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Comedic Customer Complaints Get More Attention: Study

If you go to a site like Facebook or Yelp to gripe about a product or service, make your rant funny. A study forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that humorous complaints get more attention from other customers. “We like funny people, we like to be entertained, we like people who can see the bright side,” said Peter McGraw, an associate professor and director of the humor research lab at the University of Colorado Boulder. Humor and complaining go hand in hand, McGraw said, because both are triggered by negative experiences. One-star Yelp reviews are more likely to be rated by other users as funny, and funny negative Amazon reviews are more likely to be rated as useful. But humor isn’t the way to go if you want compensation or some other fix for your grievance. “It sends a signal that this situation might not be that serious,” McGraw said. “If I’m joking about it, how bad could it be?” If you want action taken, jettison the jokes.

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--- Martha C. White