Is anger the new black?
by Howard Lee, CEO of Spoken
This week, we all watched Serena Williams screaming at the line judge during her semi-final. News outlets replayed the bleeped-out tirade relentlessly. As a viewer, it was painful to watch. Serena was obviously stressed, hyped-up and feeling the pressure to win but fearing that she might lose. And she just lost it.
Then we have others that are taking things to new levels of just plain rude. What’s going on in Congress? Esteemed senators and congressmen are calling each other liars; both sides are upset about health care. Are we as a country just plain upset at life? Do we live in a culture in which it’s OK to launch into a tirade or call others names simply because we disagree with them?
The culture of anger didn’t go unnoticed by comedians, either. Lewis Black, the angry correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, launched in to a blistering summary of the week’s angry outbursts–and wonders why he also didn’t garner a million dollars in contributions for his own vituperative rants.
Having listened to thousands of calls over the years, I’ve heard plenty of angry customers, and I think these out-of-control outbursts happen more often than we might imagine. The agent on the phone takes the brunt of the customer’s frustration, which isn’t always caused by the company’s policy or product. Some customers are simply having a bad day and feel more comfortable taking that frustration out on a faceless customer service agent than with someone they might be interacting with face to face. Serena did it; Joe Wilson did it; you and I have probably done it, too.
This behavior seems to be becoming so acceptable as to be part of our culture. Do you think we are getting more rude? Or is it just the amplitude of the press and celebrities?