This article explores the determinants of public satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with health and education services in Africa. Among prospective explanations, we consider the users’ poverty, their general perceptions of service accessibility, and their specific experiences with service providers. We find that “user-friendliness” of services is essential, especially to poorer clients. But daily encounters – including with substandard teaching and the costs of clinic fees – tend to depress public approval, not only of services, but also of democracy. Finally, corruption has unexpectedly mixed effects: perceptions of that officials are corrupt decreases citizen satisfaction; but the act of paying a bribe increases it.