Road rage, school rage, and customer rage are becoming almost everyday occurrences. Customer rage is an intense anger coupled with expressions of physical, verbal, or other potentially harmful behaviors in response to a dissatisfying service experience. It can potentially result in severe negative consequences for firms, employees, and even other valued customers. Fortune 500 firms are so concerned about this problem that some are installing new software in their call centers to detect rising levels of anger in customers' voices so that management may intervene to prevent an incident escalating to rage. Furthermore, the Entrepreneur magazine noted that Americans are getting angrier every year. This article examines the underlying psychological processes of stress and coping that propel some consumers to experience extreme negative emotions, including rage and, finally, resentment. It explores the triggers (antecedent conditions) that give rise to rage behaviors; identifies the tipping points for extreme anger and rage incidents; and explores the extent to which these circumstances and coping behaviors can be generalized across Eastern and Western cultures. It also recommends a course of action to enable managers to prevent or, at least, better manage customer rage.
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