I'm trying to understand the below sentence, "Which sectors does he say have most problems when it comes to keeping the complaining customer satisfied?"

Especially, "keeping the complaining customer satisfied" makes me too confused. How to separate this sentence for understanding? it baffles me because keeping something means that something is going on continously. but it doesn't make sense. Could you help me how to understand this ?


I found that the script from http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english/ep-191003

  • 'the sentence below' (not: the below sentence) Nov 14, 2019 at 4:42

2 Answers 2


“Keeping the complaining customer satisfied” refers to a process whereby things are continually done, or effort is made in some way, to make sure the customer is satisfied.

To me the statement sounds a bit odd, as the customer is already said to be dissatisfied (complaining), though they are likely referring to customers who are prone to complaining, and it’s just an easy way of saying that.


You should understand that quite a large percentage of the American public cannot write well. Writing well is far more difficult than conversing well because, in conversation, tone of voice, emphasis, hand gestures, and opportunities for questions facilitate mutual understanding.

Obviously, the sentence as written is nonsense: a complaining customer is not a customer who has been kept satisfied. It does not mean that the writer is an idiot; it merely mean that the writer has no clue how to write competently.

The intended meaning might be

Which sectors have the highest rates of complaining customers?


Which sectors have the lowest rate of resolving complaints to the complaining customer's satisfaction?

Both are meaningful questions, but they are quite different questions.

It is also possible that the writer may have intended a compound thought such as

Which sectors have a high rate of complaints and a low rate of resolving those complaints to the complaining customer's satisfaction?

When you question such writers, they say "But you knew what I meant" on the grounds that you should be clairvoyant and that they do not need to make their meaning clear.

  • Thanks for letting me know it. Yes. Actually, I not sure whether this is great or not for self educating. in so many time, I learned with this BBC 6min English program material for self studying(listening) . but nowadays i have a doubtful this way.
    – Carter
    Nov 19, 2019 at 6:56
  • My feeling is that self-education, even assisted by very good computerized aid, is unlikely to achieve high proficiency. Of course, some proficiency may be better than none. I suspect that, at least for decades to come, results will be better if computer-based instruction is supplemented with human instruction. Even a relatively small degree of human interaction may lead to significant gains in proficiency achieved. Nov 19, 2019 at 13:03

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