National Customer Rage Survey: Top 10 Highlights For Service Teams in 2023

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Alana Chinn
Alana Chinn


Is 2023 the new age of customer rage?

national customer rage survey highlights represented by a hand holding a megaphone

According to the latest National Customer Rage Survey, the answer is yes.

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Data shows that customers are experiencing more problems than in years past, and they're not afraid to voice their complaints.

Before we dig into the key takeaways from the survey, let's take a look at what's inside.

Table of Contents

What is the National Customer Rage Survey?

The National Customer Rage Survey is a collaboration between Customer Care Measurement & Consulting (CCMC) and the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

This independent study of 1,000 consumers across the U.S. examines two core areas:

  • Customer rage: The most serious problems that customers face with businesses, where they complain about them, and how they impact the customer experience.
  • Customer incivility: Rude or disrespectful behavior trends from customers, often as a result of customer rage.

The ultimate goal is to provide a set of insights that will help empower business to invest in better customer experiences.

The January 2023 survey highlighted in this article is the tenth edition of this study. Here are the highlights.

Top 10 Highlights For Service Teams

1. 74% of customers have experienced a product or service problem in the past year.

This is the highest percentage since the survey began, and this number has increased by 8% since 2020.

Takeaway: Now is the time to address the steps in your customer journey that are causing the most friction. Start by asking your customers for feedback, and go from there.

2. The most common problems customers face are related to product pricing and performance quality.

These are considered more serious problems, and customers say they're losing both time and money as a result.

Takeaway: Keep track of how many inquiries you're receiving related to your biggest issues. That's where your focus needs to be to prevent churn.

3. 79% of customers will make the time and effort to complain about an issue.

This is true even though the majority of customers also feel that complaining takes too much energy, especially for more serious issues.

Takeaway: Customers are going to complain, but try to soften the frustration. Simplify the process, and give your reps the tools to resolve complaints quickly.

4. The main frustrations that customers face when seeking help are long wait times and unclear contact information.

This ties back into how much effort customers feel it takes to raise an issue with a business. The longer it takes to speak with a rep, the more the rage builds.

Takeaway: Voice AI can be extremely useful for general inquiries, but nobody wants to complain to a robot. Put a process in place to fast track complaints.

5. 46% of Americans have had two or more personal experiences with uncivil customer behavior in the past year.

Uncivil customer behavior includes yelling, arguing, and — in more extreme cases — threats and humiliation.

Takeaway: While there are ways to diffuse an angry customer, your support team still deserves to be treated with respect. Empower your reps to speak up if a situation gets out of hand.

6. 69% of customers want more than just monetary compensation for a complaint.

Respondents cited that they want the interactions to feel authentic, and they want to be treated with compassion and kindness.

Takeaway: Customer incentives are great, but it's clear that empathy is what matters most. Stick to your principles, and advise your reps to take these situations seriously.

7. 50% of customer complaints were made using digital channels including email, chat, and social media.

This has increased from 5% to 50% in the last decade, and phone calls are no longer the primary channel for customer complaints.

Takeaway: HubSpot research has also shown that customers are increasingly using social media DMs for service. Be sure to dedicate resources toward digital.

8. On average, consumers have used social media to share personal experiences about a product 41 times in the past year.

The primary channel is Facebook (57%) followed by Amazon (31%) and Instagram (31%). Facebook is also the top site for consumers who are looking for this information.

Takeaway: Keep a pulse on the sentiment around your products and services on social media, and use that data to make improvements.

9. 63% of businesses are doing a better job of monitoring and responding to social media complaints.

However, many of the consumers who complain via social media say they're only “somewhat satisfied” with the resolution.

Takeaway: Not all problems can be solved on social media. Develop a strategy to escalate complaints as needed so your customers are getting the best support experience possible.

10. 39% of customers were delighted or completely satisfied with the resolution to their issue.

This number is up 7% from 2020. In most cases, the resolution included getting their money back, receiving an apology, or having their product/service fixed.

Takeaway: Business should continue to put an emphasis on customer delight during customer service interactions. Let's keep this trend going.

Customer Rage Doesn’t Have to Be 'All the Rage'

While customer behaviors and preferences vary by industry, there is one thing we all have in common — we want excellent customer experiences.

Talk to your customers about their needs, so you can put your best foot forward in 2023.

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