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What gets the “blue streak” going ...

Dec. 26, 2013
Here’s a fun survey to peruse this holiday season: what type of businesses generate the most over-the-phone cursing from consumers? And, oh yes, a trucking business is right up near the top of the list (ranked fifth, to be exact).

This study – conducted by mobile advertising technology firm Marchex Inc. – examined rates of cursing across 20 service-related industries, such as hotels and automobile dealerships, which rely on consumer phone calls for sales.

Marchex said it used “call analytics technology” to assess data from more than 1.2 million consumer phone calls placed to U.S. businesses over a nearly two-year period – from March 2012 to November 2013 – to determine which industries generated the highest and lowest rates of customer cursing.

After analyzing aggregated the data across what the company calls “a range of common curse words,” the survey determined:

  • Satellite TV providers received the most cursing at one out of every 82 calls resulted in customers swearing.
  • Veterinary clinics received the least amount of cursing over the phone, just one out of every 2,634 calls.
  • 64% of the conversations that included a curse word were from men; 36% from women.
“Consumers expect great service and easy-to-understand pricing from national and local businesses, and they aren’t afraid to voice their displeasure when they don’t receive it,” noted John Busby, senior VP of the Marchex Institute, adding that his firm’s research also found that a fair amount of cursing occurs while consumers are on hold.

Cursing over the phone about automotive repairs ranked fourth, presumably due to unexpected cost of service but also from the situation, Busby noted.

“Consumers will drop an f-bomb when their predicament is dire, such as with major auto trouble,” he explained. “Calls to tow trucks and locksmiths [ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, on the ‘cursing’ list] also produce cursing because consumers are upset at the situation, not necessarily the business itself.”

More insight about this study can be accessed by clicking here, but we’ll spare you the suspense and list the “cursing rate” for all 20 industries surveyed from worst to best below:

  • Satellite TV providers: one in every 82 conversations
  • Housing contractors:  one in 90 
  • Cable providers: one in 123 
  • Auto Repair: one in 144 
  • Tow Truck: one in 159 
  • Locksmith: one in 192 
  • Storage: one in 214 
  • Pest Control: one in 215 
  • Heating & Cooling: one in 215 
  • House Cleaning: one in 218 
  • Lawn Care: one in 271 
  • Carpet Cleaning: one in 275 
  • Plumbing: one in 334 
  • Home Buying: one in 411 
  • Auto Dealers: one in 870 
  • Flowers: one in 1,110  
  • Property Management: one in 1,390 
  • Hotels: one in 1,486 
  • Senior Living: one in 1,742 
  • Veterinary Clinics: one in 2,634

One wonders, of course, what segments of the trucking industry might fare as part of a “blue streak” survey. Then again, maybe the holiday season is the wrong time for contemplating the potential results of such a poll!

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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