Is that REALLY the tone you want to encourage?

You can tell when I’m on a lecture week at Oxford, because I suddenly have the time to catch up on all the blogging that I intended to do over the past weeks/months!

This is something I stumbled onto when browsing the latest news on LinkedIn Today. Startmate, a startup incubator in Australia, has provided funding for a bunch of companies – in particular, to a company called Chorus. According to TechCrunch:

Chorus lets companies reply to the angriest emails first, decrease risk of bad PR on social networks, and predict future trends and sentiment. The goal: more customer love.

Now, I completely see where they’re coming from… but is that REALLY the kind of customer engagement you want to encourage? Surely, if your customers realise they’re only getting fast responses when they’re angry, they’ll start to only send angry emails. It won’t be long before they start to associate their anger with your customer service.

Having recently dealt with terrible customer service from a “reputable” UK web brand, I have a fairly fresh perspective on this. Admittedly, this is just my own perspective and there’s absolutely no doubt others will act differently. I was quite polite initially, and only got angry when they simply refused to do what I had asked (which was to close my account). It took over 20 minutes for them to get the message, which is why I got angry. If I had known that they would only take me seriously (or would only consider me a priority) when I became angry, I’d simply get there sooner!

I’m sure there’ll be a lot of disagreement over this point – and I’m not a marketing expert – but I think it’s fair to say that you shouldn’t be surprised when your customers hate you purely because they have to in order to get a response from you! I can only imagine how well that would work in a classroom of young children 🙂

I just hope Chorus is intelligent enough to separate polite anger from rudeness.

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