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New World Order

They Push Our Buttons

April 12, 1999|MARTIN MILLER

It's like road rage, but when this strikes there's no one to shoot at. It's called phone rage, and anyone who has ever dialed a large business knows its fire.

Callers kept on hold or trapped in an automated phone system are most likely to see their blood pressure rise and their tempers flare, according to a survey commissioned by the Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

"The most significant problem is getting beyond the recordings to a real person," said Kathleen Krall of Prudential. You can say that again. (Interestingly, though, 41% of those surveyed found they were transferred to too many people.)

Banks tended to have the highest level of customer satisfaction, with 93% of respondents approving. In the mid-range were online services and cable companies. Bringing up the rear were governmental agencies, which pleased just 29%.

The survey provided a breakdown of what callers do while on hold. The survey said 56% do something else, 24% make notes of what they are going to say, and an astonishing 12% forget the point of the call.

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