They never seem to call at an appropriate time, so should we really feel guilty that the majority of us hang up on cold callers – or should they just accept that it’s nothing short of annoying?
We imagine it’s a tough job calling random people to try and sell them something they didn’t want in the first place.
But cold callers are generally unwelcome, with these beleaguered souls always having to sound bright and breezy to the irate resident who answers the phone. Because there’s never a good time to talk to a cold caller, is there?
Somehow they either manage to ring halfway through EastEnders or when we’re doing something tricky like feeding a baby/doing some intricate DIY task/playing Minecraft (delete as appropriate).
But while these guys are just trying to make a living, many of us don’t see it that way and resent this telephonic intrusion of our homes. Wired and wireless telephone headset provider Headsets4Business.co.uk carried out a survey of 1,500 people, asking what really gets our goat when it comes to cold calls. But firstly, they asked if we ever just hang up on cold callers, and the results were most interesting.
The least patient people
On average, 66.5% of the UK puts the phone down on someone trying to sell them something. But the people with the least patience in the UK & Ireland are the Irish – a whopping 77% of them will immediately hang up on a conversation about double glazing or insurance.
As for England, it’s the East Midlanders who are least tolerant: almost 70% of them leave their cold callers listening to the sweet sound of the dial tone… However, happily, for them, cold callers are guaranteed the warmest reception in the South East. Over a third of South Easterners (37%) say they wouldn’t hang up on a stranger who called them out of the blue to discuss something like mobile phone tariffs (at least those who don’t slam the phone down are decent enough to give an excuse – 36.3% are just really honest, saying they’re not interested; 10.8% of us say we’re too busy, and 5% of us pretend we’re just about to sit down to a meal).
Actually, when it comes to the topic of conversation, phone deals are apparently one of the least irritating – only 7.3% of people said that was the type of call they had the least patience for. The biggest bugbear, for over a third of us (38.9%) is people trying to help you recover PPI refunds, which is surely the dullest thing in the world. Perhaps surprisingly, or perhaps because it jogs people’s memory to actually do something about it, pensions are the least irritating topic, with only 1.9% of us finding them excruciating.
The most annoying cold call topics
- PPI 38.9%
- Accident Related 32.9%
- Home improvements 8.1%
- Phone deals 7.3%
- Insurance 6.2%
- Energy 4.7%
- Pensions 1.9%
And while the majority of us don’t actually feel sorry for cold callers, just over a quarter of us (25.8%) do actually understand that it’s just a job, and they’re only doing what they’ve been asked to. After all, if we’re the ones irritated by an unwanted call, just imagine how the cold callers feel, facing rejection after rejection during an eight-hour shift.
‘It’s a tough job, being a cold caller, but someone’s got to do it,’ says David Whitehead from Headsets4Business.co.uk. ‘They’re almost like unsung heroes, really. So give these guys a break next time you get a call and you never know – you might get a really good deal on your next mobile phone tariff.’