Podcast: Revenge of the Customer Service Rep
Skip to content
Organizations Leadership Social Impact Mar 7, 2019

Podcast: Revenge of the Customer Service Rep

Why employees sabotage customers, and what companies can do about it.

a customer service representative ends a call.

Michael Meier

Based on the research of

Yu-Shan (Sandy) Huang

Rebecca L. Greenbaum

Julena M. Bonner

Cynthia S. Wang

Listening: Revenge of the Customer Service Rep
download
0:00 Skip back button Play Skip forward button 9:27

Employees in all kinds of industries have to deal with unpleasant customers.

Add Insight
to your inbox.

Waiters get mistreated. Call center operators get screamed at. Salespeople have to smile at difficult clients. But why do those tense moments sometimes escalate to sabotage?

On this episode of the Kellogg Insight podcast, Cynthia Wang, clinical professor of management and organizations at Kellogg, shares what she discovered—and what companies can do about it.

The good news? There’s a way companies can help keep their employees from turning on their customers.

Note: The Kellogg Insight podcast is produced for the ear, and not meant to be read as a transcript. We encourage you to listen to the audio version above. However, a transcript of this episode is available here.

Featured Faculty

Clinical Professor of Management & Organizations; Executive Director of Kellogg's Dispute Resolution and Research Center

About the Research
Huang, Yu-Shan (Sandy), Rebecca L. Greenbaum, Julena M. Bonner, and Cynthia S. Wang. 2018. “Why Sabotage Customers Who Mistreat You? Activated Hostility and Subsequent Devaluation of Targets as a Moral Disengagement Mechanism.” Journal of Applied Psychology.
Most Popular This Week
  1. How Much Do Boycotts Affect a Company’s Bottom Line?
    There’s often an opposing camp pushing for a “buycott” to support the company. New research shows which group has more sway.
    grocery store aisle where two groups of people protest. One group is boycotting, while the other is buycotting
  2. 5 Takeaways on the State of ESG Investing
    ESG investing is hot. But what does it actually deliver for society and for shareholders?
    watering can pouring over windmills
  3. Could Bringing Your "Whole Self" to Work Curb Unethical Behavior?
    Organizations would be wise to help employees avoid compartmentalizing their personal and professional identities.
    A star employee brings her whole self to work.
  4. When Do Open Borders Make Economic Sense?
    A new study provides a window into the logic behind various immigration policies.
    How immigration affects the economy depends on taxation and worker skills.
  5. Which Form of Government Is Best?
    Democracies may not outlast dictatorships, but they adapt better.
    Is democracy the best form of government?
  6. How Has Marketing Changed over the Past Half-Century?
    Phil Kotler’s groundbreaking textbook came out 55 years ago. Sixteen editions later, he and coauthor Alexander Chernev discuss how big data, social media, and purpose-driven branding are moving the field forward.
    people in 1967 and 2022 react to advertising
  7. What Happens to Worker Productivity after a Minimum Wage Increase?
    A pay raise boosts productivity for some—but the impact on the bottom line is more complicated.
    employees unload pallets from a truck using hand carts
  8. Why Do Some People Succeed after Failing, While Others Continue to Flounder?
    A new study dispels some of the mystery behind success after failure.
    Scientists build a staircase from paper
  9. What Went Wrong at AIG?
    Unpacking the insurance giant's collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.
    What went wrong during the AIG financial crisis?
  10. Why Well-Meaning NGOs Sometimes Do More Harm than Good
    Studies of aid groups in Ghana and Uganda show why it’s so important to coordinate with local governments and institutions.
    To succeed, foreign aid and health programs need buy-in and coordination with local partners.
  11. 3 Tips for Reinventing Your Career After a Layoff
    It’s crucial to reassess what you want to be doing instead of jumping at the first opportunity.
    woman standing confidently
  12. How Are Black–White Biracial People Perceived in Terms of Race?
    Understanding the answer—and why black and white Americans may percieve biracial people differently—is increasingly important in a multiracial society.
    How are biracial people perceived in terms of race
  13. Podcast: Does Your Life Reflect What You Value?
    On this episode of The Insightful Leader, a former CEO explains how to organize your life around what really matters—instead of trying to do it all.
  14. Immigrants to the U.S. Create More Jobs than They Take
    A new study finds that immigrants are far more likely to found companies—both large and small—than native-born Americans.
    Immigrant CEO welcomes new hires
  15. In a World of Widespread Video Sharing, What’s Real and What’s Not?
    A discussion with a video-authentication expert on what it takes to unearth “deepfakes.”
    A detective pulls back his computer screen to reveal code behind the video image.
  16. College Campuses Are Becoming More Diverse. But How Much Do Students from Different Backgrounds Actually Interact?
    Increasing diversity has been a key goal, “but far less attention is paid to what happens after we get people in the door.”
    College quad with students walking away from the center
More in Organizations