New report: 75% of frontline workers experience customer aggression

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More frontline workers are being affected by customer aggression, more frequently. That's according to a 2023 survey of 2,007 Australian and New Zealand employees, commissioned by Sonder and featured in our brand new report.

It found that three quarters of employees in customer-facing roles experience customer aggression as part of their job, and 25% face it every week or more. An increase from our survey data for the previous year.

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Customer aggression on the rise

This trend is also supported by Sonder customer data, covering the hundreds of thousands of employees to which Sonder provides medical, safety and mental health support.

From 2022 - 2023, Sonder recorded 114% more 'critical incidents' year-on-year. Critical incidents are defined as 'a workplace event that has the potential to cause trauma to team members who have experienced or witnessed the event'.

"We're seeing more incidents in the retail and hospitality space involving the police and emergency services, which indicates a heightened level of danger and potential trauma for the employees involved."

- Casey Doyle, Critical Incident Manager, Sonder

Not only are more of these critical incidents being recorded, their severity is also increasing. Sonder recorded more critical incidents involving a police incident, victim assault or violence or a safety concern in 2023 than 2022. And in 2024, the number looks set to rise further

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The ripple effect on individuals and businesses

The survey also found that 29% of workers who experienced customer aggression didn't receive any support from their employer, and only 24% of respondents were given the opportunity to talk through the incident. Suggesting that some businesses are struggling to cope with this rise in hostility.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, survey respondents in customer-facing roles were more likely to take unplanned days off than those in non-customer facing roles. This indicates the toll customer hostility takes on the individual, and the ripple effect on businesses which can include, absenteeism, psychosocial risk and turnover.

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Download the report on rising customer aggression

Our new report delves further into the full survey data, with statistics and expert commentary from Sonder HQ. It also takes a look at how leading industry bodies and businesses are tackling the issue, with best-practice strategies to reduce the risk and impact of customer aggression and threatening behaviour, including Psychological First Aid (PFA).

Download it now for advice on keeping your people safe and supported.

Source: September 2023, McGregor Tan survey of employees in Australia and New Zealand who were working a minimum of 30 hours per week.

About Sonder

Sonder is an Active Care technology company that helps organisations improve the wellbeing of their people so they perform at their best. Our mobile app provides immediate, 24/7 support from a team of safety, medical, and mental health professionals - plus onsite help for time-sensitive scenarios. Accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), our platform gives leaders the insights they need to act on tomorrow's wellbeing challenges today.

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