • Keep the list current. Add new items as soon as you hear them. Create a “Solved” list to monitor to be sure the issue is properly resolved.
  • Include both quantifiable “objective” items and emotional “subjective” feelings — both are important to your Customers.


  • This tool works well when you want to get people to start thinking about Customer value and help them see service quality in concrete, specific terms.