Highlights From 2015 National Customer Rage Study


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Customer Care Measurement & Consulting (CCMC) recently released it’s 2015 National Customer Rage Study.

The study was conducted in partnership with the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University and Dialogue Direct. It sought to identify key issues around consumer complaints.

In short: what pisses customers off?

This post shares a few key highlights from the study. You can also learn more by visiting this resource page on CCMC’s website.

Wasting Customers’ Time

Participants were asked the types of damages they suffered when they experienced a problem. Overwhelmingly, customers felt they were losing time:

  • 60% – Time
  • 43% – Money
  • 6% – Physical Injury

Even worse, the study found that 63 percent of complainants felt they got nothing when they complained.

Companies might worry that customers are becoming too greedy. It turns out that what customers really want is surprisingly cheap.

What Customers Want

Here are the top five remedies that customers wanted for the problems they experienced:

  • 93% – To be treated with dignity
  • 83% – Offending company put itself in my shoes (i.e. empathy)
  • 81% – An assurance that my problem would not be repeated
  • 80% – My product repaired/service fixed
  • 80% – An explanation of why the problem occurred

None of these remedies represent an undue cost to the company. In fact, you had to go all the way down to #10 on the list (“My money back” – 57%) to find a desired remedy that cost the company revenue.

Smart companies understand that the key to service is avoiding broken promises and attending to their customers’ emotional needs.

Annoying Phrases

So far, these results tell me that customers want to be treated like humans. They want authentic service, not scripted robo-speak.

The study asked participants to identify common catchphrases that they felt were annoying. Here are the top five:

  • 50% – Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.
  • 45% – That’s our policy.
  • 45% – We are currently assisting other customers. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.
  • 45% – Can I get your account information again?
  • 42% – Please give me top scores on all the questions in the after call survey.

You can see a common theme. These phrases all prioritize the company’s needs over the customers. They also sound inauthentic.

Get Better Results

Knowing this information is only half the battle. Now you need to do something with it. Here are a few suggestions:

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Here’s another suggestion. Pay attention to all the emotional considerations of customer experience, including the ones that underpin rational and functional components of value, such as time, safety, completeness and money. Poor handling and resolution of problems (and failure to address unexpressed problems) and annoying phrases also drive negative emotion, hence negative memory, hence negative downstream behavior. Fortunately, an increasing number of organizations are coming to recognize the importance of measuring the emotional impact of experience, of which rage is an extreme .

  2. Hi Michael. Emotions clearly driver customer perceptions. In this study, four of the top five things that customers said they wanted were all emotionally driven. (Fix the product/service was #4.)


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