May 11, 2016

How customer rage affects retailers – and how to avoid it


Image: iStock


Not getting the service you expect or having problems with a product you purchased can be frustrating. But does it fill you with rage? For 66 percent of the respondents to the 2015 Customer Rage Study, it does.

The independent study, the seventh edition of the survey since the original was conducted by the White House in 1976, looks at how consumers react when they are unhappy with the service they receive. And retailers should take note of the results – because, according to the survey, $202 billion in revenue is at stake for American businesses.  

The survey further revealed risks to businesses that provide a poor retail customer experience:

  • Since the last rage survey was conducted in 2011, unhappy customers who posted about their problem on a social networking site increased from 19 percent to 30 percent in 2015.

  • Word-of-mouth about product or service problems from dissatisfied complainants is more than double the word-of-mouth communicated by those who were satisfied.

  • 52 percent of respondents said they expressed their displeasure with a problem by vowing never to do business with the company again.

When a customer is unhappy, quick action should be taken to ensure the situation doesn’t get out of control. Common ways to handle an angry shopper include:

  • Train your employees on how to deal with upset customers. Putting themselves in the customers’ shoes and speaking in everyday language instead of scripted responses can make conversations with angry customers go a lot smoother. A well-trained employee can take a bad situation and turn it into a positive experience for the customer.

  • Have clear paths of escalation in place for employees to follow when they have an upset customer. This will allow your employee to quickly determine what steps to take toward a resolution. The quicker the resolution, the less time the customer has to develop rage.

  • Never dismiss any customer feedback. In their mind, their problem is important, and you must treat it as important yourself to defuse the situation and have an opportunity to create a positive outcome.

  • If an employee doesn’t handle an angry customer properly, don’t provide feedback to the employee in front of the customer. Address the issue after the situation has been resolved. Discord among employees distracts everyone from fixing the customer’s problem.

  • Ensure someone with authority is available to remedy the situation. If an upset customer wants to see a manager, they’ll grow even more unhappy if they’re told they can’t.

The many tasks of a busy retail environment can make it hard for a manager or other experienced personnel to be there when customer issues arise. Balance Innovations’ latest white paper offers more insights on improving the customer experience by freeing up store leaders from currency management tasks. Take a look and learn about some other ways better currency management can improve how you interact with your customers.