It’s not just you: More U.S. customers than ever before report experiencing product and service problems.
That’s according to the National Customer Rage Survey, a study of 1,000 respondents that has its roots in an official White House review of consumer sentiment dating to 1976.
That year, researchers found 32% of Americans had experienced an issue in the consumer marketplace in the past 12 months.
This time around, the figure has increased to 74%, up from 66% in 2020, the last time the study was run.
A key problem, according to co-author Scott Broetzmann, is that many products and services are just more sophisticated and interconnected these days, thanks in part to technology.
“If the internet goes down, our household grinds to a halt,” said Broetzmann, president and CEO of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting, which conducted the survey online in January in partnership with Arizona State University business school researchers. “These types of products are now woven into everyday life, and they are of a more technical and complex nature.”
Vehicles, for example, have become higher-tech in the past few decades, Broetzmann said, so they’re no longer so easily fixed.
“Computers/internet” and “automobiles” were the two categories with the greatest concentration of complaints, with 14% and 13% of respondents reporting problems there, respectively. The researchers noted that issues were most common in core “lifestyle” products and services — the ones “that are relied upon to get through each day.”