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What the F*ck: How Polite Are U.S. Consumers to Customer Care Professionals? - LivePerson - Blog

What the F*ck: How Polite Are U.S. Consumers to Customer Care Professionals?

Customer service professionals undoubtedly deal with difficult people and situations daily. As they work to help customers solve issues, they might be met with a sincere “thank you” or what could constitute as verbal harassment.

To get to the bottom of how consumers act toward customer care professionals, LivePerson analyzed millions of conversations across more than 500 brands, studying both “hard” and “soft” curse words and phrases and breaking out data points across demographics. Unsurprisingly, customers were better behaved when their names were attached to the exchange and ruder when protected by a mask of anonymity — 76% polite vs. 72% polite, respectively.

Key findings include:

  • “Stupid” is the top soft curse while “sh*t” is the top hard curse used in customer care chats.
  • Men curse 16.5% more frequently than women in their customer care conversations.
  • Consumers in Virginia curse the most during their conversations with customer care agents while Hawaiians curse the least.
  • Consumers in Iowa are most prone to use hard curses while Virginia is top in soft curses.
  • Idaho is ranked as the most polite state, but Alaska is at the bottom of the list as least polite.


What we call “soft curses” are the non-curse expressions — like “shoot,” “shucks,” and “heck” — that often act as polite stand-ins for more inflammatory remarks. “Hard curses” are those that would get your mouth washed out with soap.

See the good, the bad, and the ugly below.  

U.S. Consumers’ Favorite Curses

Overall, soft curse words were used more frequently across the country: “Stupid,” “shoot,” and “goodness” nabbed the top three spots. Things quickly devolved, with “sh*t” and “f*ck” landing at #4 and #5, respectively, for the top hard and soft curses used.

Top 5 soft curses:

  1. Stupid
  2. Shoot
  3. Goodness
  4. Suck
  5. Crap

Top 5 hard curses:

  1. Sh*t
  2. F*ck
  3. Hell
  4. Damn
  5. Ass

“Ps and Qs” across state lines

States that cursed the most were Virginia, New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, and Utah — with Iowa and Washington leading the states in hard curses. Idaho, Ohio, and Nevada followed as the states more likely to use hard curse words. Leading the states in soft curses were Virginia, New Mexico, Alaska, Utah, and North Dakota.

Conversely, the most used polite terms, in order of frequency, were “thank you,” “please,” “no problem,” “appreciate,” and “kindly.” The least polite states were Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, and Iowa.

Idaho was found to be a very expressive state, as it was ranked #3 among the states that would use hard curses the most and #1 as the most polite state. Maine, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin followed as the politest states in the nation.

New Mexico, Iowa, Oregon, Colorado, and Louisiana had a high ration of saying both “please” and “thank you” in their conversations with customer care professionals while South Carolina, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Alabama ran low in this area.

Industry breakdown
Customers interacting with the pharmaceutical, consulting, banking, energy, and financial services landed on the list of most polite. Surprisingly, the least polite customers were interacting with charities, foundations, and nonprofits as well as the telco, transportation, consumer products, and hospitality industries.


Publish Date: July 20, 2017 5:00 AM

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Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.
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UniCloud™ is an intuitive platform that allows Enterprises to deploy and manage their Unified Communication (UC) and Contact Center (CC) services with ease and entire provisioning can be completed in seconds using this comprehensive tool supporting digital transformation. The latest release 7.0 of UniCloud™ is a multi-tenant platform that transforms the delivery, management, and integration of collaboration and contact center solutions, for both Cloud and On-Premise deployment models.
With its single-pane-of-glass views and quick provisioning tool, UniCloud™ is instrumental in reducing the time to provision an entire multi-cluster Cisco collaboration platform, including contact centers (C...
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The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
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