No one enjoys having prolonged chats with customer service reps to get a problem fixed, but some of us tend to be more polite and patient with the folks on the other end. Of course, there are also people who unleash their frustrations in a flurry of expletives at the reps the moment they feel wronged and thanks to a new analysis of millions of chats people have had with customer service pros, we know exactly how polite and swear-happy people are in every state.
No spoilers, but damn, Virginia.
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The data was compiled by the company LivePerson, which provides live customer chat and messaging services for nearly 20,000 companies, including biggies like Home Depot, IBM, and Citibank. To figure how peoples' behaviors differ across the country, it analyzed conversations from 500 brands and weighed frequency of both curse words and words associated with politeness, factoring in demographics like location and gender. Overall, the findings suggest that people are more likely to be polite when their name was attached to a chat exchange, and men are 16.5% more likely to curse during a customer service interaction than women. C'mon, guys.
When it comes to states with the most swear-happy residents, Virginia takes the cake by a significant margin, followed by New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, and Utah.
Here's the full breakdown (including Washington, DC), from most curse-prone to least:
51. Hawaii 50. Louisiana 49. Minnesota 48. Mississippi 47. South Carolina 46. Vermont 45. New Hampshire 44. Arkansas 43. Colorado 42. Delaware 41. North Carolina 40. Florida 39. Oregon 38. Missouri 37. Alabama 36. New Jersey 35. Nebraska 34. Maine 33. Georgia 32. Nevada 31. Tennesee 30. Arizona 29. New York 28. Kansas 27. Oklahoma 26. Kentucky 25. Texas 24. Connecticut 23. Pennsylvania 22. California 21. Massachusetts 20. Montana 19. Illinois 18. Ohio 17. Maryland 16. Michigan 15. Rhode Island 14. South Dakota 13. West Virginia 12. Indiana 11. Wyoming 10. Wisconsin 9. Washington, D.C. 8. Idaho 7. North Dakota 6. Washington 5. Utah 4. Iowa 3. Alaska 2. New Mexico 1. Virginia
In terms of the specific language tracked, LivePerson divided swear words into both "hard" and "soft" categories, which altogether spanned everything from f*ck, sh*t, and b*tch to mofo, poop, arse, and sheesh. The top five "hard" swears include were f*ck, sh*t, hell, damn, and ass, while the top five on the "soft" side were stupid, shoot, goodness, suck, and crap.
To determine the most polite states, they took into account the frequency of the terms please, thank, lovely, appreciate, kindly, pardon, and no problem. In several cases, a particularly sweary state turned out to also be one of the most polite (looking at you, Idaho). Here's how the rankings fall, from most polite to least:
51: Alaska 50: Wyoming 49. South Dakota 48. Colorado 47. Iowa 46. Hawaii 45. Oregon 44. New Mexico 43. Arizona 42. Nebraska 41. Minnesota 40. Utah 39. Missouri 38. Kansas 37. Mississippi 36. Arkansas 35. Nevada 34. North Carolina 33. New Jersey 32. Washington 31. Florida 30. Delaware 29. South Carolina 28. Texas 27. Tennessee 26. Montana 25. Virginia 24. New York 23. Georgia 22. Rhode Island 21. Washington, D.C. 20. California 19. Maryland 18. Ohio 17. Illinois 16. Oklahoma 15. Michigan 14. Kentucky 13. Connecticut 12. Massachusetts 11. Indiana 10. Pennsylvania 9. Alabama 8. West Virginia 7. New Hampshire 6. Louisiana 5. Wisconsin 4. Vermont 3. North Dakota 2. Maine 1. Idaho
Besides ranking states by their vocabulary, the analysis also looked at how customers behaved based on the type of company they were dealing with. For instance, people were most polite when interacting with service pros in the pharmaceutical, consulting, banking, energy, and financial services industries. Conversely, it found industries you might expect to encounter more friendly people -- charities, foundations, and nonprofits -- had the least polite customers.
So next time you're tempted to rip the head off of whatever poor soul is tasked with helping you with your problem, just remember: somebody's watching.
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