The Rage Trend Continues

Are your reputation management efforts taking heightened emotional states into account?

There’s been a running theme in conversations with clients over the past couple of years — people out there are angry! “Hey, thanks for the keen observation, I hadn’t noticed!”, you may say with quite a bit of (well deserved) sarcasm. Okay, so we all know, it’s not exactly a genius-level thought.

Let me ask you a question though…have you adapted to the rage trend, or are you still just talking about it around the water cooler?

Increased awareness as crisis prevention

Successful organizations adapt to the world around them, and with a general public that’s more aggressive in sharing negative opinions, and FAR more able to engage in that sharing thanks to the epic double-edged sword we call the internet, it seems to me that it’s time we all accept this trend isn’t going to reverse any time soon. Particularly given we’re fast approaching a an election cycle that’s all-but-guaranteed to become a knock-down, drag-out battle from both sides that will result in a volatile aftermath.

If you know, for a fact, that more people are approaching your organization with a general lack of patience, loads of pent-up anger, and a quick trigger finger when it comes to spreading the bad word (true or not!) about any interaction, then countermeasures are in order. What this looks like will vary a bit for each individual organization, but here are some questions to get you on the right path:

  • Have you given your frontline employees proper training on coping with customers or clients who start out the conversation already seeing red?
  • Are you making sure these same employees aren’t feeling the rage creep themselves, possibly forgetting best practices when representing your brand?
  • Are you actively watching to see what people are saying about you online?
  • Are you reviewing those results regularly with your customer service and management teams to spot trends and identify what your customer’s pain points are when it comes to interacting with your brand?
  • Have you considered actually asking customers directly what you can do to make their lives easier?

Getting proactive with crisis management for the rage trend

You can probably spot the theme here. You can’t magically make someone’s irritation level decline, but you can be aware that a huge percentage of people out there are approaching with negative emotions already swirling, and you can aggressively seek out the repeating circumstances that lead to things like six-page Yelp reviews, Facebook groups whose main daily activity is to elaborate on how badly you suck, constant submissions to local news media covering consumer interest stories, and the like. As with any crisis management it does take a bit of extra time and energy to get this right. That said, I can virtually guarantee you’ll find the improvements worth the investment.

Erik Bernstein
erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com