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Dial 'R' for Rage

April 19, 1999

You call a company to discuss a simple business matter. An automated voice picks up and says, "Your call will be answered by the next available operator." So you wait. And wait. And wait.

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If this scenario gets you a little steamed, you're not alone. In fact, 4 in 10 people grow angrier by the minute when they are kept on hold or caught up in an automated system, according to a recent survey from Prudential on what it calls "phone rage." More than half of the 1,000 people surveyed said they tend to hang up and call back later. Among other survey findings:

*71 percent reported that they almost always listen to too many recordings before reaching a human being.

*A human voice, however, isn't always the answer - 41 percent said they are often transferred to too many people.

*More than one-third said recorded messages are often confusing or not appropriate for the situation.

Source: Prudential Insurance Company of America