Science Now Proves, (United) Customer Service Agents Ruder Than Customers

Well, this is interesting! Inc. reports on research by a group of data scientists and analysts at the Marchex Institute, who found that it’s not us…customer service agents really are ruder than we are.

While 79 percent of customers are polite to customer service agents on calls, a mere 57 percent of customer service agents reciprocate. Yes, you only have slightly more than a 50 percent chance of getting on the phone and finding a nice person on the other end of the line.

The author, Chris Matyszczyk, points out that with the recent United incidents as well as those on other airlines, the customer service agents have become hostile almost immediately. Also, if calls are this bad, in-person interactions could be even worse!

Think about the most recent, in which a professional musician says a United Airlines customer service agent attacked her and tried to wrestle her luggage from her.

Politeness still works though, the same survey found that if you’re polite, you have a 50% better chance of scoring a discount or deal.

  • As a consumer, you increase your chances of getting a deal or discount by almost 50% just by being nice to the agent.
  • Callers are far more polite to agents than the reverse. While 79% of callers are polite, only 57% of agents show the same courtesy.
  • When agents were polite to callers, the average call was more than three minutes longer versus when they used rude or disparaging terms, providing more time for agents to try to sell and close a sale.
  • One Marchex client quantified that sales conversion rates could increase by more than 35% per year if all their agents were polite on calls, resulting in an increase of nearly $400,000 in monthly revenue, or almost $5 million per year.

While being polite to customers may seem like common sense for service representatives, the data shows that agents aren’t actually showing this courtesy in many cases, and ultimately it’s impacting the bottom lines of the businesses they represent,” said Guy Weismantel, Executive Vice President, Marketing, at Marchex. “This further reinforces the importance of properly training customer service teams. And for consumers, it’s a good reminder that in the heat of a frustrating customer service moment, remaining calm is your best bet. Being polite isn’t just about having good manners and more pleasant conversations – it’s also a strategy that, when put into action, can correlate into more lucrative deals for brands and their customers alike.”

Full details and links to the research here.

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