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Claire Savage

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The Couch?! Hanging on the telephone


Headset Now the Couch?! team don’t mean to seem a bunch of old fuddy-duddies, but we’ve always appreciated good manners. A please and a thank you never goes amiss, and by all means please do hold the door open for us…

So you can imagine our concern when we learnt of a new phenomenon this week -“phone rage”. Brought on by the bad manners of the person on the other end of the line, according to a poll by conference call company Powowow, the symptoms include hanging up or issuing verbal abuse to the offender.

The survey found that poor telephone manners are now such a wide-spread stressor that nearly two-thirds of us have lost it after suffering abuses such as the other person eating or burping while on the line.

The top cause of phone rage was having a call interrupted in order that the other participant might speak to someone else in the room. Eating whilst on the phone, long silences and an obvious lack of concentration shown by hearing typing at the other end, were the next three most common causes of “phone rage”.

While interrupting a call to answer a quick query may not seem the greatest phone crime, the Couch?! team were appalled to hear that some offenders even choose to conduct calls while using the lavatory! The Couch?! team are getting hot under the collar just thinking about it… Knowing that sharing is an important part of diffusing stress, the Couch?! would love to hear your tales of telephone bad manners, simply click on add comments below.

To get you started we’ve listed a few of the most common misdemeanours:
* Being made to feel like office entertainment by pointlessly being put on loudspeaker (yes we can always tell).
* Feeling like a parrot by having to repeat things.
* Being temporarily deafened by unnecessary shouting down the line (why do some people think that they need to help the technology by speaking as loudly as possible?)
* Call sorting systems – why is it so impossible to get through to a human being?
* Looped hold music, only “enhanced” with the electronic voice that keeps interupting the rendition of Greensleeves to inform you how valued your call is.

2 Responses

  1. voice mail maze
    I’m definitely not a fan of the voice-mail maze of options before you get to speak with a human – especially when there is a lingering or serious issue at hand.

    However, Indian call centre operatives have a dampening effect on any potential ‘rage’ for me …. I might be talking with one of my relatives! :*)

    Seriously, it can be a horrid role to take the blunt end of someone’s tongue. However, I believe training should be geared to separating role (ie listening to an irate customer) from personal esteem issues.

    Mild annoyance can be exacerbated to something a little more serious, when an operator insists on taking annoyance with the system personally.

    Something for internal training?

    Cheers Euphrosene

    PS I have an RP accent if anyone wants to call me…

    PPS Huge apologies for the times I have got ratty to call centre operatives

  2. Impossible accents drive me mad on the phone
    Whether I’m calling a bank or interupted by an unwanted sales call, the usual frustrations are increasingly compounded by the person I’m talking to having such as strong (often Indian) accent that I cannot actually understand more than about one in ten words! I’m thinking of changing banks to alleviate some of this frustration. People cannot help their accents but UK businesses could reduce this problem if they didn’t use overseas call centres!


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