SWEDISH COMPANIES MANNERLY ON PHONE

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LONDON-Seeking the best telephone service? Call express delivery services, rental car and credit card companies in Sweden, concludes a survey on corporate telephone competence from the Teleperformance Group, a Paris-based telemarketing company.

To conduct the U.S. and European survey, Teleperformance made 20,000 phone calls to 1,000 companies during the first five months of 1995. Each company received 20 calls.

Rankings were based on whether the callers were greeted pleasantly and transferred quickly to another line, as well as the attitudes, listening skills and product awareness of the people answering the phone. Another factor was how quickly the phone calls were answered; calls picked up in less than three rings earned a perfect score.

There is no margin of error for the survey, now in its seventh year. Survey highlights include:

Performance was broken out by country and industry for Germany, Italy, Sweden, the U.K., France, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. Germany ranked the lowest in attitude, with a mere 0.96 out of a possible 2 points; Swedes ranked highest, with 1.45.

Calls were answered the fastest in France, scoring 1.79 out of a perfect 2 points; slowest in the U.K., with 1.37. The quality of the greeting delivered to callers was judged to be the best in Austria and the worst in Germany.

Overall, Swedes delivered the best European phone service and Belgians narrowly beat out the Germans to claim the booby prize for providing the worst service.

Of the eight European countries, service industries such as express delivery services, rental car companies and credit card companies gave the best phone service, with a combined score of 15.59 out of a possible 20 points.

Makers of consumer goods such as TVs, stereos and kitchen appliances were judged to deliver the worst phone service of any industry, scoring 13.74 out of 20.

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