The Impact of Customer Rage on Crisis Management

Sections of this topic

    Is poor customer service creating unnecessary crises for your organization?

    Customer anger affects business today to such a degree that there are studies focused entirely on the subject. The 2013 National Customer Rage Study aimed to determine what causes rage in customers, how to best mitigate it, and which systems could help to minimize its impact.

    The study found plenty of reason to make providing quality customer service an integral part of your crisis management efforts, including that:

    – Since 2011 the number of people who have gone online to post information about problems with an organization has nearly doubled.

    – Overall customer rage has increased 8% since 2011.

    – MOST complaintants are dissatisfied with how companies are handling their complaints.

    – 56% of complaintants felt they got NOTHING as a result of complaining.
    – 76% of these just wanted an apology, only 32% got one

    – Automated response phone systems, understaffing of customer care agents, and lack of empowerment for agents to make necessary changes are all major factors contributing to customer rage.

    – When companies added non-monetary remedies (most often a simple apology) to the monetary relief they provided customers, complaintant satisfaction DOUBLED.

    – Word of mouth resulting from dissatisfied complaintants is nearly three times higher than the word of mouth communicated by those who were satisfied.

    – Posting information on the web about customer problems has almost doubled since 2011.

    As you can see, a huge percentage of customers are left unhappy not necessarily because they encountered issues with a brand, but because of how the issues were handled. In fact, the study shows that MOST complaintants are dissatisfied with how their problems are being handled, and, even with the technology at our disposal, complaintant satisfaction is no higher than it was back in the 1970’s.

    To us the item that stood out the most were the figures regarding apologies. The fact that with figures like a literal DOUBLING in satisfaction as a result of adding an apology to any monetary recompense, as well as seeing a huge majority of complaintants walking away unsatisfied with customer service because they weren’t even offered a simple, “We’re sorry”, means many organizations out there are just not putting in the work they need to keep customer-related crises at bay.

    The rest of the survey contains many more as eye-opening findings and figures. Take a look, and make customer service an asset, rather than a detriment, to your organization’s crisis management.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]