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Rude, Pushy Salespeople Top List of Consumer Gripes

Consumer Reports Study Looks at What Customers Find Most Annoying

By Published on . 12

They might put up with waiting in line in the store or listening to annoying hold music, but consumers will walk out of the store if confronted by a rude or pushy salesperson -- or by no salesperson at all.

According to a Consumer Reports National Research survey of 1,010 adults, 64% of those questioned admitted to actually leaving a store during the past year as a result of poor customer service, while 65% acknowledge being "tremendously annoyed" by a rude salesperson.

Out of a scale of one to 10 (10 being most annoying) the "most annoying in-store customer gripes" are that of a rude salesperson (8.7) and a pushy salesperson (8.2). The "least annoying in-store customer gripes" are waiting at the checkout counter (6.9) and waiting for a scheduled repair (6.4).

Interestingly enough, the stores that annoyed the survey respondents the most don't have traditional sales people. Walmart and Sam's Club ranked among the worst in categories including retailers for appliances, electronics, cellphones and supermarkets.

The retailer that did best? Apple, which was noted highly for its retail service with regard to cellphones, computers, computer tech support and electronics.

In general, the companies that scored best were brokerage firms, eyeglass retailers and pharmacies. Not surprisingly, "computer tech support, TV, phone and internet-service providers earned some of the lowest scores."

Also not surprising: The people who use the phone are annoyed as well. According to Consumer Reports, 1 in 5 people favor the phone for resolving customer-service issues, despite the frustration associated with trying to negotiate phone trees to find a live person. The study found that 71% of respondents grew "extremely irritated" when they were unable to speak with a human being on the phone. Only 67% were angry enough to hang up, however.

The "most-annoying phone-related customer gripes" are the inability to speak with a human on the phone (8.9) and having to go through too many steps (8.5). The "least-annoying phone-related customer gripes" are no apology for unsolved problems (7.8) and boring hold music (6.9).

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