Phone etiquette: The most irritating industries revealed!

Whether it’s to a friend, family member or a client, making phone calls is part of our everyday life, but which professions carry the best and worst phone manners?

A recent study, run by the business telecommunications provider, 4Com explored how well British professionals do when it comes to phone etiquette, and their worst pet peeves. The research revealed that recruiters and human resources workers are worst phone communicators in the UK, with almost one in nine (87%) admitting to demonstrating bad manners while on the phone.

The five worst professions for bad phone manners are:
1.HR/Recruitment (87%)
2.Media/PR/Marketing (85%)
3.Lawyer (82%)
4.Doctor/Nurse/Dentist (81%)
5.Accounts (77%)

When it comes to the bad habits British workers admit to having on the phone, over one in ten (11%) confessed to interrupting people when they desperately want to say something, despite nearly half (42%) finding being interrupted the most annoying thing to happen during a phone call.

Similarly, while someone eating their food/drinking whilst speaking ranks in the top five annoying habits, 6% of Britons admit to doing this. On the other hand, a third (33%) believe they have no annoying phone habits at all.

The phone faux pas that the nation finds most irritating are:

1.Someone having a conversation with someone else in the background (43%)
2.Being interrupted whilst speaking (42%)
3.Someone not listening/clearly distracted (41%)
4.Being put on hold (39%)
5.Someone eating their food/having a drink whilst speaking (35%)

In the face of these annoying habits, one in five (19%) professionals will happily put the phone down with no explanation, while a quarter (26%) will interrupt them and inform them they’re being irritating, but 11% are more likely to just mute the call.

For writer Simon, the most annoying thing is being called outside of his working hours: “I work freelance, so I don’t do the traditional 9-5 that most do. Because of this, people seem to think it’s acceptable to call me at odd hours of the day. This is especially annoying when it’s not even an important issue. Calling first thing in the morning to ask a simple question, really? And then they sigh deeply when the answer they get at 7am isn’t what they want to hear!”

Engineer James’ pet peeve is people chewing his ear off… literally! “I have one client who always seems to call me when he’s eating an apple. He probably doesn’t even notice it, but it’s happened more than a handful of times now. It’s like he’s literally chewing in my ear. Infuriating!”

Commenting on the research, Mark Pearcy, Head of Marketing at 4Com, said: “As a telecoms company, we’re all about communication, so we were surprised to see just how many people admit to having poor phone manners.

“While texts, emails, social media, and all other forms of communication all have their benefits, speaking on the phone is perhaps most effective at passing on your message. As they allow you to hear the speaker’s tone of voice, phone calls help to avoid, for example, the risk of innocent phrases sounding passive aggressive, jokes being taken the wrong way, or sarcasm interpreted as serious thoughts.

“Hopefully this research will help people realise their phone habits can be considered rude and make chatting on the phone smooth sailing for the nation.”

The following two tabs change content below.

David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine