Do angry shoppers make happier customers?
“Anger is an Energy,” John Lydon, Public Image Ltd (PiL)
A new university study finds that consumers who are angry when they are shopping are often more satisfied with their choices than those who were fearful, sad or feeling neutral. Anger was found to help shoppers become more focused on making goal-oriented choices.
Researchers at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Miami Business School followed up on past research showing angry people feel more certain and in control of their decisions and explored whether this led to them actually make choices more consistent with their goals.
Six studies were conducted. Half of the participants were encouraged to feel angry by being shown pictures of angry faces and being asked to write about a time they, themselves, felt that way. Other participants were similarly primed to feel fearful or sad, while others were kept neutral.
Anger-primed participants were found to be less likely to delay making a choice, less likely to compromise and more satisfied with their choices than those who were fearful, sad or feeling neutral. Michal Maimaran, clinical associate professor of marketing at Kellogg School of Management, said in a statement, “When given multiple options, consumers often get bogged down in making trade-offs, ultimately compromising their original goals.”
For companies, one suggestion based on the findings was that if employees are distracted by negative developments, such as salary freezes or layoffs, redirecting their anger toward external factors — such as the economy or a decrease in product demand — may help the staff focus on goals.
As a marketing tool, anger can be used to guide certain behaviors. Political campaigns often tap anger to encourage people to vote for their candidate.
Consumer brands would have to use anger “in a subtle, smart way” to avoid any backlash, according to researchers.
“You don’t want consumers becoming angry with your product or company,” said Ms. Maimaran. “You cannot use it as a blanket emotional target. We just show that in certain circumstances, anger can have beneficial results.”
- How Anger Can Help Us Make Better Decisions — Kellogg School of Management
- Do ‘mad’ shoppers make happier customers? Yes, says local study — WCVB
- We may make better consumer choices when we’re angry — MarketWatch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does it make sense that consumers make better choices when they’re mad? Can and should anger be used as a marketing tool to influence behaviors or as an employee motivation tool?