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As we mentioned in Part 1, Customer Relationship Metrics has been collecting customer data and comments for more than sixteen years.   When we decided to step away from analysis about what customers are saying and consider why they are saying what they are saying, we uncovered new reasons for customer behaviors.  We previously took a look at the “Happy Customer,” so it seems only natural to flip the coin and take a look at the “Not-so-happy-customer, the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore Customer”, in short “The Angry Customer.”  So angry, they have their minds set on ruining your reputation.

While yesterday’s “Knuggets and Knuckleheads” gave us a good laugh, these customer comments also gave us good reason to focus on “the why” VS. “the what” of an “Angry Customer”.   In a previous blog, we talked about “the what” and what happens when a customer has a bad experience with your organization .  As we take a look at “the why,” we get more of an understanding of the customer’s behavior.

We have all suspected that satisfaction in one life role may be transferred into other life roles, like an agent taking a bad mood out on a customer and a customer taking things out on an agent.  The expression of frustration or dissatisfaction with a product/service may actually be exacerbated by the consumer feeling frustrated in other life roles and not only the consumer role.  Just as agents must manage the delivery of service, so must they detect and manage various issues for the caller – all with the company’s best interest at the forefront.

How do the co-dependent roles affect the customer experience?  Consider that self-perceptions bias judgments such that consumers (or agents) often see themselves more positively and their role to be more valuable, important, or influential than is actually the case.  They will see themselves as being one of the best and a very important customer (or employee) to your business and view the experience from that vantage point.  The self-serving bias allows people to take responsibility for their successes, but to usually blame others for their failures.  Therefore, if a customer buys an expensive car, it is seen as a success, but if the car does not work, no matter what they did to influence it, it will be due to other’s actions (the mechanic didn’t help, the car was a lemon, etc.).  Similarly, agents will have a tendency to  blame the customer for the failed service delivery.

This is an important concept for customer interactions because research has shown that blaming others for product dissatisfaction permits one to direct anger outward, toward the company, rather than to oneself.   And, this is important for your agents because accountability is obviously critical to the process of development.

In Part 3 of this 4-Part Series, we’ll take a look at the over-zealous customer.  How much of a good thing is too much?  We’ll explore why happy customers feel the need to take it one step further.

About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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