Rude Service Reps Anger Consumers. What Qualities Calm Them?

November 18, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Customer Service & Experience

Five9-Service-Rep-Qualities-to-Calm-Irate-Customers-Nov2013When consumers have an urgent customer service need, 7 in 10 will pick up the phone and call the company for help, says Five9, citing results from its recent “2013 Contact Center Report” [download page]. At that point, the representative’s actions can have a significant influence on the customer: a majority of respondents said that a rude representative will make them extremely frustrated. But while many consumers will “retaliate” when their problems can’t be resolved, the vast majority said they would be more forgiving if representatives could display at least one of the following attributes.

It stands to reason that a respectful (74%) and knowledgeable (69%) representative can calm angry consumers’ nerves, given that research has shown that customers get frustrated not only by rude representatives, but also by unknowledgeable ones. Beyond those, most respondents said they’d be soothed by friendly (57%) and patient (53%) representatives, with sympathetic (49%) ones also doing the trick for some.

Why is that important? According to a recent study from Accenture, 51% of Americans switched service providers in the past year due to a poor service experience. So for all that marketers can do in driving demand for products and services, customers’ service touch points can also have a big role in brand loyalty. And with much of the focus on how customers react to bad service experiences, it’s somewhat comforting to know that a couple of simple (though not necessarily easy) qualities can ease most customers’ anger.

About the Data: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Five9 between September 25”“27, 2013 among 3,014 US adults age 18 or older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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