Rage Against Customer Service Reps Is on the Increase

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If you’ve ever yelled at a customer service representative when reporting a problem with a product or service, you’re not the only one.

A customer “rage” survey designed by Customer Care Measurement and Consulting and the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University showed that 68 percent of U.S. households experienced “customer rage” this year — up 8 percentage points since 2011.

“We’re yelling and cursing at customer service representatives more when dealing with the worst problems, with yelling up from 25 percent in previous rage studies to 36 percent now, and cursing up from 7 to 13 percent,” a press release about the survey says.

So, what is it that makes consumers so angry? Here are a few notable statistics from the survey:

  • The product most often responsible for enraging people is cable or satellite TV.
  • 50 percent of consumers reported problems this year, up from 45 percent in 2011.
  • 56 percent of complainants received no remedy for their troubles, up 9 percentage points from 2011.
  • Customer satisfaction doubled from 37 to 74 percent when customers were given free remedies, such as an apology, along with a financial remedy.

It also said:

Despite the rise of the Internet, people are still 11 times more likely to complain via phone than Web.

However, customer-complaint posting on social-networking sites, such as Facebook, has nearly doubled from 19 to 35 percent since 2011.

Companies are spending a lot of money on customer care, but they’re obviously doing something wrong. And that’s costing them customer loyalty and money. “If the customer was satisfied or at least pacified, he or she only told an average of 10 to 16 people about the problem, but if customers were left dissatisfied, they told an average of about 28 people,” the press release said.

But is this totally the fault of companies? You also have to wonder if customers themselves are more likely to become rude.

Have you had an unpleasant experience with customer service this year? Were you polite or did you start yelling? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • roadnomad

    after being in customer service for over 30 years,i have a perspective from both sides,the customer has every right to be rude ,most often that’s what it takes to get their attention,rarely, can you resolve an issue with the lower level of customer service,it requires a supervisor or many times manager or above,the inference that being rude is not accepted is demeaning to the consumer,it is commonplace for the company to blame the consumer for their shortcomings,,if the companies neglect customer service they will struggle to survive,ie.Sprint of the early 2000’s,hopefully,this is a new revolution that will bring back the lost art of customer service.

  • Cathy

    When I call about a problem, I’m not rude to the rep. I ask for what I want. If I don’t get it, I escalate the call and ask for the rep’s supervisor. Please and thank you go a long way when you’re asking someone to do something for you. If all else fails and I don’t receive customer satisfaction, I take my rant to social media and bust the company’s chops there.

  • Johns.Opinion

    I never would be rude to a CSR or clerks in the past. But over the years I have seen corporations give the crazies what they want. So why be nice, if you are nice they say NO, if you act like a nut, they say YES. GO NUTS, get your way. Who’s fault is is now. It’s the corporations fault for giving the nuts what the asked for.

  • Jim Wiggins

    I have to agree with you. I have already tried to solve the problem via the web…let me talk to a person in one easy step. My second biggest complaint is the huge variability in the service given. I call Cigna, my HSA manager, 6 or more times a year, always with the SAME PROBLEM because they are so screwed-up. Some reps can solve the problem in seconds…others take 15 minutes and then tell me they can’t help me.