The failure to speak with a person on the telephone is considered the most annoying customer-service issue in the United States today. This is based on this year’s nationwide survey made by Consumer Reports to find out which customer-service problems irk American consumers the most.

Women 50 years and older were most irritated by the inability to talk with real telephone representatives, Consumer Reports said. In addition, female customers did not like unapologetic phone representatives especially when problems were not solved, and the need to go through many steps of voice-messaging systems only to speak with a real person.

Most male customers who participated in the survey said that they were disappointed with sales pitches of irrelevant good and services.

The younger group, from ages 18 to 34, however, showed the lowest tolerance for technicians who did not show up on time for repair. Thirty-five percent from this demographic were more likely to be infuriated by this situation, at least 10% more than for any other age group.

Based on the latest Consumer Reports survey of about 1,000 respondents, here are the top 7 most annoying customer service situations from telephone customers:

1.    Cannot speak to a live agent on telephone
2.    Too many steps from automated phone system
3.    Long wait holds
4.    Unhelpful solution
5.    Extra sales offers
6.    Not saying ‘sorry’ for unresolved problems
7.    Boring music or messages

Consumer Reports revealed that the Better Business Bureau logged 1.1 million complaints against North American businesses in 2010, up 10% from 2009.

These situations that are happening in most American businesses these days suggest a strong need for partnering with an outsourced call center. With the Philippines now considered the World’s Top Offshoring Destination (Source: UK National Outsourcing Association), there is no reason why a small- or mid-sized business will not take advantage because the benefits are nothing short of impressive: Low-labor costs, highly educated workforce, strong oral and communication English communication skills, and a growing economy.

An inbound call center, whether it is onshore or off-shore, delivers an excellent job in building strong relationships especially when customers look for someone – a live person – to address their pressing concerns.

Data source: Consumer Reports